Gerber Technology, a longtime provider of industry solutions created to improve the design and production process, plans to produce a fashion collection with Stephanie London of Waldrip NYC that will demonstrate the true potential of a technology-infused workflow product paired with on-demand manufacturing.
Gerber maintained that this approach to producing collections could very well be the wave of the future for designers and brands, touting the ability of integrated technology and on-demand manufacturing to be both sustainable and profitable.
“It’s challenging for a designer to compete and maintain pace with the speed of change in fashion today,” Gerber said in a statement. “Many are dependent upon traditional development cycles, supporting creativity but slow in moving from inspiration to finished garment. This model has become increasingly risky, as consumer trends shift quickly leaving brands with inventory exposure and business practices that are not sustainable.”
As its partner in this venture, Gerber chose Waldrip in order to provide an apt comparison between on-demand manufacturing and the standard way of doing things. For Waldrip, the traditional approach meant housing and organizing paper patterns, multiple stacks of binders and a full team of partners and interns in order to get a design approved.
London said that before working with Gerber, she would typically go through “multiple rounds” of physical samples before being able to finalize a design, a process that could take months. Thanks to Gerber’s technology, London said her eyes have been opened to the possibilities of on-demand manufacturing.
“I was really amazed that within a matter of hours I could see a 3-D virtual sample that was well on the way to a final product,” London explained. “Gerber held my hand and educated me on all the technologies they have to help, from design through a personalized bespoke concept all the way up to small batch on-demand or mass production.”
London’s experience could become the norm as 3-D modeling and augmented reality become more widely accepted by the industry. As Gerber VP of marketing Ketty Pillet pointed out in the statement, the technology already exists—it just needs to be put into the hands of those who could benefit.
“We have been driving innovation in this space,” Pillet added. “The Gerber by Waldrip Collection shows how technology makes purchase-activated fashion real, so you can design and produce based upon demand, staying on trend, optimizing inventory and minimizing markdowns.”
Recently, other brands and retailers have also begun to put programs in place that align with Gerber’s view of the future of fashion design. For example, Amazon’s “The Drop,” announced just last week, will use on-demand manufacturing technology to produce street-style collections designed by global influencers in line with consumer demand.
At the beginning of May, the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network selected a tech-centric apparel manufacturer, OnPoint Manufacturing, as one of the three winners of its 2019 Alabama Manufacturer of the Year award for its work in on-demand manufacturing—an honor no other apparel producer has ever received from these groups.
For Gerber, on-demand manufacturing will most certainly be a vital part of its business going forward. And, according to the 50-year-old tech firm, the full potential of this new design and production method has still yet to be realized.
“Our collaboration with Stephanie shows how an end-to-end solution is just the beginning of how Gerber can help brands and manufacturers transform into agile organizations and meet the on-demand challenge,” Pillet concluded.