Virtual marketplace Material Exchange announced Friday it will acquire the agency portion of denim consultancy and events business Olah Inc. For more than 60 years, Olah Inc. has served the denim and sportswear industries with its educational offerings, evolving from a Canadian textile agency to a multi-faceted New York-based consultancy.
The acquisition will help the platform expand into expert services with a special focus on sustainability—both of which are Olah Inc.’s bread and butter. In recent years, the company has doubled down on its sustainability content, releasing focused reports and hosting educational series as part of its newly launched Transformers Foundation, a nonprofit that actively addresses and facilitates change in the denim supply chain.
“We are looking forward to bringing our expertise in a digitized format to new audiences through the Material Exchange platform around design and sourcing for a robust understanding of the denim industry, particularly in terms of sustainability,” said Andrew Olah, CEO of Olah Inc.
The Material Exchange partnership began in July 2020 as a way to complement the Olah Inc.-owned Kingpins shows and allow exhibitors to showcase their textiles year-round. The digital format aimed to provide denim brands with tools for sourcing denim and denim-related fabrics in real-time and view detailed product data on demand. Soon after, Kingpins debuted Kingpins Exchange, an online denim marketplace and digital denim showroom created in partnership with Material Exchange that Olah described as the “Netflix” of materials sourcing. Using the platform, companies can essentially source denim on demand.
Material Exchange disrupted the materials sourcing process when it launched in 2017 with a seamless approach to connecting footwear and apparel brands with material suppliers. According to Darren Glenister, Material Exchange CEO, the acquisition “blends the technology platform with the human element.” As digitization picks up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies will be challenged to strike a balance between digital and physical offerings.
As part of the acquisition, Olah will join the Material Exchange advisory board. Olah Inc.’s Kingpins and Kingpins 24 shows, along with Transformers Foundation, will operate separately from Material Exchange.