We swung by Hincapie Sportswear on the way home from Thanksgiving travels to see what goes on at their Greenville, SC, offices and retail store.
With all of their manufacturing done offsite, some in a factory in South America owned by George’s extended family, the Greenville world headquarters serves as their offices, shipping and operations and a storefront showroom that’s open to the public. Oh, and a giant trophy case for George’s prolific winnings, as partially evidenced by the jerseys above.
Once behind the conference room doors, we also got a little sneak peek at some of the top-end highlights for their Spring/Summer 2011 range. C’mon in and take a look ’round…
All of the clothing in the front half of the building is current model year goods, with the full collection for both men and women. If you’re in the area and want to check it out, it’s open to the public.
Their office/HQ is pretty close to downtown Greenville, which is where the U.S. Pro Road Race Championships are held each year. We’re just waiting for them to have a rooftop kegger after party.
Behind the retail section is where the open air “cubicles” are, along with employee parking. Yes, they get a killer deal on BMC bikes, which is why there were several high end carbon bikes with employee names on the top tubes parked by desks.
All custom team stuff is made in their own facility in Columbia, South America, which is run by George and Rich’s aunt and uncle, who are long time textile folks. Besides the family connections, Steve Baker (in the photo above and their marketing director) says there are favorable trade deals for working and making goods there to encourage legitimate businesses. Hincapie’s denim products are made there, too.
Other stuff is made in Turkey (fabric welding), Canada and others. Little of it is made in Asia, though they don’t tout that as a selling point. Typically, they look for the best materials and technology to create the best items they can rather than creating a tiered portfolio based on price points. Occasionally a “wish list” feature is cut from a product to keep it on budget rather than cut corners on the quality of the parts that are used.
Design is done by Nicole Rock in Seattle who works for Hincapie exclusively. Designs are reviewed then approved at their office, then samples are made in the factories that are going to produce the finished item.
Some items are driven as much by technology as by design, and some times there’s a need (or desire in the case of their denim) and a product is designed to meet those goals.
They make the clothing for the BMC Pro Cycling Team, so they’ve got a full pro team helping with R&D.
The basement is where everything’s kept prior to shipping out. Exciting, no?
2011 CLOTHING SNEAK PEEK
This is the new Emergence jersey and bibshort, their second best product line behind George’s Signature collection.
They use Schoeller Coldblack technology, which reflects the sun’s rays and provides SPF50 UVA/UVB protection, helping them stay cool despite the deep black color. Click to enlarge these images and you’ll see their AT1 Dynamic stretch fabric with varying textile patterns that allow for customized compression and stretch characteristics across different parts of the body without having to use separate pieces of fabrics…and that means fewer seams. Other variables they can build in using this “body mapping” tech is ventilation and abrasion resistance.
The seams that are present are flatlock for comfort, and the jersey does away with a stretch bottom all the way around, relying on a fused strip of grippy stuff around the inner perimeter and a small stretch panel in the center to keep it from flapping around. The rear has three pockets plus a zip pocket and reflective stripes.
The Emergence shorts and available skinsuit have a new Emergence Chamois with EIT Carbonium from SciTech. The EIT fibers reduce friction, disperse heat and provide natural antibacterial benefits. The cover is a super soft microfiber.
Skinsuit on left, longsleeve option only, and bibshorts and jersey on right. These photos from Hincapie show the texture pretty good and the rear zip pocket, click to enlarge.
Emergence Bibshorts will retail for $219.99, the TT Skinsuit will be $349.99 and the Jersey is $129.99. All will be available in March.
The new George Signature Series bibshorts look super nice and get a new 3D anatomical chamois:
It also has the EIT fibers and adds high density foam inserts in pressure zones. It’s a two piece design that’s ultrasonically welded down the middle. These bibs will retail for $229.99 and make you look like this:
Next up was the new Tour LTX jackets for men and women. Kristi and I got to try them on, both size medium, and they fit really nicely…even the sleeve length was good for being a medium (I’m 6’2″, she’s 5’7″).
Then we tried to recreate the model pose for Hincapie Premium Denim in the background. We kid cuz we love.
The Tour LTX jackets have a hydrophilic/phobic finish that pulls sweat out and gives the garment a water repellant characteristic so you’ll stay dry even in a light mist.
It’s made of a 4-way stretch fabric with RegulatorTek with ThermoCool that helps regulate body temperature and has breathable TempoMesh panels that stretch with normal movement and provide ventilation. The backs have two large pockets with reflective trim.
The sueded knit collar and fuzzy area inside top of zipper to keep your chin and neck comfy. Chest pocket for little stuff. MSRP is $129.99.
For the ladies, their revised Power Bibshort gets new Lycra Power material with abrasion resistant crotch panels. The buckle in the rear lets you unclip it and pull the back of the bibshorts down for potty breaks, keeping the loop around your neck so the whole thing doesn’t have to be removed when nature calls. It’s a pretty ingenious design.
The leg openings do away with silicone in favor of a softer Lycra, and they now have the Schoeller Coldblack tech, too. MSRP is $129.99.
Also new for women are these jerseys, which they didn’t have samples on hand to shoot:
The Petaluma jersey (above with the Power Bibshorts and below with their Performer Capri bike shorts.
Also new is the Stigma Jersey, above.