Today’s apparel manufacturing industry is being forced to take pause to evaluate how business is done across a broad spectrum. The recent recession has left numerous retailers scrambling to reevaluate their business goals and strategies. Businesses have tightened budgets, downsized operations, revamped supply chains and brought their businesses back to American shores. They’ve asked the big question, “How can we do more with less?”
Reexamining the Manufacturing Process
While automated technology has made serious strides in CAD design, cutting and material spreading, there’s still much that can be learned and improved upon. Automation is still the king when it comes to improving quality and being cost-competitive, but the future looks promising for new manufacturing methods. The world of clothing manufacturing is a competitive world and suppliers are hard-pressed to advance their product offerings quicker and better than before.
The role of technology is to find ways to integrate new production processes with superior processes and savings in labor. Time-to-market, combined with quality, is also a concern for those who create new technologies. The advancement of technology will usher in a more-complete integration of manufacturing systems with software across the industry. Systems will communicate much better with other systems.
Innovations That Will Change the Face of Fashion
Textile production can be dirty work–literally. It’s actually considered be among the dirtiest industries in the world. Cotton crops and fiber production inflicts a great deal of damage on the environment. The problem is compounded because of outdated manufacturing methods and toxic chemicals used to dye and finish fabrics, according to Treehugger.com. An additional environmental concern is the amount of Carbon Dioxide emissions produced by the textile industry. The good news is that clothing manufacturers and the textile industry, as whole, are stepping up to the challenge of becoming environmentally accountable. The following could be thefuture of clothing manufacturing.
With digital printing, prints can be applied directly to fabrics via printer. This can reduce the amount of water used by up to 95 percent.
Smart Online Shopping Tools
Smarter online shopping tools will have the ability to match the shopper with clothing items that match that person’s profession, measurements and taste. This has the potential to reduce returns and the time consumers waste in the shopping process. This technology, already in place, allows a shopper to shop with complete confidence–knowing that each piece of clothing bought will be a perfect fit.
By attaching a computer to a loom, the exact color, pattern and garment size can be produced when data is entered. All that’s left is to put the pieces together. The weaving, cutting of fabric and pattern shaping have already been done. The result is that up to 80 percent of fabric, energy and water is saved.
New Global Manufacturing Standards
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a comprehensive certification program being that will help determine and recognized international textile manufacturing requirements. The program is helping define the standards of how raw materials are harvested, manufactured and labeled.
Technology and the concern to protect the environment will bring about exciting and responsible change for future clothing manufacturing.