The initial color palette was intentionally chosen to be difficult to manufacture. The concept of CMYK was to test how the digital would be translated to the physical. As such, the bright colors were based on those most often used in the icons of iOS applications.
Brainstorming with Constraints
My process began with a computer-based brainstorm with one major constraint: use only squares. I created over 200 permutations from this rule.
Design Selection & Color Experimentation
I then subjectively selected four designs from the brainstorm and ordered a book of fabric swatches from a textile supplier in Missouri. After two weeks of waiting, I matched the fabric swatches as closely as possible to the original palette and created two new color schemes. For added craziness, I then translated the fabric colors back to a digital form.
Manufacturer & Material Selection
One of my initial goals was to produce these hats 100% in the USA. This proved to be extremely limiting and expensive. Over the course of two months I was able to work out a manufacturing process for the front designs and select workable materials. I decided to create the hats with leather, wool, poly-cotton, and brass. And construct the hat with seven-panels rather than the typical five or six. The most difficult aspects to produce, however, were the embellishments, which include merrowed edges, a twill appliqué, and inner lining.
Revision due to Manufacturing & Cost
Unfortunately the manufacturer I worked with became more unresponsive as the manufacturing process became more complicated. After reaching out to the owner, I was told that my order numbers were too low to necessitate their attention. Rather than wait 9 months to recieve the hats, I cancelled my order contract and quickly sought a new manufacturing partner.
In order to meet deadlines, I had to compromise on the hats being 100% US-made. Instead I had the hats constructed in Vietnam and then fitted with details and embellishments in Portland, Oregon. Though the production was again delayed, this time due to a factory fire, the hats finally came to fruition six months after my initial brainstorm.
Since I moved from the east coast to the west coast through the production of the hats, I decided to incorporate my new home into the branding of the apparel. I also wanted to complete the transition from my intial digitally-based brainstorm to a physical product by emphasizing natural landscapes and material quality.