Pomona, CA – California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly), has joined forces with an international alliance of clothing and technology companies to develop a factory that they claim could revolutionize apparel manufacturing in the US.
According to Cal Poly’s Apparel Merchandising and Management Department, the one-of-a-kind factory “combines e-commerce, digital production methods and innovative dyeing and printing techniques to make customized clothing in hours.”
As a result, the process at the plant,“reduces or eliminates many of the costs associated with traditional apparel manufacturing.”
The facility, located in nearby Rancho Cucamonga, can be configured to take orders from wholesale and retail customers or from consumers. Consumers can select, fit and customize outfits from online catalogs, reflecting the growing retailing trend that gives consumers greater choice through interactive technology.
The designs are received at the factory through the cloud, where the garments are made with a new technique that infuses them with a permanent color that can even be bleached safely. The garments are then shipped to the consumer in three days.
The new dying and printing process virtually eliminates water and chemical usage and the inventories that retailers traditionally carry of finished products in every style, color and size as clothing is only made on demand, while a single DVD catalog contains the virtual equivalent of the inventory needed to stock a 100,000-square-foot warehouse.
All in all, possibly increasing a manufacturer’s profits by as much as 400 percent, according to AM4U Inc., a technology development and licensing company based in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
“Ultimately, this factory will serve as a model and help revive US manufacturing, restoring higher-paid jobs and profits,” said Professor Peter Kilduff, chair of Cal Poly’s Apparel Merchandising and Management Department.
The facility – a joint project of Virtual Inventory Manufacturing Alliance, which includes AM4U, Cal Poly Pomona and several participating apparel businesses in the US and Europe – is already operational with wholesale and retail clients in Southern California and is currently awaiting regulatory approval to begin a direct-to-consumer operation.