Let’s manufacture apparel in the US and create jobs.
The Clothing Creator is an apparel manufacturing process that goes from the bolt of cloth to a finish garment in a 45 second cycle. The system combines 3D fabric molding and ultrasonic bonding technologies to simultaneously affect the shape of the garment and the cutting/seaming of materials. The system requires the usage of synthetic fabrics, such as, polyester, nylon, spandex and polypropylene and can accommodate a variety of knit, woven and non-woven textiles, all off-the-shelf materials. Although the technologies have been used throughout the industry and are inherent to synthetic materials, our innovation addresses the material handling challenges of traditional cut and sew methods.
The goal is with the adoption of this technology, there could be a renaissance for the US apparel/textile manufacturing industry by on-shoring production and domestic job creation.
Spandex –athletic & athleisure apparel , swimwear, *
This technical shift in production methods will offer apparel companies an opportunity for a volume oriented, flexible mass production system for garment production that will have the capacity to produce garments of higher quality, quicker production lead-times and lower production costs than conventional cut and sew methods. The machinery can produce a wide range of garment designs from athletic apparel, athleisure wear, military and work uniforms, medical disposables to haz-mat/protective garments. Because of the compact nature of the machinery, the opportunity to decentralize manufacturing with small pilot plants closer to markets could also exist.
At present, 98% of apparel that we buy is off-shored, with those domestic apparel jobs and skills lost generations ago and not coming back. Imports of clothing now account for over 15% of the domestic trade deficit. With the adoption of the Clothing Creator technology, we anticipate job creation for operating of the equipment for apparel production, building/maintaining of the machinery, expanded production of fibers/textiles/ancillary related supplies, distribution/inventory of production and all segments of fashion design, marketing and selling related to on-shoring of apparel production. And, with any new factory opening up in a city, towns prosper through a ripple effort throughout the community with additional tax revenues.
The first generation machine will have the capacity for continual replication of exact copies of designed product that converts 2D fabrics into soft/flexible 3D garments, ranging from loose-fitting styles to highly contoured designs. The process will also establish a new aesthetic vocabulary for the fashion designer. One that the designer already models in a 3D format on a computer to better fit the human body, as well as, offer increased performance and added comfort. Additionally, with the development of new smart fabrics tending to be synthetic in construction, the process has the potential to produce a whole new class of functionally oriented garments that would be cost prohibitive with traditional cut and sew techniques.
Nonwoven -medical disposables, health-care products, haz-mat, protective garments*
As a futuristic scenario, if a consume wanted a custom cycling jersey, they could collect a dozen soda bottles and recycle them into a hopper, which would grind them back into polymer pellets, which could then be extruded into fiber, which could then be woven, knit, processed into fabric, which could then be fed directly into the Clothing Creator, which would have flexible molds to accommodate the varied sizes and styles. The consumer could then step on a platform to have their body 3D scanned and with a fashion designers’ input or software suggestions from the consumer, print on-demand graphic patterns on the fabrics, to create a unique garment in real-time and immediate production. At present, all of these processes exist except on the garment production side. This is what we are proposing.
- Made in the US apparel
- Living wage job creation
- Reduce production and supply chain costs
- Reduce lead time for production runs
- Reduce energy consumption during production and distribution
- Safe, positive environmental work place practices
- Increase quality and functionality of garments
- Greatly expand the domestic supply chain of materials and suppliers
- Potential for mass customization of garments
- Increase the local, state and federal tax base
This work has been funded under the aegis of:
- National Science Foundation, (SBIR) Small Business Innovation Research Program
- U.S. Department of Energy, (ERIP) Energy Related Inventions Program
- New York State Science and Technology Foundation
- New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
* Prototype garments made by simulating the process
Brett Stern is the inventor of the technology and founder of Team BS LLC, Portland, OR.