Is This Sewing Robot The Future Of Fashion?

by MR Magazine Staff

Despite great strides in manufacturing for the automobile and aviation industries in the last few decades, apparel factories remain relatively unchanged. They just moved from the U.S. to the other side of the Pacific where low labor costs helped meet consumer demands for more inexpensive goods. According to a recent study by the United States Fashion Industry Association, 43% of American fashion companies rank rising production or sourcing costs as their greatest or second-greatest business challenge. While Zornow doubts the U.S. will ever be a net apparel exporter again (“That ship has sailed,” he says), he’s hopeful that at least a portion of manufacturers could return once they recognize automation’s strength. “I think that automation will be an important tool for the burgeoning reshoring movement by helping domestic factories compete with offshore factories’ lower labor costs,” he says. “When automation becomes a competitive alternative, a big part of its appeal will be how many headaches it relieves for the industry.” Sewbo is only six months old, but Zornow says he is already fielding dozens of inquiries from overseas factories, where almost all of the clothes on U.S. backs are now made. Domestic apparel manufacturing fell from 50% in 1994 to roughly 3% in 2015, reports the American Apparel & Footwear Association. That means 97% of clothing sold in the U.S. is imported. Read more at Fast Company.