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This Manufacturer’s On-Demand 3D Knitting Launch Tackles Fashion ‘Wastage’

Knitwear manufacturer 22 Factor has unveiled an on-demand 3D knitting service that takes an eco-friendly digital approach.

The company uses upcycled virgin yarn from luxury fashion brands to create premium quality knitwear at affordable prices. Its on-demand 3D knitting service features high-definition virtual sampling and simulation technology, allowing designers to visualize their designs and create detailed prototypes down to the exact color, style and material without creating a single physical sample.

As a venture of Cobalt Fashion, 22 Factor leverages Shima Seiki’s Wholegarment knitting technology that allows designers to make 3D seamless garments that provide comfortable stretch with greater stress distribution and range of motion, while also optimizing design, drape and fit. The production process is shortened by 92 percent from a typical 12-month period to less than one month, while maintaining the quality of the garment.

22 Factor is experimenting with the technology via an on-demand 3D knitting configurator available on its website. Initially targeted at small- to mid-size brands and independent designers with lower production orders, the service gives designers the tools and flexibility to produce the exact quantity of stock based on their actual needs in a shorter period of time, eliminating excess stock or markdowns.

“At 22 Factor, we have a role in driving the positive change we want to see in this industry. We constantly look for new ways, namely by using technology, to optimize our production process for a smarter and more sustainable supply chain,” Dorothy Pun, founder of 22 Factor and vice president of Cobalt Fashion, said.

“On-demand manufacturing helps to tackle the issue of wastage in the fashion industry and we aim to expand this service to bigger players in the future to drive mass adoption of the technology,” Pun added.

Since 2018, 22 Factor has been working with manufacturers, brands, designers and industry partners to create a smarter and more sustainable supply chain. Cobalt Fashion was formed as a joint venture between Li & Fung and South Ocean Knitters Holdings Limited in October 2017. Li & Fung later completed a strategic divestment of its three product vertical businesses, including its sweater/knitwear product vertical and the company is now 55 percent owned by the Fung Group and 45 percent owned by Hony Capital.