Home Fashion products Simplifyber: “We are fundamentally changing the entire shoe and apparel manufacturing process” – vegconomist

Simplifyber: “We are fundamentally changing the entire shoe and apparel manufacturing process” – vegconomist

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Simplifyber does not create normal clothing. The clothes and shoes made by this New York brand are not only 3d printed and “created in a lab, not a factory,” but are also 100% biodegradable.

“2023 is going to be a big year for us… we’re going to be working with brands to produce the first ever 3D molded natural fiber shoes”

It is a fascinating area of ​​innovation, knowing that the fashion industry is the third most polluting industry, responsible for more CO2 emissions than the maritime industry and the aeronautical industry combined, and which has sparked at Simplifibyer a first renewed interest from investors. millions this summer.

© Simplifyber

We were delighted to have the opportunity to speak with the CEO CEO Maria Intscher-Owrangwhose career spanning more than 20 years as a fashion designer and manager includes stints at major fashion houses including Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and Alexander McQueen.

What’s the story behind Simplifyber?
Before launching Simplifyber with my co-founder, Phil Cohen, I was a fashion designer for 24 years, working for designer brands in Europe and the United States. For the most part I have worked for high fashion brands on runway collections, but I also designed for two very early “eco-luxury” fashion companies (Linda Loudermilk and Edun) from 2006 onwards.

“I decided to do something about it”

I learned a lot from those experiences and for years followed the innovations that were happening in that space. I’ve seen many cool hardware solutions, but not really new and more efficient ways of making things…I thought this would happen as the world started to embrace 3D printing in other industries, but it didn’t. was just not the case in fashion.

So I decided to do something about it – and that’s when I met with my co-founder and our CTO, and we came up with a plan. We’ve created a way to make clothing and accessories from biodegradable materials in a revolutionary new additive process – a system we call “Simplifyber”.

Maria with G1 black white vests by Mofield_John
© Simplifyber

How are your products made?
Our products start with natural fibers in a liquid and we use this liquid to create 3D shapes directly, without the need for yarn or fabric. The garments and accessories we make are bonded together at the molecular level and formed using molds.

They are very different from traditional products because we are fundamentally changing the whole process of making shoes and apparel – our materials never need to exist as a flat fabric that comes together to create a shape – we let’s just make the shape directly from fibers.

Tell us about the green benefits of Simplifyber.
Our products are biodegradable and consume fewer resources than traditional clothing and footwear. The waste footprint is low as our materials are biodegradable and recyclable, and we remove 60% of the industrial steps involved in manufacturing garments and accessories – so there are energy and emissions savings associated with this . We also eliminate the shipping that usually occurs between spinning, weaving and assembly.

Pilot shoe SIMPLIFYBER
© Simplifyber

Looking back on your 20+ year career in fashion, what are the main challenges facing fashion brands in terms of sustainability?
The biggest challenge is the cost. Sustainable fabrics cost more than comparable standard fabrics – and because of this, many brands won’t use sustainable fabric, or at least not for most of their collections. Price-driven brands – especially fast fashion companies – are simply not likely to adopt a solution that doesn’t match their price, and unfortunately that includes very, very large brands that produce multi-million pieces of clothing. every year.

Another challenge is the perception among designers that they would have to compromise on beauty or performance if they opted for something durable; however, over the past two years I have seen this perception begin to change.

What do you think is the reason for the low adoption of 3D printing technology in fashion compared to other industries? What can be done to fix it?
3D printing has not taken off in fashion due to the limitation of materials available to print. Clothing should be pleasant on the skin and natural fibers are the most comfortable to wear. That’s why we started with natural fibers.

Members of the SIMPLIFYBER team on site
© Simplifyber

Can we expect brand collaborations?
Yes, but we won’t announce who it will be until just before launch…

How will Simplifyer use funds from the recent $3.5M seed funding round?
We actually raised $4.2 million in our recent funding round, and we’re using it to expand our tech team, buy equipment for our lab, and prepare for commercialization and scale.

What are your goals for 2023?
2023 is going to be a big year for us – we will have an expanded palette of materials to offer customers and we will collaborate with brands to produce the first 3D molded natural fiber shoes ever released.

SIMPLIFYBER type 1 interior diag gray
© Simplifyber

What do you hope to see in the future of fashion, and do you have any messages for fashion houses / clothing retailers?
I’m an eternal optimist, so I see the future of fashion being less resource-intensive, fully circular (with recycling and biodegradable materials) and production moving closer to where the designers and their customers are, rather than ‘abroad.

“The old adage ‘it’s all been done before’ just isn’t true – we’ve only scratched the surface”

We can make fashion better reflect the values ​​of the people who wear it. As for a message to fashion houses, I would saythe old adage “it’s all been done” just isn’t true – we’ve only scratched the surface.