- California-based Unspun, a fashion and technology company, received $14 million in new Series A funding to bolster its 3D weaving machine Vega, which makes woven products on demand
- The machines can weave a pair of pants in about 10 minutes directly from yarn, according to a news release sent to Fashion Dive. The tech could allow brands to set up localized and automated production, which would reduce transport cost and emissions without increasing the waste problem, the company said in the release.
- In the coming months, Unspun plans to open a “micro-factory” in Oakland, California, to demonstrate the effectiveness of its production and serve as its new HQ.
This new technology could help create a more circular, automated supply chain with zero inventory, said a spokesperson, who added that producing in smaller quantities could allow brands to react to market demands and lessen inventory demands. Unspun is developing products and manufacturing techniques that allow garments to be deconstructed back into yarns and re-woven into new products.
Initial brand partnerships will be produced out of the soon-to-open Oakland facility. The release touted several “multi-million dollar contracts” with partners to be announced in the coming months.
“In these early stages, we're looking for large brands who are committed to taking big strides towards the next generation of sustainable [and]intentional manufacturing,” a spokesperson said in an email to Fashion Dive. “Our very first microfactory in Oakland is well-suited for brands eager to explore on-shore production, and we're focusing all our first partnerships on woven pants products.”
In the future, the company plans to bring the new tech into brand partners’ existing production facilities to scale up its volume, a spokesperson said. The company’s goal in the long term is to localize the 3D weaving micro-factory model anywhere that has an infrastructure for delivery.
“A key advantage of a simplified, automated, and localized manufacturing process like Vega is that products for NYC can be made in NYC, and that tiny island in the Philippines can now be self-sufficient with its own factory,” the spokesperson said. “Additionally, the small footprint of these all-in-one Vega microfactories can easily fit into existing commercial warehouses.”
The spokesperson said Vega was built, cost-wise, “on-par” with traditional cut-and-sew manufacturing costs. The company didn’t specify what the exact costs and pricing of this tool would be.
As it creates more micro-factories, Unspun hopes to create entry-level manufacturing jobs, allowing career development for employees to become operators. Other roles could include operations, product finishing, quality control, fulfillment and factory management. Training employees to use Vega would take 1 to 2 weeks, the spokesperson said.
The funding round was led by Lowercarbon Capital and also included climate capital, SOSV, Signia Ventures and MVP Ventures.
Unspun’s first product was a custom-fit denim label that used the no-inventory business model and uses 3D weaving. Unspun was founded in 2017.