A knitwear lifestyle start-up, 22 Factor, powered by Cobalt Fashion, a leading knitwear specialist, has unveiled an on-demand 3D knitting service offering. The service is an eco-friendly digital approach, revolutionising traditional knitwear manufacturing and allowing designers to produce garments in smaller quantities and minimise excessive production.

The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry globally. A minimum 39 million tonnes of clothing are discarded each year, of which only 10 per cent is recycled and 8 per cent is re-used for second-hand clothing. The majority (57 per cent) is sent to landfills.

22 Factor uses upcycled virgin yarn from luxury fashion brands to create premium quality knitwear at a fraction of the price. Its on-demand 3D knitting service offering features high-definition virtual sampling and simulation technology, allowing designers to visualise their designs and create detailed prototypes down to the exact colour, style and material, and all entirely online, without creating a single physical sample. As an intrapreneurial venture of Cobalt Fashion, 22 Factor leverages Shima Seiki’s Wholegarment knitting technology, enabling designers to produce three-dimensional seamless garments, which provide a comfortable stretch with greater stress distribution and range of motion, while also optimising design, drape, and fit. The production process is shortened by 92 per cent from a typical 12-month period to less than one month, while at the same time always maintaining the quality of the garment, according to a press release by the company.

22 Factor is experimenting with the technology via an on-demand 3D knitting configurator available on its website. Initially targeted at an increasing number of small- to mid-size brands and independent designers with lower production orders, the service gives designers the tools and flexibility to produce the exact quantity of stock based on their actual needs in a shorter period of time, without needing to worry about excess stock or markdowns.

“At 22 Factor, we have a role in driving the positive change we want to see in this industry. We constantly look for new ways, namely by using technology, to optimise our production process for a smarter and more sustainable supply chain. On-demand manufacturing helps to tackle the issue of wastage in the fashion industry and we aim to expand this service to bigger players in the future to drive mass adoption of the technology,” Dorothy Pun, founder of 22 Factor and vice president of Cobalt Fashion said.