The high-tech future of fashion

this Levi's supplier Factory in Mexico is at an intersection of past and future these workers are manually sanding hundreds of pairs of jeans to give them that beloved worn in look this is one of the most time-consuming and physically intense parts of making jeans on the other side of the factory these laser machines can complete the same job in just 90 seconds the lasers are a critical part of Levi's plan to cut weeks even months off their production time it can put the finishing touches on only as needed and that lets it respond to market faster meaning less waste and fatter profits just about every brand today is trying to figure out how to operate like a fast fashion company many are looking to high-tech solutions like lasers automation 3d knitting and printing together these technologies show a new way forward for the notoriously low tech industry which for decades has relied on cheap manual labor we're on the cusp of a new era in fashion manufacturing one where customized clothes can be mass-produced I'm mark fain this support please subscribe to our Channel in the 1970s the president of the blue jeans corporation William J bang said we would have a man on Mars sooner than full automation and fashion he hasn't been proven wrong yet fashion is decades behind industries like electronics and cars when it comes to automation but the rise of e-commerce and social media in the past decade has transformed fashion there's currently a huge gap between how slow it is to produce clothes and how fast trends come and go with social media shoppers see every new trend the moment it appears they've been trained by fast fashion and e-commerce to expect instantaneous access a lot of the industry has struggled to keep up it's no surprise that over the past you know five to ten years retail apparel footwear has been completely shaken up this is Edward herzman he's the president of a trade publication about fashion supply chain why is it important for brands to speed up so I think we kind of reached a turning point right it used to be chasing the cheapest needle was the recipe for you know being a profitable apparel company today it's how do we make a style get it into the store very quickly test it and if it doesn't work well we don't have a use liability we have to look at speed and money as one in the same and that's a problem for old slow fashion brands with the traditional manufacturing model brands invest a lot of money upfront to design and produce a big collection they send large orders to factories often overseas start to finish the process takes months in those months consumers may have moved on to the next new thing that's a lot of risk for brands because unsold clothes get marked down eating into profits but if brands can respond faster they can produce less upfront and quickly restock the stuff that's popular the goal is to shift from a model of make and then sell to sell and then make one technology helping to make this model possible is 3d knitting hi hi hi I'm work I absolutely meet you welcome to Shima say USA Shima psyche is a Japanese company that's a leader in 3d knitting technology it makes machines like this one right here so this is the final piece but when it's being knitted out you can see it coming down from the machine as such traditionally you would knit the parts of a sweater separately and then sew them together 3d nating produces the sweater is one entire piece no sewing required it's a completely three-dimensional garment from start to finish yes exactly the knit is designed digitally and the machine does nearly all the work only three to four workers are needed to wash the garment put on labels and package it big brands like Uniqlo and Patagonia are already using 3d knitting and hi Otto's jacket is made by a brand called Ministry of supply which has a Shima sakie machine in one of its stores so it can produce customized jackets on demand but 3d knitting and lasers only address specific challenges like knitting and denim distressing that's great if you're making sweaters and jeans but there's one fundamental part of clothes making that's been surprisingly hard to automate sewing we have been doing sewing the same way with minor automations for the last 30 years one big reason is that fabrics are soft flimsy and difficult for machines to handle but at least one startup claims to have cracked the problem oh I really should have ironed this this is John's or now founder of startup so Bo he's giving a demo to a garment factory in New Jersey interested in learning more about the tech according to John this sort of sloppy shirt he's holding is the future of how clothes could be made this shirt is actually the world's first robotic lease owned garment we were able to put this together using our stiffening technique kind of on an ad hoc experimental basis just as a proof of concept it's not the prettiest stitching I'll be honest you're right but these are all things that are improved with calibration and are actually you know much further advanced by now his solution is stiffening the fabric with a thin layer of plastic so existing robots can handle it after it's sewn a quick soak in hot water removes the coating automated sewing and 3d knitting won't just make manufacturing faster they help brands make small batches of clothes fast and cheaply that makes it possible to produce customized clothing on a mass scale customers are demanding more and more personalized items or customized pieces so our technology really is a great way to cater to that market and because we can really produce the products in real time this move toward affordable clothes made fast to your specific measurements is one of the most exciting things happening in the industry it's great for shoppers and it's also great for brands because they're not producing big piles of inventory in advance and there's less risk of returns I got a little taste of what that future looks like this is not a look inspired by a Contemporary Art this is the future of fashion at least according to Japan's largest fashion ecommerce site let me explain this polkadot suit is part of a custom fit technology developed by Japan's leading online fashion e-commerce company zozo town an app reads the markers on the suit to create a 3d model of your body from there Zozo promises to deliver affordable custom fit clothes in up to two weeks through partially automated production the concept is still in its early stages and styles are limited but the end goal is ambitious so is the ultimate goal to just get rid of standard off-the-rack sizing altogether absolutely that's not about to become standard in fashion anytime soon but it's a glimpse at how brands are looking to the future it's 2018 we already have a plan to send a human to Mars just how far are we from fully automating fashion manufacturing people do disagree you know that we're two three years away from a completely automated supply chain some people will say we're ten years away labor costs are going up raw material costs are going up just overall cost of doing business is going up there has to be a change there's no way around it are you ready for a custom wardrobe made on demand let us know in the comments subscribe to our channel and look out next week for a video about what cars are actually made in America in the era of global trade


