The backstage of our design process
The Pursuit of Perfection
“We started Varsity with one mission – to design the perfect cap. This pursuit of perfection has influenced everything we have done from day one (read our story here). Although perfection is extremely hard to achieve, constantly refining and improving has led us to be product specialists we are today. We learn new things, discover new technology and are always trying to better understand the ever-changing trends and wishes of our customers. Our definition of perfection is constantly changing, but regardless, we find it very inspirational and motivating to try to always strive to improve our products and processes.” – Seb and Alex, Brothers & Co-founders
The Design Process: Inspiration and Development
Our collections are broken into two categories: Seasonal and Non-seasonal. Our design team curates each seasonal collection to select patterns and fabrics that perform best in the specific seasonal weather. Our non-seasonal caps are available all year round which typically include bestsellers and our sports range. We aim to always have stock in our non-seasonal caps.
For the collection development, the design process starts with research and inspiration. Our design team studies upcoming trends, colors, patterns and new technologies. They also complete a review of past collections and customer feedback to better understand areas that we can improve. From there, they create an overall outline of the different materials and caps they want to create for the upcoming season. This collection can go through many rounds of iterations and internal discussions with the entire Varsity team to refine the outlined collection.
Next, our design team sources the materials and textiles that suit the function of the cap best. The collection is moved into the production planning phase and the ordering begins. The typical design process can take upwards of 8-12 months from the initial idea to the final cap.
The Design Process: Sourcing from the World’s Best Weavers and Textile Producers
The quality of our caps is a sum of three parts; textiles, craftsmanship and customer care. The first two of which we can control and the third of which we try to influence. When we source materials for our caps, we aim high to use the best possible material to fulfill the cap’s purpose. For example, with a summer cap, we want it to be lightweight, durable, breathable and elegant. Linen is a material that meets those requirements and makes up a large part of our “summer” collections.
Due to their small nature, our caps consume less material than most typical garments and therefore, we can use higher-quality and more exquisite materials than many others in the fashion industry. We try to always use the “cleanest” possible compositions and natural materials to give the cap the best quality. By "cleanest" we mean avoiding combining many different fibers into a textile. For instance, the linen we use is 100% Italian linen instead of a linen and another material, such as cotton. In some cases, we mix fibers in order to achieve a certain price point and functionality. Take for example our Athletic Sport Series. We use man made fibers because they provide us with the best possible combination of quality, function and aesthetics.
Most of the highest quality textile mills are based in Europe — where the majority of the materials we use today are woven. We source our Linen and Cashmere from Italy, our Cotton and Athletic Sport fabric from Switzerland, our Oilskin from the textile’s original producer in Scotland and our SEAQUAL® YARN from Portugal. In addition to the main exterior fabric of a cap, there are several other important textiles and components we use.
In our typical cap, we have around 7-9 different suppliers from around the world. Our caps are never better than the sum of all components, so we work extremely hard to try to find the best possible parts, each sourced for its quality, aesthetics and practicality.
Once we have the design, materials, and components ready, we then assemble them into the highest quality cap possible. The manufacturing process is done at our two external partner factories in Vietnam and in Europe. We began producing our signature Varsity Headwear caps in Vietnam in 2013. Over the past decade, we have refined our products and processes, alongside our skilled team in Vietnam to make what we believe is the highest quality available. More recently, we have on-boarded a factory in Europe that specializes in soft, unstructured caps and to reduce transportation emissions. Our team visits both factories regularly and we work actively to promote a good working environment at the factory (read our full Code of Conduct here). All assembly is done at one of our two factories before the cap is shipped to our warehouse in Norway. We are continuously looking for new manufacturing partners around the world, but few meet our strict criteria for working environment and quality of craftsmanship.
Production: Prototypes and Quality Control
We aim to test new developments as soon as possible by prototyping and sampling. To truly understand the changes and improvements we are making, we need to see, touch and feel the caps in-person. Before a cap reaches your head, it has typically gone through multiple rounds of prototyping and testing. For example, we found and sourced hundreds of fabric options for the Intensity Sport Series and tested the initial material with members from our Owner’s Club, before we landed on the one that we believe performs best for our customers’ needs.
The Final Price
It is our hope that once you understand the entire process, our prices will seem justified and reasonable. The combination of extensive preparation, sourcing, manufacturing and the fair treatment of all workers that is required for a Varsity Headwear cap all contribute to the prices you see today. We aim to provide very good “value for money” and include free express shipping and the cost of duties & taxes on every order. You can view the entire breakdown of our caps below.
As a cap specialist, we are dependent on our customers returning; so it is our number one goal to provide the best service and product possible for each and every customer from start to finish. It is important that we are always learning, growing and evolving, so if you have any feedback on the design process we have broken down above, do not hesitate to reach out to email@example.com. Thank you for being a part of the journey!