Friday, December 23, 2011

Gi review part three: the Dom Gear DMX

Earlier, I cheekily described this gi as "Rick Perry. A decent beginning if you didn't press for details, but spectacular failure ensued."  That was entirely unfair-- Rick Perry didn't even start out decently, whereas the gi certainly started out great-- and I only did it for the limited purpose of fitting into my "Iowa Caucus" joke.  Here's a better, more accurate examination.

Dom Fightgear is a Texas company with a big presence at a lot of local tournaments and an interesting "about us" story on their website:

"One day Rocky Haire [a personal injury attorney] was leaving his firm, heading to his Porsche in the parking garage, when a paper blew across his path. Only God knows why he left at that moment and the paper was in that precise spot. It was Bryan Griffin’s Angel Tree application. Angel Tree is a group that sends out Christmas presents to the children of inmates. Rock sent him a letter asking if the application had been granted and if there was anything he could do for him. Anything. For months Bryan [an "oil and gas guy"] ignored the letter, thinking it was more bad news from a lawyer. Had they found his prints on something? Rocky made arrangements for the gifts, just in case, and forgot about it.

Bryan finally opened the letter and couldn't believe it. He responded immediately and it was Rocky’s turn to be surprised--Bryan said he was fine and didn't ask for anything. Later they would laugh about why Bryan didn't need anything in prison, and when the Statute of Limitations expires, we will tell you why he was the wealthiest guy on the block.

Bryan was released and set out to find Rocky. Since they were both MMA fans and fighters, and both businessmen, they formed an alliance to promote high end fightgear."

It's worth a mention that Dom Fightgear has a moral agenda as well: "In a very real sense, DOM has always been here, as it is more a state of mind than a clothing line. Once we establish a significant presence in the world market, we will roll out our plan to get bullying stopped in the public schools of our Nation—and more importantly,  bring God back into them in the process."

Huh.  Interesting.

I won this gi at a tournament last spring and I'll tell you why it took so long to review it in a moment.

Let's discuss specifics.

For reference, I measure gis out of the bag, then wash in the hottest possible wash and rinse setting, and dry in a hot dryer at least once before the second measurement.  Future washes are usually on warm or cool settings but still machine dried.  If further shrinkage is notable, I will re-measure.  Also, when I modeled for the pictures I was non-competition-weight >140lbs, 36-28-39, 5'2".
This gi is available in white, black, blue and pink for $135 on Dom's website. The DMX II, the competition (gold weave) version is available in white or black only for $119.

Reviewed previously by ... no one, as best I can tell.  Wow.  The sister gi, a lighter competition version, was reviewed by a while back.   

Stats:  Their website doesn't list specifics, but the pants are ripstop and the jacket is doubleweave and quite thick, as well as being lined with microfiber material.  My size A1 (pants and jacket) weighs 4lbs 5 oz.  My A1 jacket with A2 pants weighs 4 lbs 8 oz.  This is not a lightweight gi despite the ripstop pants.

Note: Measurements of the size A1 pants/jacket but photos taken with size A2 pants, A1 jacket.  Explanation to follow.

Measurements: size A1 before and after wash--

Pants across waist: 21"/21"

Leg outside, front waist to cuff: 34"/34"

Cuff: 10"/10"

Rise (center of crotch up to waist) front: 18"/18"

Jacket front length (shoulder next to collar to bottom hem): 30"/27"

Chest width (underarm to underarm): 23"/21"

Arm length (underarm to cuff): 22"/19 1/2"

Cuff: 6 1/2"/6"

The jacket is trimmed at the bottom and cuffs with a satin tape saying "Domaine de la Octade."

In an interview with CageDoor, Rocky Haire (one of Dom's owners) said that he invented the phrase "Domaine de la Octade" after being inspired by a Food & Wine article and that it means The Octagon is my Home.  Read the interview here. 

My first impression of the gi-- wow, it's lined!  Not with rashguard stretchy material.  It's microfiber, woven, and rather thin, and feels simultaneously sleek and fuzzy.  Like the skin of a peach, actually.  Second thought was, damn, this is heavy.   Third thought-- ugh, I hate the pink.  Classic Crayola "carnation pink" but I wasn't looking the gift horse in the teeth at the tournament so I didn't think to trade it for another color.

Capturing the lining in a still photo proved to exceed our documentary skills.

The lining made this an extremely comfortable gi top.  It didn't add any thickness or diminish the roominess of the cut, which is rather boxy and judo-esque.  The a lining was well-shaped and finely attached to the jacket, without excess fabric bunching up in the armpits or sagging below the jacket hem; no loose seams or exposed stitching.  The fabric seemed to be sturdy enough to withstand the tugging and pulling, and really made the gi feel great on bare skin.  It was also nice in hot weather, because the sweaty microfiber felt much cooler and less restrictive than sweaty doubleweave.  In cooler weather (which we didn't have much of, before summer came) it was also warmer-feeling especially when the gi was first put on.

