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Vogue Business exclusive | unspun launches 3D weaving to reduce waste in fashion

Announcing Vega™ with a Vogue Business exclusive

“We want to make an impact. To do that, we need to get our technology product to the brands making the most product and therefore have the most waste,” she says. Much of the industry’s waste, she notes, is a result of brands relying on trend forecasting to plan their inventory buys, as brands have to guess well in advance what items will be trending and place their orders. The machine would make just-in-time manufacturing more accessible, reducing lead times and, at least in theory, eliminating much of the guesswork that has become standard in the industry.

“Vega allows brands to reduce lead times to as little as one week: a 30-fold increase in speed, a new ability to follow (vs predict) cultural trends, and a total elimination of wasted inventory,” says Esponnette. “They aren't placing orders as far ahead and can more accurately react to customer purchasing behaviours and adjust buys accordingly.”

The weaving technology was part of Unspun’s vision from the start, says Esponnette. The idea was to first prove the concept of limited, make-what-you-sell production, and they started with 3D scans for custom-fit manufacturing because of its potential for customer engagement. The longer-term goal, she says, was supply chain adoption at scale in order to bring costs down and generate impact at scale. That’s the idea with Vega, which will debut in Oakland, California, where Unspun is building its first “micro-factory”. It plans to launch consumer products and brand partnerships later this year — and eventually build other micro-factories wherever there's demand, says Esponnette.

Three-dimensional weaving also has the potential to eliminate the wasted fabric scraps generated during the cut-and-sew process, she explains, although that’s a much smaller problem — by volume — than overproduction, she says.

Read the full article by Rachel Cernansky for Vogue Business here.

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Announcing Vega™ with a Vogue Business exclusive

June 9, 2023
Annika Visser
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