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May 22, 2019

Missouri factory to create “supply chain of the future”

By Hannah Abdulla

A high-tech flat-bed manufacturing facility which uses 3D technology in St Louis, Missouri, is to start production later this year with the aim of bringing textile manufacturing back to the US.

Founded by fashion executives and innovators John Elmuccio and Jon Lewis, Evolution St Louis was created to strengthen the fashion and high-tech knitting industries in America.

The new high-tech manufacturing facility, located in the Grand Center Arts District, has been hailed as creating the supply chain of the future by its founders and will utilise 3D solutions and complete garment seamless-knitting technology.

The US$5m initial project has involved a broad range of partnerships and collaborations with companies and organisations, including elected leaders, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, St Louis Economic Development Corp, Saint Louis Fashion Fund and German knitting machine manufacturer Stoll GmbH.

Stoll Germany is supplying the project with 300 flatbed knitting machines over the next three years.

Evolution St. Louis said the investment will put the location “on the map as a destination for advanced manufacturing and production.”

Gary Wassner, CEO of Hilldun Corporation, said: “You can’t imagine how many brands come to me and have sourcing issues. Knitwear is something we have not been able to produce in the United States for at least 30 years. The future of fashion and apparel manufacturing in St Louis is what they make of it. The opportunity is unlimited.”

Elmuccio added: “This facility will revitalise the knit sector, strengthen ‘Made in USA’ fashion, and create good-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs in St. Louis. We want to build the supply chain of the future.”

Evolution St. Louis said it would work with major brands, boutique designers and emerging, direct-to-consumer fashion entrepreneurs to help them reshore production and with emerging brands and designers that often have difficulty sourcing overseas because they don’t have the ability to scale.

Juliana Simon, director of production, research and development for Cushnie, said: “In an increasingly competitive fashion market, this is exactly the kind of manufacturing facility we need to meet the needs of the changing industry. This facility will help fashion brands and retailers react to customer demand and new trends by using cutting-edge technology and locating production in the United States to shorten the supply chain.”

The facility is expected to create 50 to 60 jobs within the first three years of operation with additional jobs as it expands.

Construction is already underway at the 32,000sq ft facility and machines will be installed by the end of August. Production is expected to begin later this year.

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