Like many industries, the textile sector could also find itself disrupted by the emergence of additive manufacturing. As 3D printers are developed to print materials and colors on textiles, more and more fashion companies are turning to this technology. Among them, Simplifyber has developed a new approach to transform traditional manufacturing techniques. By using additive manufacturing and a material from nature, they would have managed to develop a sustainable process, reducing the amount of material needed by 35% and eliminating around 60% of the steps.
Entirely printed in 3D, the clothes offered by the company are made from cellulose, the most common organic compound in nature, often found in plants, cereals or cotton. In collaboration with designer Maria Intscher-Owrang, who has made a career as a fashion designer and director in big houses like Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Alexander McQueen, the company wants to market biodegradable and affordable clothing. This will help pave the way for a more sustainable fashion industry currently mired in fast fashion issues and more. The new method removes the previously necessary steps of spinning, weaving, cutting and sewering, Intscher-Owrang explains, “We discovered a way to create clothes using soft plant fibers. We start with liquid cellulose – made in a lab, not a mill – which is then cast onto specially designed molds and dried, completely eliminating fabric waste and allowing for on-demand, stock-free service.
Is Simplifyber taking a step towards the clothes of the future?
With a fundraising estimated at 3.5 million dollars, the company hopes to democratize its manufacturing method. 100% natural and made from a combination of paper pulp and other plant-based materials, Simplifyber’s technique offers fully biodegradable and easily recyclable clothing. Moreover, as Maria Intscher-Owrang explained earlier, additive manufacturing allows the company to design the garments only on demand, thus avoiding huge inventories and limiting waste. Further proof that technology can enable certain industries to become eco-responsible.
Laurie Menoud, Simplifyber Partner, concludes, “With its one-step process for manufacturing garments, Simplifyber has the potential to beat the unit economy of polyester, becoming an economically and environmentally viable solution against plastic waste. We look forward to partnering with the team to scaling this solution. We believe that Simplifyber could be the garment of the future: not only are they beautifully designed, but they have a low carbon footprint and are affordable, which significantly differentiates itself from other sustainable clothing brands.” You can find out more about the company on its website HERE.
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*Cover photo credits: Simplifyber