Imagine if making clothing was as simple and practical as using a liquid and a mold. The different ways this would change the fashion industry as we know it are endless, from trends to the supply chain, things would look very different. Soon enough this won’t be something you’ll have to conjure up in your mind, it’ll be our daily reality. All courtesy of the innovations at Simplifyber, Inc.
On its journey to becoming the go-to method for fashion production, led by At One Ventures and counting with the contribution of more than ten other venture capital funds, the fashion production company has managed to raise $3.5 million USD in its seed funding round.
With a 20-plus-year career within the fashion industry, working as a fashion designer and director for brands such as Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and Alexander McQueen, Simplifyber’s co-founder and CEO, Maria Intscher-Owrang, witnessed first-hand the complexity of the development of a garment. Experiencing the difficulty of taking an idea from concept, to design, to the runway, to commercialization, and seeing the inefficiencies and waste of the process at hand, she was inspired to change how things are done and turn the industry upside down.
Taking all that she saw throughout her career, Intscher-Owrang, created a process that can remove the waste in the manufacturing process and only use totally sustainable materials. This led the 20-year industry veteran to start up Simplifyber, Inc. where soft, cotton-like biodegradable garments and footwear are created simply by injecting liquid into molds. This method removes the need for cutting, sewing, or weaving, offering the industry a fully biodegradable material formula and sustainable additive-based development process.
“I saw how additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) was disrupting nearly every other industry, but not in fashion,” said Intscher-Owrang. “I set out to find the people that could make this a reality. We discovered a way to create clothing using soft plant fibers. We start with a liquid cellulose – made in a lab, not in a mill – which is then poured on specially-designed molds and dried, eliminating fabric waste altogether and allowing on-demand, stock-free service.”
This less resource-intensive process and completely biodegradable solution for-goes 60% of the manufacturing process and reduces the 35% of waste material that the current supply chain generates. The Simplifyber method uses a 100% natural cellulose formula made from a mix of wood pulp and other plant-based materials and non-toxic additives. This combination provides the industry with a fully biodegradable product that can easily be put back into nature, or be recycled into paper or clothing.
Already developing daily wear pieces like T-shirts, the company’s goal is to substitute wovens and knits, having also already worked with HP to develop molded shoe uppers, made with natural fibers.
“With its single-step process for clothing making, Simplifyber has the potential to beat the unit economics of polyester, becoming an economically and environmentally viable solution against plastic waste,” says Laurie Menoud, Partner, At One Ventures. “We’re looking forward to partnering with the team to bring this solution to scale. We believe Simplifyber could be the apparel of the future: They are not only beautifully designed but have a low carbon footprint and are price-accessible, which is a significant differentiation from other sustainable clothing brands.”
With such exciting developments already, we’re sure Simplifyber will definitely come back on our radar soon enough. Who knows, maybe one day this will be the industry standard, influencing future fashion trends and fashion design.