  1. Use plastics and consume more clean water to make clothing production faster and cheaper…SOUNDS GREAT!

  2. Cost of materials is going up; labor costs are going up. No kidding. Prices are going up as well. Gasoline used to be $027/gallon in 1974. So what's your point? That poor people will be walking around naked because of inflation?
    You talk about this technology coming to mass marketed items. Nope. Customized, high-priced clothing will suck up almost 100% of the machine capability for computer-aided clothing manufacturing because that's the fastest way to pay for those expensive machines and to finance their even better, faster, more versatile and more efficient versions. Have you noticed that 3D printing is not being used to make kids' toys? Right, it's used to do fast industrial prototyping, which is saving tens of millions of dollars every month.
    Don't get too far out over your skis with this stuff. We're already oversaturated with techno-teases as it IS.

  3. Wasn't there a guy on shark tank a while back doing this exact thing, using phones to map your body in order to make custom suits? He was definitively onto something.

  4. so you guys are like… the new vox. please don't break my heart like they did. their videos suck balls now but the worst thing about them was their president forcing the video team to add short clips of him begging people to get trump out of office. trying to cram his political agenda down their viewers throats was lame enough but then the quality took a massive downward spike. end.

  5. So, low employment, no more creativity, environmentally unsustainable, shallow, boring and meh.. That’s a no from me ☝🏼

  6. I have always found some or the other faults with the off the rack clothes I bought. I'm just gonna wait for the custom fit technology to impress me. Also, this video is more to do with the fitting part and less about the quality of clothing. I feel that perfect fit clothes with poor quality clothing material look better than poorly fitting clothes with good quality material. And when it comes to the environmental issues, the custom-fit technology and the clothes rental company will have an opposite environmental impact.

  7. This will be good for the environment since companies wont need to produce more. Hopefully consumers become more educated about their consumption.

  8. Why do people need to follow trends, and ideology. These are toxic ideas. "Culture is not your friend" ~ Terence Mckenna.

  9. This doesn't solve the modern slavery problem, customization in your clothes only means your more specifically demanding an accurate representation of your body measurements, hindering the production line by making more adjustments that are suitable to different sizes, thus creating a multitude of volumes.

    Furthermore, developments in the technology reside in the commercial application rather than industrial application, for instance, the use of robotic arms in the assembly line was only implemented in the heavy industry of transportation for only a couple of years, meaning hypocrisy in the digital age is just applied in the sector of Media…

    But I'm optimistic to what the impact it will have in this sector once these people implement it though there is going to have consequences…

  10. Sewing demands huge labor force and provides jobs in South Asia, South East Asia, and even Sub-Saharan Africa. Once this gets automated, it will be very hard for low-income countries to advance into emerging countries.

  11. Customization is still way too expensive for a mass market, for example with 3D knitting. This is and will be a high-end market solution for a while. When it does come more mainstream, it will reduce waste by a lot, since it's wasteless production, and also customized for everyone (less incentive to throw away). The bigger challenges, in my opinion, are in the recycling of clothing. There's a big need for more innovation in that part because if the product loop can be closed, the biggest issues are resolved 🙂

  12. The production of clothing shouldn’t be automated. Garments should be handmade with the finest craftmanship and best materials.

  13. That stitching tech they showed sounds and looks like garbage. The stiffening is going to be a major barrier and potential sustainability/eco-friendly issue. The 3D knitting and laser distressing however, is fucking lit.

    I don't think fast-bespoke is going to go mainstream as quickly as we would like . People want things instantly and want to try things on in the stores (shopping as an experience is still something a lot of people enjoy). Going through a fitting process and waiting 4-6 weeks for delivery on goods isn't for everyone.

    I think there will be both a traditional in-store market as well as a fast-bespoke market in the near future.

  14. Being in a similar industry (upholstery) this is fascinating. I think for fashion it's still a long way off. But for fabric on furniture? Automated sewing can't be far off surely!?

  15. Mass produced customized clothing is actually a really cool idea and will offer people a lot of new opportunities for expression and creativity! I'm looking forward to it!

  16. I feel like the “it’s going to be made to order” segment was a half assed attempt at saying automating fashion wouldn’t just be used by F21, HM and other fast fashion chains to produce more disposable crap. And it also rushes far to quickly through how trends work. Trends don’t just appear suddenly and go away in the blink of an eye. It’s a cycle that could take years to go from innovators to mass market. And large fashion companies work in advance and pay lots of money for trend forecasting resources like WGSN. And they hire design teams for a reason. (And if it’s a basic like a white T shirt or blue jean, they’ll always sell no matter what.)

  17. But I want to know the potential sustainability. And automating supply chain globally puts a literally incomparable number of highly skilled and trained workers out of a job. And anyone who’s sewn anything knows it’s not just something you can automate. A simple t shirt is one thing, but try a curved or corner seam. God this just made me angry for so many reasons.

  18. i think talking about environmental and labor effects is important as well, because moving away from abusive working conditions will definitely be a good thing, but knowing the cost is important too

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