Manufacturing - the nuts and bolts of how a product comes to fruition – is high on the agenda at Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE), which offers designers and businesses in-house production advice, connecting them with factories and specialist suppliers. Anna Ellis, CFE’s Production Manager, who has worked for the likes of Ralph Lauren, The Gap, Debenhams, and FashTech Project Manager Ishwari Thopte talk manufacturing ahead of Manufacturing the Future – CFE's bi-annual trade show and FashTech Meet-Up on 3rd April.
CFE’s bi-annual manufacturers trade show offers emerging designers and brands the opportunity to connect with London-based manufacturers who are willing to work in small batches, and with specialists working across embroidery, pattern-cutting and more.
“On demand production is changing product life cycles and helping brands reduce waste. Digital customisation tools make for a better user experience and offer a better fit and choice,” comments Thopte. “There is also a real push towards sustainable standards within the industry, which technology can do a lot to improve - from blockchain to 3D developments in CAD/CAM software.”
The remit of the show has grown to include tech-based manufacturing services like 3D shoe designing service Solely Original, which provides personalised made-to-measure women’s shoes that are designed online. Using their innovative 3D fitting sock and foot scanner, they capture the features of an individual’s foot and create custom made shoes that fit perfectly.
Event attendees will also have the chance to see other tech exhibitors, such as ethical manufacturer Fashion Enter. The company uses a connected smart system that allows designers to document the whole journey of a garment – from sampling all the way to delivery. The Fashion Enter’s Galaxius digital system lets businesses have complete transparency with retailers and consumers by letting them see exactly what garment is being made and where.
Unlike other trade shows, which usually specialise in one area, CFE's Manufacturing the Future spans textiles, production tech and embellishment to accommodate the many specialist skills that tend to be outsourced by small brands and raise awareness that the organisation offers these services in small batches. “Micro-factories are seen as the future of garment manufacturing. With the micro-factory, you can design a garment in the morning, and collect the finished product in the afternoon. The micro-factory uses body scanning software to capture data and measurements, CAD software to design and create patterns or AR to visualise the garment on screen,” explains Ellis.
The day will finish off with the latest CFE FashTech Meet Up – the organisation’s popular evening events bringing together the community to hear more from industry experts.
A confirmed speaker for the evening event is Carys Roberts, Chief Economist and Head of the Centre for Economic Justice at IPPR, the UK’s leading progressive think tank. Carys’ published research spans a range of economic topics, including automation, work, gender and wealth inequality. ‘Having the meet-up after the tradeshow gives us the opportunity to expand the conversation around how technology is impacting fashion manufacturing and invite more people to participate in it,” says Thopte. “It’s hard to gauge individual conversations that people have during the tradeshow and we always use current topics to inspire our FashTech meetup content. It was thus a no-brainer to combine the two and use the meetup as a networking as well as a learning opportunity."
The best part? It’s all free to attend, so grab your ticket now and get ready for some brilliant insight into the future of the industry.
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