9 (plus one) of Our Favorite Jiu Jitsu Gi Brands

Much like I respect higher belts that came before me in Jiu Jitsu, I have great admiration for those that paved the way for Nine Lives and the history associated with the Jiu Jitsu uniform business. My belief is that no one should have just one brand of gi in their closet, especially in a day and age when there are so many options that can align with your personality and style. I of course hope that one day one of the options in your closet is a Nine Lives gi. In the mean time below are a few 'competitors' that I am fond of for one reason or another and I encourage you to support these brands. This is not a gi review but rather my take from a branding point of view. That said in my experience (some I have more than others) I don't think you can't go wrong with the product made by any of these companies either.

In no particular order I give you the list:
 
DO OR DIE Hyperfly
The term "Hyperfly" has always made me think of Nike's Quickstrike and Hyperstrike programs and as someone with an affinity for sneaker culture I think that has leaked into my psyche and built a positive association with these guys.  The brand has backed up this bond through a strong tagline "You can't teach heart," great looking gis, strong graphic design on their tees, relevant looks for their occasional cut and sew items and a solid team of sponsored athletes. 
Do or Die Hyperfly Nine Lives

HCK - Howard Combat Kimonos
HCK had to be on the list because it was the first branded gi (one small embroidery on the arm) I ever owned at a time when that was a big deal. After a few years of training (Indiana University BJJ Club team) in an unbranded school issue blank kimono my instructor (Kedar, who I was always envious of his blue KF fighter gi) gifted to me a HCK gi. I still have this gi and it has great sentimental value to me and so does the brand for that reason. I have always worn an HCK belt ever since as a reminder of sorts, although now I am working in the Nine Lives CYA belt into my rotation.
HCK - Howard Combat Kimonos - Nine Lives

Shoyoroll
In my mind the current market leader as they have paved the way for those that entered the marketplace since the days of the OG brands. I have always admired Shoyoroll for their branding choices and support of so many great athletes.  Coming from my involvement in the streetwear market I see lots of inspiration from brands like Supreme, Stussy, 10 Deep and skate culture on this brand which I think has contributed to their fanatical supporters/collectors, something not uncommon in streetwear. Lucky Gi is also worth noting in regards to paving the way stylistically. 
Shoyoroll - Nine Lives

Fuji
 
Fuji makes the list mainly for it's affordable price point. That said, it was important for me to incorporate the Japanese roots when starting the Nine Lives brand so the fact that Fuji did that as well with Mount Fuji logo solidifies them on our list. I have always had Fuji gis hold up very well.
Fuji Sports - Nine Lives

I have yet to pick up one of their gis but it is high on my to do list. I think this brand is one to look to for with their clean, minimalist design and nice product photography on the website. This brand to me has a menswear influence while still keeping that New York grit. I see inspiration from brands like Comme des Garçons Shirt with their "YAYOI" gi which I love. I would rock that Avacado gi all day too. 
VHTS New York - Nine Lives

Similar to Fuji I appreciate the Japanese influence on this brand, Scramble has taken it a step further though and released a Made in Japan "Black Label" Gi. The attention to detail associated with this release was impressive. Anytime a company takes big risks by doing something very different that takes time and may cost them money rather than make them money. I appreciate big risks when they are authentic to the brand. I assume this was a profitable venture for the company but the motivation behind the project and risk associate make this brand a market leader in my mind.
Scramble - Nine Lives

Origin USA
The market differentiator that Origin has by creating their own fabric and making their gis in house in the US is admirable and a point of envy for company in this space. They deserve to grow 10 fold from wherever they are today because they are creating jobs and have more control over their process than anyone out there. If you aren't familiar with how they are building their gis, go watch this now.  
Origin - Nine Lives

Koral USA
I have a forest green Koral gi that has seen a lot of mat time and been taken in for repairs multiple times, so you could say it is a tough gi for me to retire. The repairs have no bearing on the quality of this gi or production by Koral but rather the result of a heavy rotation of use and hard training. Sometimes you just have a gi that defines you or you build a bond with and this for me has been my Koral. This gi has in turn grown my affinity for the brand. I am not particularly fond of their logo but the love I had with the product has superseded that, so they make the list.  
Koral USA - Nine Lives

What can I say, I am a sucker for animals, especially ones that are both bad ass and can make you laugh at the same time. An area where Nine Lives and Inverted Gear I feel are on common ground. I am also a fan of great logo design and Inverted Gear hit a home run with their logo.
Inverted Gear - Nine Lives
 
Albino and Preto
I can't preach clean minimalist design and not mention these guys. Their gi designs have been beautiful with a simple AP logo and well designed pattern featured on the pants and jacket. Their attention to detail and admiration for good design shows through in their product and lookbook photos as well. Another brand that is high on my list to pick up a gi in the future. 
Albino Preto - Nine Lives

Honorable Mention: 
Krugans USA (early days love)
Atama  (early days love)
Gameness  (early days love, sick meaning behind the name and relevant shift to clean design recently)
Moya Brand (community and culture with clean graphic work)
CTRL industries (simple design with great pop on their inside yoke liners)

As I have stated before I will always support, buy and wear other Jiu Jitsu brand gis and I encourage you to as well. There is no brand on this list that fully embodies me as a person, but the list above, as a whole, starts to further define what is important to me. Many of the brands on this list also helped shape what is, was and will be key to the beginnings and future of the Nine Lives brand. See you on the mat and remember to respect the art, love the game and roll like you have nothing to lose.