Behind every such item is a history of techniques preserved over time, enriched by the life experiences of the artisans who made it. It exists as a result of a long progression through many pairs of hands.
At Descente, the whole ethos of craftsmanship is sustained by a large number of people. From the marketing team’s initial idea, the creativity of the designers develop a single concept image. That becomes the basis of a manufacturing process starting with more detailed design and the creation of paper patterns. With sports wear there are many things to consider: what kind of pattern to follow, how it should be sewn, and what the process of production should be. As it passes through the hands of specialists in each relevant stage of development, the transition of the original, flat image into a real, three dimensional product takes shape.
The production specifications stemming from the original flat image become a multi-page document, evolving into an intricate instruction manual setting out exactly what sort of product it will become, and the detail of the steps to be taken to achieve it.
This process is at the very heart of Descente’s craftsmanship ethos. It is here that the DNA of Descente becomes deeply imbedded in the product.
The rock upon which Descente’s ability to work through this concept-to-commercialization process stands is – as it has been since the company’s foundation – its solid core of superior technical staff. They are the ones who wrestle with the many problems and challenges that arise along the way to transforming the line drawings and concept images of the designers into the final, finished shape of the product. Tirelessly, often through repeated trial and error, they overcome the hurdles – no matter how high they are – and make the end result their own. It is their spirit of challenge and breakthrough that defines the success of Descente’s craftsmanship.
In bringing a design concept drawing to fruition as a finished product, the technicians have to pay close attention to a very wide range of issues. To ensure ultimate freedom of movement by the wearer, all Descente's paper patterns are created using a 3D design technique known as "Motion 3D". These patterns are actually 3D garment simulations made of paper, rather than soft fabric, in order to ensure exact confirmation of the finer details. This method makes the verification process much more precise and ultimately results in superior comfort when actively worn.
At Descente’s production facility, all of the sewing is done by technicians with recognized national skill qualifications. These qualifications are only awarded to those who have not only passed difficult practical skill examinations, but have also demonstrated a strong theoretical appreciation of technical sewing. The factory where these skilled professionals have brought together all of their craftsmanship abilities also has a particular Descente atmosphere about it.
Most garment factories demand high productivity and efficiency of their workers, but they also tend to turn out products that have the simplest specifications and are easy to sew. For Descente’s true craftsmen, however, the comfort and functionality they create for Descente’s customers is uppermost in their minds. This means a very great deal of intricate and time-consuming sewing.
And so, at the end of a long process – passing from one craftsman’s hand to the next – a garment reaches the end of the production line. Because of this complex and demanding process, each and every garment incorporates a great deal of individual thought and care as it takes its final shape.
The path that leads to a customer taking delivery of a superior product is a long one, that involves a large number of important steps – from meticulous planning, through rigorous verification and testing, and endless trial and error experimentation by absolute professionals. But the efforts of all of these craftsmen are supported and appreciated by athletes and all who truly love sport.
In all of this, the true spirit of Descente can be found.
Our long-term goal at Descente has been to try to provide the crucial competitive edge in sports environments where 100th of a second can mean the difference between winning and losing. This has led us to our own, quite unique approach to product development, based on collaboration both in technical fabric develppment and extensive research into the mechanics of peak human body performance. Because of this, we are also able to apply the technical and theoretical knowledge gained from this high performance field research to the development of sportswear that allows a much wider spectrum of sports men and women to enjoy the quality of Descente.
Compared with everyday clothing, sportswear has to function well in a variety of harsher conditions, demanding higher levels of durability and safety. To ensure that our products meet the demands of our customers in countries around the world, we have to stay constantly up-to-date with not only the quality standards that apply in Japan, where the research and development takes place, but also of all those other countries as well.
In any case, Descente’s own self-imposed quality criteria meet the highest global standards, because of the importance we attach - as a key element of our global product strategy - to ensure we can meet the expectations of customers everywhere. We are also extremely conscious of the need to maintain the high standards our customers expect of Descente products by always making sure that opinions conveyed to our Customer Relations service are reflected in subsequent product development.
Additionally, as an aid to maintaining technical standards, there is a basic list of "Things Not to Do" which is shared widely throughout the company, both to head off mistakes, and to prevent them from being repeated. For instance, great care is taken to ensure that even if a material used in a product has passed teh quality testing process in its own right, it has to undergo the same scrutiny when combined with another material. Similarly, a material's suitability for its intended use is always rigorously tested and confirmed.
Always conscious of our own very high standards of design, quality and functionality, Descente also attaches great importance to our customers’ own expectations and perceptions in respect of product safety standards, quality and performance. As a result, the production process reflects the fact that all staff involved adhere to the strictest quality control criteria. As with the response to our customers’ expectations, we have ongoing internal review procedures in place to ensure that our own rigorous testing procedures and standards are maintained. As a responsible sportswear manufacturer, we feel very strongly that this is our duty to our customers.