PHD Design Your Own Clothing – Website Launch and Exclusive First Test

Today sees a world first for down equipment, UK down manufacturers PHD are launching a new service: Design Your Own Clothing.
I’ve had exclusive access to the website to test the functionality and design my ideal jacket to test this winter.

For many folk off-the-peg clothing is a compromise, they  might find that everything is great except the arm length, but to get their wrist covered with a larger size means a big baggy body and to get technical clothing made to fit perfectly from scratch is going to cost a fortune.
PHD have come up with a clever solution by offering a range of options on Design Your Own -DYO- for which they they already have patterns, meaning your jacket still has an element of standard construction to keep costs under control and allow a good turn around time for your order. These options aren’t limited to A or B though, the options are very extensive indeed, you can dial in the fit of your jacket, the features, the fabric and the down fill.

Given a blank canvas it’s tempting to go mental and spec all sorts of crazy stuff, which you can do as long as you don’t press the Buy it Now button of course. Once I’d done all that I had a think about what down gear I already had and what from my experience using it could be improved upon.
The pages allow you to do all this logically by addressing one set of parameters at a time.

I went for the Toubkal as it’s a bit warmer than most jackets I have, it has box-wall construction which I haven’t had in a long time in a jacket and still comes in very light.
The first page gives you the basic details and standard spec with a list of customisations, once you know it’s the one you want, click Customise This Jacket.
The next page is sizing, which I’m generally lucky with as most brands large fits me fine. Does than mean I’m average? I did rub my chin at the arm length though, measured, measured again, tried on jackets and went for the standard large. There’s charts for all this to help, you can take your time and you can go back and change it before ordering as well.

Next up is the fabric page and it was a no-brainer, I went for a Drishell outer in gold. It’s a great fabric, worth the little bit of extra weight every time and the colour? How happy will it make me in the snow?
Down choice is next and is very important, I’d already planned to make the jacket as warm as possible so it had to be 900 fill which would offset the heavier outer fabric as well. I also went for a little overfill, a minutely bigger packsize for a wee bit more warmth? Yes please.
You can keep tabs on the weight and price as you go on the dashboard to the right of the screen, it updates with every choice you make.

You don’t have to have one, I think it’s got to have a hood, but what hood. Regular is fine, no overly glamorous, but its neat fit keeps your head warm. But, having got used to bigger hoods the past while, I took the helmet hood option. Bigger and adjustable, it fits over your shell hood and hats and should work well at camp where I can pull it on and off. More comfortable and practical for me.
I did think about whether I’d prefer a fixed hood which isn’t an availavle option, the hood I specced zips off, but to be honest, I think its an aesthetic thing more than practical, removable hoods have nice cozy collars sealing the gap when the hood’s down.
It was here I realised that I really was dialling in the jacket, it wasn’t “that’ll do” anywhere so far, is was all just what I needed. Experience does count for something here, knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, but DYO has a great safety net, you can’t spec yourself a bad jacket as there’s no bad options.
The pocket options are napoleon or hip, and since I’m no longer a climber, I voted for keeping my hands warm at camp and went for two hip pockets.

That’s it. You fill in your details and oredr or go back and play until you’re happy. I was happy with my choices first time, I went back and checked, thought about it, changed nothing and sent it through.
The site worked perfectly, I never found any bugs and the dashboard kept track of what I was doing quite happily no matter what weirdness I came up with at first.

I did all that back in August and it was around four weeks later the Toubkal below arrived, PHD say 45 days will be the turn around time for an order.
I was a bit nervous, I’ve trusted PHD with my comfort and joy many times over the past few years, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to screw it up by getting involved myself.
It was the right colour, the fit was right, it was fat with down, it was light at 508g and it was exactly the jacket I’d put together on the screen. Where the hell’s the snow when you need it?
I’ll do a proper look at the jacket when I’ve used it in anger against the winter which can’t be too far away, but the spec is all above. If you put the same parameters in as I did you should get a price  of £351 and an estimated weight of 516g.

