Compression wear can increase blood flow and improve blood circulation at specific areas of the body through graduated compression.
In this project, we designed and prototyped compression sportswear for runners. The compression wear featured a modular design that allowed users to independently compress various parts of the body. A set included the shirt, shorts, arm sleeves, leg sleeves, socks and shoes.
The project was initiated as part of the Asian Leadership Programme, a summer exchange programme for SUTD students to study in and work with Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China for 3 months. In collaboration with ZJU mentors and our industry partners, Chemtax and Orient Befit, I worked with Timothy Syn to design the sportswear.
- Background research on running and existing designs
- Sketching and creating visual prototypes in Adobe Illustrator
- Making the vector files for manufacturing the prototypes
Company Mentors: Kelly Chai (Chemtax), Danny (Orient Befit)
ZJU Mentors: Wang Jian, Tong Shang, Bian Mu Yan
Our prototypes were exhibited in ZJU in 2014, and in SUTD in 2014 and 2015.
Running requires a light and comfortable attire that ensures adequate muscle support throughout the body.
In running, the main muscle groups used are the thighs, calves and back muscles. Therefore, the compression wear should provide more compression and muscle support on the legs.
The breathability of the suit greatly affects how comfortable it is as well. Since the highest sweat zones around the human body are the chest, back and forehead, the compression wear should have proper wicking and a more breathable material at these areas.
We analysed and formed design considerations from several existing sportswear designs.
A modular design would allow for users to customise the compression on various parts of their body. This approach would reduce the amount of materials used, decreasing manufacturing costs while making the suit lighter and more comfortable to run in compared to fixed long sleeved shirts and pants designs.
Ideation and Visual Prototyping
Initial sketches were created and visual prototypes were designed on Adobe Illustrator. We came up with designs which were centered on various visual themes: Singapore, SUTD and Cultural.
We individually sketched ideas for designs before selecting and combining a few ideas. The three images below show example sketches. The first two were eventually selected as sock and shoe templates for themes and were made into vector traces.
This theme was inspired by our home country, Singapore. Designs used the red and white national colours, along with the cresent with five stars from the national flag.
This theme was inspired by our university, SUTD. The three SUTD colours were used: maroon, black and white.
The theme was inspired by aspects of the Chinese culture, particularly: calligraphy, brush strokes and Chinese characters.
Final Selection of Visual Prototype
We decided on the SUTD theme as it was the most meaningful to us and our design might be used for future university merchandise. Our final designs incorporated our design concepts and considerations.
Manufacturing the Prototypes
The prototypes were fabricated at the Chemtax and Orient Befit factories in Yiwu, China. The final designs were made into clothing template vector files and then sent to the companies’ design staff who helped to further edit them into colour-coded files that the factories’ knitting machines could read.