T-shirts that cover the back - the TallGuys slogan mentions one of the problems known to tall people who wear regular clothing sizes. Radek Pilař, a 190-centimetre FME graduate of BUT, knows this as well. After returning from the USA, the Czech market lacked quality clothing for tall people. And so he decided to start his own brand, which according to him is aiming high. They sold out the first collection in a few weeks and after two years of successful operation they are looking for an investor.
Was there really no clothing suitable for tall people on the Czech market just a few years ago?
I have not found a brand that offers it in the required quality. I'm tall and thin myself, so I've always had a bit of a problem with regular clothes. All you have to do is bend or stretch for something and half of your back will come off. While in the US, I discovered a few brands for tall people that I liked.
After returning to the Czech Republic, I found out that there is still nothing here. So I thought it would be a good idea to create something similar. At first I wanted to sew clothes just for myself, there was no plan to sell them. But I have a lot of tall friends around me and I could see that they would like it too. And so my girlfriend and I started thinking about how it could be implemented.
Are there enough tall people on the Czech market who will use such a narrowly profiled brand?
I don't have data on the height of the Czech population, so I gather them in the field. Mass events are a great opportunity for statistics. I observed that around 10 % of people are taller than 185 centimetres and 2-3 % exceed 195 centimetres. Since we sew high-quality clothes that will last for several years, we would like to reach other markets as well. We have no direct competition in the Czech Republic, and there are a few such brands in Europe, but not many. That's why I'm certainly not opposed to a discussion with an investor who would help us move it forward.
How was the cut and design of individual TallGuys T-shirts created?
After returning from the US, I had one more T-shirt in good condition. So I brought it to the sewing shop to show them my idea. And that's what we started from. But it took us much longer to find the material, which I think is the alpha and omega of clothing. We found the material, perfected the fit and then just tested on the family whether the T-shirts and sweatshirts hold the length, shape and colours.
What requirements did you have for the material?
The biggest problem was clumping and uncomfortable feeling when wearing. Cotton is not like cotton. There are an extreme number of them and they are not well technically specified, which annoyed me as a machinist. The manufacturer labelled the product as long-staple or medium-staple cotton. But we had to test its features and how it behaves for ourselves. Studying at BUT helped me here, where I learned statistical procedures. I created tables with the parameters of compaction at home. And I honestly tested everything.
So, what material do you use to sew your clothes in the end?
It's organic cotton with a touch of elastane to make the garment flexible and adaptable. It is one of the most pleasant materials used mainly for children's clothing. Emotionally, it is a completely different experience than other materials. In addition, we sew everything in a Czech workshop, so the production costs and, I believe, the quality of the execution depend on that.
So - according to your slogan - you are really aiming high.
The slogan reach high is not only attached to T-shirts, but also to a life philosophy. We want people to have pieces that will last for years and not spend a lot of time in the wardrobe in the morning. Our clothes must be dependable. I loved that Steve Jobs had several matching black sweaters. Our customers have a similar mentality - they try one product, and if it fits, the next order is for 6 identical T-shirts.
The shopper on your e-shop enters not only his size, but also his height. Doesn't that complicate the choice?
The bottom line is simple – you enter your height and then your size. He will then be shown available T-shirts in several cuts that will fit him. We want to avoid anyone buying the wrong size.
The original idea was to sew clothes for gentlemen, but over time we discovered that other gentlemen would also like to wear our clothes. That's why we started to expand our products and men can choose from 175 to 210 centimetres in our e-shop. We are also preparing a collection suitable for all generations. Our goals are really high.