Combating old fashioned garment production

How digital will change garment production industry as it was done for booking, taxi or any other market. Originally posted at the company blog.

Since the start of the 20th century immigrants from Europe began to invade NYC in search of work and a new life, gradually creating the city’s Garment District, neither the approaches to, nor the technology of clothing production have changed.

NYC Garment District workers at 50's

That is to say, they have been updated, gradually sped up, but only incrementally. If we look at the structure of the fashion industry, it is reminiscent of an aging carriage driver, overloaded and overworked for too many years.

The fashion industry now is absolutely (and fundamentally) incompatible with the speed of life and the demands of the market in 2016. Local processes have now been made global, reinvigorated by the steroids of seemingly endless capital and cheap labor supply.

Garment worker statue in Garment District

We created ShareCloth because we believe that the industry is in need of a serious reexamination and restructuring. This restructuring not only concerns sales, but the process of production: from idea to finished product. After all, it is the production process that influences the greatest number of people worldwide, and I am not only talking about the job market. The seemingly uncontrollable massiveness of scale at all stages of the process, from fabric production to garment assembly, has direct affects on the planet and its population: resource depletion, environmental pollution, production waste, wage inequality among workers…

Examining these weaknesses from an IT perspective, we were able to identify a substantial number of drivers that lead changes to the production process. In ShareCloth we actually follow some of them.

The speed of the internet and an removal of boundaries

The majority of the information necessary for clothing production is completely transferable in electronic format and only the fabric and materials themselves need be sent to a factory or production facility.

The social graph and shared economy

Trust in long-distance service companies or specialists can now be formed and sustained using the internet. We already implicitly trust these services when we make hotel reservations, call a taxi and order food delivery.

New visualisation techniques and digital level of accuracy

In the past ten years, computer and 3D modelling technology have reached a level where it is now difficult to tell the difference between the image on one’s computer screen and the real thing.

The modern approach to connectivity

Mobile technology, sensors and scanners, all networked and connected by the internet, provide new opportunities and approaches to issues of coordination and information sharing.

Exhibit ShareCloth at Texprocess, Atlanta, May 16

From the beginning, we at ShareCloth have focused on the problem of garment development and production speed and quality. Combating the low level of efficiency in offline coordination and ensuring an effective and high quality production process have been our number one goals.

With these goals in mind we decided to transfer the entire coordination process online, giving our clients and their brand teams, from the individual designer to the product manager, the ability to coordinate their efforts with seamless efficiency.

We just started our journey and meet a resistance every single day. But still we believe that changes for old and toughest garment supply model are coming to change our lives for good.