I think DYO a great idea, you can get exactly what you want, get it made in the UK using top class materials and pay what looks to me like a reasonable amount for what you get when you look a MiC equivalents. It’s what outdoor gear used to be, something made for a purpose and a person rather than something to stick on a hanger and hope someone buys it.
Have a play on the site and see if you can make a 200g jacket with a -25C rating that costs £1000, I still haven’t managed it. More from me and the golden Toubkal soon.

33 thoughts on “PHD Design Your Own Clothing – Website Launch and Exclusive First Test”

  1. Thanks for the heads up on this Petesy. Had a play around and it definitely seems to be a very robust system. Maybe other manufacturers will take note and develop a more bespoke approach to selling their goods. Now, where’s that hammer for my piggy bank? :-)

  2. I’ve always said that folk should gte the trade workbooks a year in advance so they can order what they want, I bet what’s sold would bedifferent to what actually ends up in the shops.

  3. Toubkal in MX, 900 f/p, no hood, hip pockets and insanely long arms. I may have designed the world’s most expensive dog-walking coat. I’ll let you know in 4 weeks :o)

  4. Well I’m 6 foot 3″ tall, long body and a 47″ chest so XXL all round, A Toubkal in dri shellcame to around £350.

    Then I looked at the Yukon jacket which looked very similar and was around the same weight. The colour choice is the same as well apart from the gold option And the price is noticeably cheaper at £273 (though it may be £300 for XXl, not sure).
    So no real benefit for me. Seems strange that you can’t have both chest and hand pockets as well.

  5. Feed back to them about the pockets, it might be a lot of folk might want that as an option.

    It’s a good way to judge the value of DYO, both technically and financially, building something similar to their regular range. Good call.

  6. Ordered mine small wide medium sleeves and long length, 5′ 9.5 waist 30 chest 36 900 PF with overfill Black drishell hope it fits man

  7. will do i prob wont get it until first week dec 45 days. how is it so far is it closer to the minimus or yukon? more importantly is it warm? like really warm? long cut? was the helmet hood worth it?

  8. The bigger hood was definitely a good call for me, I’ve shown it to a few folk and they like it too.
    Length is average, definitely not parka length, but not too short that cold will get in at the tail when I’m hunched over in a tent.
    Not quite sure how warm it is yet, I need to pull it on at midnight at a 1000m camp, which should be in the next week or so. I know that’s a bit unscientific, but I’ll just kinda know if I made the right choices when I designed it at that moment!

  9. It’s a difficult one that, I’ve had -15C inside the tent and below that outside it at camp, and always had lighter insulation than the Toubkal as I knew I had my sleeping bag which I just slip into when I get cold before jumping back oit to take photies in the dark. So it’ll be interesting to see if the Toubkal affects that, if I spend more time outside?
    We’ll see.

  10. Well, my Toubkal turned up today and it’s a cracker. The fit is pretty much spot on and the sleeves in particular are glorious. I can “shuck” my hands up there nae bother. Well pleased.

  11. very nice, but if only it worked for a full range of clothing rather than just jackets.
    would not mind a down jacket though, but it’s a shame I can’t afford sale items let alone a coustom made one :(

  12. The Toubkal does have a (slightly) scooped back. Couple that with the “extra large” length (I’m 6’4″) and I’ve got a jacket that covers most of my posterior :o) Decent coverage at the front also.

  13. Thx Kev, yeah does have a slight tail.

    Mine arrived last week pretty quick, it’s lovely i thk i wud describe it as a box walled minimus, i got the perfect fit with it.

  14. great so its definitely warm? lol

    PTC there a pic of u in the Hispar jacket? is the chest pocket position in a way where u can use it as hand warmers? u seem to manage it quite nicely.

  15. No shots yet, I was too busy faffing around with electronic kit that I couldn’t work properly.
    I’ll get something on the next trip, hopefully.

  16. Ah right, aye, the pockets are high up but I could get my hands in no problem, even though the samples are a size medium which is a little neat for me.

  17. Been wearing it, had it in rain (!) and snow, packs small, fiots great. Hopefull a proper update on that and other stuff when things on here get back to normal in a week or so!

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