The Making of the Finisterre + Dritek Wetsuit Hanger.
We are huge fans of Finisterre, so when they contacted us to discuss a potential hanger collaboration, we were delighted.
They had used our standard Dritek Hangers and could see their benefits, in particular their versatility and the ability to hang wetsuits across the middle, which eliminates the stretching at the shoulders experienced with ‘normal’ hangers.
However, in certain situations, especially in cold water surfing situations, which Finisterre are famous for, they felt that feeding the wetsuit through the standard hanger was a bit tricky, especially with ice-cold hands and a blowing gale.
They tasked us with developing a hanger that maintained the main Dritek Hanger characteristics (strength, versatility, long lasting) but also offered easy access for inserting wetsuits.
Now, the standard Dritek Hanger was unashamedly developed for mass market. A multi-sector, heavy-duty hanger that is used to hang everything from wetsuits and waterproofs through to motorbike leathers and uniforms. So, the opportunity to develop a new hanger, specifically for wetsuits, was an exciting one.
To improve access, we needed to remove one of the sides of the ‘triangle’, which also meant significantly weakening the triangle. So we had to reinforce the ‘elbow’ to make sure the new hanger would be strong enough. We also needed to make it fatter, to ensure that the wetsuit would be stable when hung and that the neoprene would not be folded over a small area, which can cause a damaging crease. And, to legitimately carry the Finisterre marque, it had to look good, too. But not at the expense of our joint environmental responsibilities, so we had to use recycled plastics and make sure it was a ‘hanger for life’.
Once the hanger design had been agreed upon, we handed it over to the Academy for Innovation & Research (AIR) at Falmouth Universtity to test it for strength and durability. We were then able to get a prototype made from resin-board and see it ‘in the flesh’ for the first time. It looked amazing! But, inevitably it needed a few tweaks and then another prototype, this time from local surfboard shaper Driftwood Surfboards, now Digital Fabrications, milled out of hardwood. Again, it looked amazing and this time we’d cracked it!
The actual hangers were made by the world’s No.1 hanger manufacturer, Mainetti, based in Jedburgh in Scotland, who were also excited about making such a unique and innovative hanger. It was great to be able to make the hanger in the UK, but it was even better to work with a company who are pioneers and world leaders in recycling hangers and can boast an amazing global ‘distribution and returns rework’ which enables them to reintroduce or recycle tens of millions of hangers each year.
As the Finisterre Hanger was to be bright electric blue, we couldn’t use just any type of recycled plastic. In fact it had to come from contact lense blisters, which are colourless.
The end result is not only a triumph of design and engineering but also a practical and desirable product that will keep wetsuits in top condition and last a lifetime.
For more information visit – www.finisterreuk.com/shop