Monday, August 23, 2010

OTM Women's Gi: Review of 'Supa Star' Kimono

In July, US-based fightwear company, On The Mat, launched a new women's gi, aptly named 'Supa Star'. As soon as I saw this gi, I was in love; one look at the pink star styling and my heart was a flutter. It is the most glamourous gi in my little collection and my first pair of ripstop trousers. OTM's gi are mid priced/headed towards the 'premium' end of the price spectrum ($159 at the time of writing), however you do get what you pay for in this instance; a tough wearing gi with a cut that can flatter a variety of women's shapes.

OTM features

The Supa Star is in the 'girlie' range of feminine styling, but not too cutsie and the attention to detail ensures an overall sophistication. Epaulletts and 'OTM' branding at the back of the jacket are fashioned from pink fabric with an Argyle diamond pattern of white dashed lines, OTM logos and stars. A similar pattern is used inside the jacket, with dark pink on a white background. The slits at the sides of jacket's skirt are reinforced with star-shaped stitching, and a lovely 'On The Mat' in a cursive font is used on the back and sleeves of the jacket to nice effect. The trousers, with thick dark pink cotton drawstrings, are further adorned with stars and 'On The Mat' script. The OTM is a lighter weight gi - it weighs in at 1.4kgs/3.1lbs on my scale - with a pearl weave top and ripstop trousers, however, while the jacket is not 'soft', it is silky and gentle on the skin rather than rough as some pearl weave can be.

OTM fit

If the beautiful Fenom Kimonos are the women's tuxedo of gi, then the Supa Star is the ballgown. The Supa Star has a unique and very feminine cut that creates an A-line silhouette. The shoulders, the best tailored for me that I have found, drop in the perfect place and so avoid a lot of excess material in the upper-body. The jacket, as with other well developed women's gi, flares slightly and is tailored and slim-fitting. The trousers, 'modeled off the fit of a baggy women's jean cut', are very wide across the bottom and legs. On the one hand, for me, if I wear the trousers at the waist I get a huge unfilled balloon effect across the bum, and while this is somewhat reduced when worn more hipster style, they are much bigger through the rear than I would ideally prefer. On the other hand, the generous width of the trousers makes for comfortable and unrestricted wear, accommodates curvier shapes and enhances the A-line design of the gi. While it is great that there are women's gi more sensitive to women's proportions, there seems to be an assumption that all women are curvy. While women do have different waist to hip ratios than men, women too, come in a variety of body shapes and it would be optimal if women's gi could be bought as separates. In this case, while the F3 jacket is perfect for me, I definitely need the F2 and possibly the F1 trousers.[1] This is especially so with the Supa Star as not only is it very generously cut, but, for better or worse, it is extremely resistant to shrinkage.

OTM size

The Supa Star is very resilient to shrinking with no noticeable change after 40°C and 60°C washes. I blasted the trousers with a very hot 90°C wash, but this resulted in only the barest shrinkage. Incidentally, the dark pink fabric used in the design is highly colour fast and did not show significant fading after a very hot wash.

MeasurementsBefore(in) 60°(in) 90°(in) 
collar to cuff27.4  27.4n/a
shoulder to skirt bottom  3030n/a
front waist to leg bottom  35.435.435.3
waistband  20.320.320.3
rear seam to gusset top  11.811.811.8
pant leg width from half way down rear seam  111110.4
pant leg width from top gusset  11.811.811.6


The Supa Star is a pleasure to wear. It is lightweight and sensitive on the skin. It is so darn cute and pretty, you can't help but feel like the belle of the ball which, if you're anything like me, can have a positive effect on your jits. It is a very well designed and crafted gi that can survive equally well on the mats or in the washing machine. The styling and the cut are feminine and fun without being over the top and while this gi may be a little over-sized for women slight through the thighs and bum, it does have a superbly attractive and functional tailoring. I only hope that this is the start of a more extensive women's collection from OTM, with the caveat that jackets and trousers be offered as separates.

Big thanks to Coach Dave Birkett and Wayne Rowlands at Dartford BJJ for taking pictures with me and letting me have my way. Check out the OTM product page for close-up views of the gi's detailing.

Check out more gi reviews!
[1] For reference, I am 5'4.5"/163cm, 130lbs/60kgs and have bust, waist and hip measurements of 34"/86.4cm, 27"/68.6cm and 36"/91.4cm; this review is of the F3.

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