Da Firma Kimono Company is a relatively new gi brand on the scene (but who isn't these days, really?) and like most the other new guys, they're already putting out some pretty nice looking, well-made gear at an affordable price. I don't remember how I first encountered them, but I'd “liked” Da Firma on FB for quite a while before the release of this gi.
I had already bought a really nice rashguard that Da Firma Kimono Company released early this summer, and was really stoked to be able to support the brand when they announced that their women's gi was finally available…for pre-order. It was a pretty quick pre-order to delivery process (maybe 6 weeks?), and Ricardo posted frequent status update on FB, so it when it finally arrived, I was ready, but still satisfied with the time frame.
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As a rule, I don't wear black gis and I found their blue model with pink and red hits to be a bit too Easter egg-y for me, so I decided on their white model. It's a pretty straightforward, clean-looking design with red contrast stitching and trim and red, black and gray embroideries. I'd put myself medium-high on the bling lover's meter (not Brendan blinged out, but close), so this gi was pretty plain compared to my Ctrls and Omega Maniac, which makes it a lovely gi, aesthetically speaking, for competition or seminars or just plain making a good impression.
The first thing I noticed was the embroideries. The hits on the skirt, pant leg and the shoulders looked clean and striking, but not at all over the top. All the stitching looked good (both the embroideries and the contrast stitching throughout) and the red contrasting belt loops and drawstring were great, too.
The jacket is made of a standard lighter weight pearl weave with the now classic foam filled collar. The collar is in the middle of the thickness range, fairly squishy but not particularly easy to grab. All the usual reinforcements are present and feel solid (armpits, side slits, etc.). The sleeves are not wizardly wide or long, probably about average, though the openings do feel noticeably different from my super tailored Ctrl gis, which is probably because I wear them constantly and have maybe forgotten how normal gis feel.
The pants are a ripstop cotton with a pearl weave gusset and are, again, of average width. The texture of the pants is awesome.
For those of us who were around for the early attempts at ripstop, I'm happy to say we've come a long way, baby, and Da Firma is no exception. The six belt loops for the pants were well spaced and the quality of the rope drawstring feels pretty top notch, so I don't suspect any mid-wash blowouts there. The stitching over the built in pearl weave knee pads is a bit unique in that the stitches are curved to avoid going over the patella, thus avoiding any digging or scraping one might experience while holding his or her prey…er, partner, in side control, or when one is stuck in someone’s closed guard for an entire roll.
The lapel seam and sleeve and pant leg openings are reinforced with a very soft, almost silky red seam tape that isn't the least bit scratchy. If you’ve ever come home with big red scrapes around your neck after a long session of grip fighting drills, you know how important quality seam taping is.
All the construction of the gi looks and feels very solid. The only oddity I did notice is that one of my belt loops is a bit shorter than the others and its red dye seems to have leeched out onto the surrounding area of the waist, but it was a really faint stain and it came out in the first wash.
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When talking to Ricardo, the main man at DFKC, he and I decided that I was right between an F1 and F2 (I'm 5'3″, 140lbs), so, having recently been burned really badly by sizing down, as I generally do, I decided to size up on this guy and shrink it if needed. Out of the bag, the fit was a little big throughout for my tastes, particularly in the back and butt, but right on it if you like a bit of room in your gi.
The skirt is a touch on the long side, and the gusset seems to have been built with a bigger booty in mind than my own, so every time I put the pants on, I get a slightly diaper-y feeling which takes a moment to adjust to. The pants drawstring was also absurdly long for my needs, so after a few different tying attempts, I just lopped it off by a four or so inches per side. That said, the pants are pretty darn comfy, and the kneepads actually cover the knee, which is not always the case.
By this point, I've done a pretty decent job of shrinking the gi down and the top fits me really nicely. The stitching on both the seams and embroideries has held up great and seems like it’ll be solid for the long haul. The pants are still a bit big through the gusset, but they’re still comfortable enough through the legs that I still like them. Honestly, I think this cut might be an ideal balance for competition as it will certainly pass gi check, and you’ll have plenty of mobility, but the gi won’t be so big and heavy you feel like you’re wearing a winter coat.
I really enjoy the modern, yet subtle vibe of this gi. I feel like it would look great all patched out for competition, or kept pristine for BJJ travel. The customer service that Ricardo provides is off the chain. A few weeks after I received the gi, he even sent me a follow up FB message to see how his creation was treating me.
My only gripes, and it's a stretch to call them that, are usual ones for me, being more or less straight as an arrow through the boob, hip and booty region, this gi had a little extra room that I don't need.
If you do have that bubble, these pants will fit like a glove, which is in stark contrast to a few other gi companies putting out pants like super low rise jeans. If you're looking for a really good value in a solid women's cut gi, and you like to support the little guy, DFKC is a great choice.
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