The satin tape proved to be the first casualty, however, and began to fray and disintegrate during the very first class.  After the first wash, there were tendrils of black thread hanging like tinsel.

All the patches (tops of the shoulders and front of the chest, plus the bottom of the gi pants, as seen below) are made of the same satin fabric, and they appear to suffer the same fate to one degree or another.

I know I'm being picky, but here's what seemed to precipitate the fraying of the patches-- after a wash, the edges of the satin seemed to curl up and develop "corners," which seemed subject to greater abrasion and later fraying.  Also, seemed like the gi material shrank a bit more than the patches, creating some puckering and protrusion as well.  But the patches look slick anyway-- nice shiny high-quality satin and very smooth, thick, tight embroidery on top-- and if you just trim the loose threads with scissors you can probably maintain the look for a long time.

 The pants were the second casualty.

Explosive casualty, that is.  I'd worn the gi about four times, and was suiting up for the fifth.  I happened to be in the changing room, and I squatted down because the pants felt a little tight (the way you'll try to loosen up jeans that are fresh out of the dryer, perhaps.)  The dangnabbit pants split right up the backside-- from mid-butt cheek straight down the back of my hamstring to the bottom of my calf muscle.  Not on a seam-- right down the middle of the fabric.  So much for ripstop!  Fortunately I always carry a spare gi in the trunk of my car (you never know when you might want to roll, right?) so I was able to train that night.

Now, I've never pretended I am the slimmest girl on the mat-- although this was mid-tournament season as I prepped for the Pan so I was definitely at or near my fittest and lightest.  I wouldn't pretend to blame Dom Gear for the pants being a little on the "fits like a glove" side (though they do brag that this will be your impression on their website-- "Lined lightweight gis, hoodies and shirts that you want to wear everyday--that sit on you like a glove and can take a beating or go on a date.")  The competition-weight pants were also on the slim side for the male reviewer at the CageDoor.  But I guarantee you, the strain of containing my derriere was not THAT great.  The fabric or the cut or both was flawed in some way.

However, it was a great opportunity to see Dom's customer service in action.  I emailed them photos of the tear.  I didn't hear back from them for a while (couple months!) and emailed again.  Turns out they'd immediately sent me a new pair of pants, and for some reason I never received them, so the delay was mere miscommunication.  Siegfried (another of the owners) was very kind and within a day shipped me a whole new gi-- this time a size A2 at my request.  So, these photos are of the A2 pants, which I didn't measure, as I haven't worn them to train in nor have I washed/dried them yet.

The A1 pants were a little short for me, but these A2s are just fine, length-wise, although they too are slim cut.

As a result, I conclude that the Dom pants are not cut for ladies shaped like me.  The rise is too high (the waist comes up over my bottom rib) and the hip/thigh area is too straight, making the pants too tight around the quadricep area. 

 I wish there were more than 2 belt loops, but I like how they're placed if you're only going to have two-- closer to the hipbone and therefore more likely to keep the strings low.  The belt is a flat stitched strip of the pants material.  No extra fabric reinforces the stress points at the waist vents or crotch, but the knees are double-layered down to the ankle.

The gi top is roomy, as I mentioned, but the arms are just right length-wise.  Again this picture is of the A1 top and A2 pants.

The collar feels unusually thick, although soft... thicker than the Atama Mundial #9 and every other gi in this review.  The Dom website doesn't say what the core of the lapel is made with.

Left to Right: Black Eagle Predator, Dom DMX, Kauai ripstop, Ouano Comp Light, Atama Mundial #9, and Tatami Nova.

Bottom line:  Dom Fightgear aimed to make the Armani suit of gis with this.  I wouldn't go quite that far.  The cut is off, the pants were ripstart instead of ripstop, and the jacket shrinks a fair bit; however, the lining is really, really nice, and it's a good heavy training jacket, if not pants.  I would be concerned about the patches raveling, but they'd be easy to remove.


SavageKitsune said...

I gotta say it's a pretty pink- if you like pink- but I'd get teased unmercifully by my teammates if I wore a gi with "DOM" on it out on the mat. The sexual jokes would be unending.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

I wish ALL gis came pre-shrunk. It's a pain to buy a gi that fits and then wash it only to look like you borrowed your little brother's gi. Or, to have a gi thats a little big and have to wash it and shrink it until you get it right.

I'm glad Kitsune picked up on the Dom thing. I LOL'd at that, but i thought maybe I was the only one who got the double meaning. Maybe latex instead of satin for the edging?

Nicole Gamble said...

So simple and so perfect!

Kintanon said...

Pink on that particular style of fabric makes that REALLY look like a bathrobe. I would definitely avoid traditional bathrobe colors if you went with that one.

Brendan @ BJJ Gi Reviews said...

What a train wreck of a gi. I'd like to see some more girls gis (and gis in general) made in non-traditional colors.

Anonymous said...

I really love my DOM gi and others often compliment me on the feel of it when we roll. My pants split after about one year. That is the risk of rolling.