Bringing about change

The Fashtech Innovation Centre is the brainchild of Fashion Enter and Kornit Digital

On Friday, March 4, P&P editor Melanie Attlesey was invited to the opening of a first-of-its-kind, the Fashtech Innovation Centre in London. But what makes this manufacturing set-up any different?

Located on an industrial estate a short walk from Finsbury Park is the Fashtech Innovation Centre.

The building doesn’t look much from the outside, but inside visitors are transported to the future of the UK fashion and textile industry with innovative technology on display round every corner.

The centre is the brainchild of Fashion Enter, a social enterprise striving to be a centre of excellence for the fashion industry, and Kornit Digital, a manufacturer of sustainable, on-demand print technology.

Both companies share a common goal – to bring on-demand fashion and textile mass customisation back to the UK and to stop the current reliance on garment manufacturing in the Far East. The aim of the centre is to act as a training facility and manufacturing site for brands and designers, fully supported by Kornit’s direct to fabric and direct to garment digital production solutions.

Transformation

Printed fabric being fed through from the Presto S ready to be cut by the Zund laser cutter

Installed in the factory is Kornit’s Presto S direct to fabric and Atlas MAX direct to garment systems. Brands, designers and decorators are actively encouraged to visit so they can see just how these machines are transforming the UK fashion and textile industry, by utilising sustainable, on-demand digital manufacturing.

The Presto S is fully automated and can be operated by just one person. Rolls of fabric are fed through the printer and printed using Kornit’s water-based NeoPigment Robusto ink. The printed fabric is then cut into shapes for a garment using a Zund laser cutter, before these pieces are stitched together by a highly skilled machinist to create a finished garment. This whole process takes around 20 to 25 minutes. It is estimated that around 20,000 dresses a week can be made in this way using the Presto S.

The Atlas MAX enables seamless print on-demand garment decoration

The Atlas MAX printer when paired with the Kornit X automation software provides a comprehensive ‘pick to parcel to doorstep’ cycle. Printers are able to utilise the Kornit X software on their own websites to automate the print on-demand service for their customers, while brands and designers are able to tap into Kornit’s global fulfilment network to set in motion their own production print on-demand.

Being able to house and demonstrate the full end-to-end production process, from an order being created online, printed and packaged, in one facility helps Kornit and Fashion Enter showcase how on-demand printing and manufacturing can transform the fashion and textile industry in the UK. The centre serves very much as a prototype so brands, designers and decorators can see for themselves how this technology can cut down on lead times and supply chain risks by bringing production back to the UK.

Bringing about change

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, and it’s Kornit’s vision to change this. Kornit estimates that printing a single T shirt on the Atlas MAX when compared to traditional screen printing uses up to 93.8% less water, 66.57% less energy and 82.3% less greenhouse gas emissions are produced. While the Presto S uses 95.6% less water, 94.78% less energy and 83% less greenhouse gas emissions are produced. These systems offer a more sustainable option to textile printing for brands and designers looking to become environmentally-friendly.

By also manufacturing on-demand the aim is to reduce the amount of textile waste destined for landfill annually, which currently stands at 21 million tons globally.

Ronen Samuel, CEO of Kornit Digital, highlighted Kornit’s vision of a more sustainable global fashion supply chain at the grand opening of the Fashtech Innovation Centre

Speaking at the grand opening, Ronen Samuel, CEO of Kornit Digital, said: “We are really revolutionising this industry to a much better place.

“The current supply chain is not fit for today’s needs. It is still like it was 100 years ago. Brands understand that they need to change the game, both from a sustainability perspective, but also to be closer to the consumer.”

And that’s the aim of the Fashtech Innovation Centre – to shake up the UK fashion and textile industry. Whether you are a brand, apparel provider, custom fabric fulfiller, or a creative designer, the Fashtech Innovation Centre will help you achieve your print on-demand goals.

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