New York-based tech company Resonance announced the opening of its first Stateside sewing micro-facility in New York City.
The 300-square-foot sewing facility is housed at Pier 59 in Chelsea Piers, conveniently adjacent to Resonance’s existing headquarters. Bolstered by Resonance’s proprietary technology launched in 2015, the facility’s 12 sewing stations have the capacity to create hundreds of garments on-demand per week.
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While not the first automated clothing maker in the mix, Resonance joins a growing vanguard of on-demand clothing producers aiming to make “Made in the USA” of value again as the supply chain gets a data-driven makeover.
“Resonance, along with the future of sustainable fashion, hinge on two things: no inventory and complete transparency,” said Resonance chairman and cofounder Lawrence Lenihan. “Now, it’s possible for a fashion brand to eliminate inventory – that is, the need to stock products to sell at some future date — as its supply chain holy grail. Every piece of clothing we make is created on-demand with complete transparency into the material, water, dye, etc. used.”
Digital printing and certified fabrics are what gives the process another edge. “Without adopting our level of hyper transparency, it won’t be possible for any company to truly substantiate their sustainability efforts or lack thereof,” Lenihan added.
Some components — cutting robots for one — are mechanically automated as an exception to the entire process being hands-free. Lenihan maintains that all workflow is controlled through machine learning-based technology (including process routing and vision systems for pattern uptake). As for sewing, Lenihan said, “We are in the early stage of automating various parts of sewing with robotics, but as of now sewing is a primarily manual process.”
“The U.S. has lost one million apparel manufacturing jobs in the last 50 years. These jobs won’t come back by just wishing it — every step in the value chain to create fashion needs to be reimagined,” reiterated Lenihan, whose emphasis is on a data-driven approach. And with the company’s accelerator for Black creatives that launched last year as one example, environmental and social values steer the company, too.
Already, brands like Tucker by Gaby Basora and The Kit, by designer and Project Runway alum Daniel Vosovic, have partnered with Resonance, and the company has sights on scaling further.
Resonance hopes to replicate the learnings of its first facility, opening hundreds more sew production facilities nationwide. Without providing cost estimates, Lenihan said Resonance has the upper hand, if not comparable costs to outsourcing, by automating the overhead processes.
“If you factor in possible tariffs and penalties for polluting our environment,” he said, “we are confident that Resonance’s system costs less for designers overall.”