|ALL PHOTOS COURTESY ELTON PINTO|
George Bell created Enzo Kimono Co. with one goal in mind… quality! Quality customer service coupled with quality products at affordable prices. After spending the past two months in his Nippon Classic I am hard pressed to argue with the results! Durable, comfortable, and affordable are all qualities I look for in a uniform, and overall I am pleased with Enzo’s kimono.
I must confess I am not a huge fan of “built in” rash guards to my kimono’s, such as the Nippon Classic. Though I do grappling with a rashie, I prefer the ones stuck to my body not my gi. So when I got the gi in the mail I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not it would be comfortable to me. A 550 gram pearl weave cotton kimono along with ripstop pants make this a rather soft yet strong fit. I have worn the gi both with and without a rashie on, and in general I would say it does a decent job wicking sweat, but without the direct contact to the skin you do not reap the benefits of keeping the muscles warm. Often times if the gi is opened and then re tucked it is uber cold because of the sweat. But this is not a malfunction of the gi, just the nature of rash guards sewn into kimonos.
Quite honestly the pants are one of the best cuts I have ever worn and I am quite finicky about the way gi pants fit! Without hugging my skin too much, along with being heavy enough not to ride up my leg the minute I play open guard, Enzo has designed one hell of a gi pant. Reinforced knees along with triple stitched seams ensure these pants can take tons of abuse. A unique three loop drawcord secures the pants and minimizes the need to retie in mid-roll.
The kimono itself is all triple stitched and strongly reinforced. I wanted to wear this gi for a solid 3 months (the entire 90 day guarantee) and see if on day 91 it just all fell apart. 100+ days and it is still going strong. Normal wear and tear with the embroidery fraying a bit from friction and washing. No holes, rips, tears, or other fabric issues. Weight wise this will fall a bit heavy as it lined with the rashie, but the weave is very smooth and comfortable. Likewise the ribbon lining the inside of the cuff is non-abrasive and smooth. I would like to see some other options in the future for those needing lighter kimonos or those who do not prefer rash guards sewn in.
One of the best parts in doing business with Enzo is that you actually are dealing with the owner when you contact them. A lot of companies have a customer service department, but with George you actually get… George. Now I cannot speak for how long this will last, as my prediction is Enzo will blow up in the coming year, but as of right now George Bell, owner and operator honor’s the industry’s ONLY 90 day guarantee on his product!
The one great aspect of rash guard lined gi’s is the canvas waiting to be painted upon, in this case a nice rendering of a traditional Japanese temple/dwelling with bamboo in the foreground. Overall the white Nippon Classic is clean with minimal bling. The elegant Enzo logo emblazons each arm with “Live the Warrior Way” stitched across the bottom skirt, and the kanji “Nippon” which translates to ‘Japan’ across the shoulders on the back. Burnt orange on white makes the gi really snap without being obnoxious. And thankfully zero references to anything snarling, drooling, or killing! A very zen design if you will.
The Nippon Classic is the first in a series of kimono’s that will reflect the diaspora of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (began in Japan as Judo, then to Brazil….) and George plans on continuing the beautiful design work. But beyond that he is constantly getting feedback from his customers, so look for the each batch design to be better and improved upon!
In a sea of kimono companies offering all sorts of skilled and artistically unique designs, Enzo has made a statement as top shark in the ocean with the forth coming collaboration with the Wu Tang Clan and Wu Wear! That’s right kiddo’s… taking “Protect yo’ Neck” to a whole different level, Enzo introduces the Killer Bee rashguard and forthcoming Killer Bee gi! Cyber-Monday, TODAY, you can save $10 off the rashie PLUS 10% on the pre-order of the Killa Bee Gi! PLUS SAVE 30% on the entire inventory TODAY ONLY!!!
Simply click here to be re-directed to Enzo’s site, and let George know you heard about Enzo here at The Ground Never Misses!