How fast-printing software led to fashion sustainability

© YR

Global apparel customization firm YR provides retail companies with on-demand printing technology to reduce waste in an aim to tackle the fashion sustainability issue.

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The fashion industry is one of the largest in the world, yet with such a large-scale production rate there is minimal evidence of sustainability.

Sustainability is essential to reduce the high levels of global water waste and carbon emissions disrupting the environment.

YR, which was founded in 2013, provides software built to enable retailers to create designs that meet the demand for change in the fashion supply chain.

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"With global textile production emitting 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually, which is more than international flights and maritime shipping, the challenges can seem insurmountable," Tim Williams, CEO at YR, tells Computerworld UK.

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"One of the biggest issues surrounding sustainability is that products are manufactured in bulk to keep up with current trends and subsequent consumer demand. However, as technology develops, it has become easier for businesses to efficiently manufacture clothing as and when they are required, rather than bulk-buy in anticipation of the demand."

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This is why YR launched its software, making use of direct-to-garment (DTG) printing to deliver on-demand clothing.

Global apparel customisation firm YR provides retail companies with on-demand printing technology to reduce waste in an aim to tackle the fashion sustainability issue.

The fashion industry is one of the largest in the world, yet with such a large-scale production rate there is minimal evidence of sustainability.

Sustainability is essential to reduce the high levels of global water waste and carbon emissions disrupting the environment.

YR, which was founded in 2013, provides software built to enable retailers to create designs that meet the demand for change in the fashion supply chain.

"With global textile production emitting 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually, which is more than international flights and maritime shipping, the challenges can seem insurmountable," Tim Williams, CEO at YR, tells Computerworld UK.

"One of the biggest issues surrounding sustainability is that products are manufactured in bulk to keep up with current trends and subsequent consumer demand. However, as technology develops, it has become easier for businesses to efficiently manufacture clothing as and when they are required, rather than bulk-buy in anticipation of the demand."

This is why YR launched its software, making use of direct-to-garment (DTG) printing to deliver on-demand clothing.

"Advances in technology are also allowing brands to produce apparel using far more sustainable materials. This either means that products are made to be more biodegradable so that they do not stay in landfill sites for years after or are made from recycled products."

How it works

YR’s DTG software is designed to allow instant printing and packaging of garments once customers make a choice from the retailer website.

"The order can be instantly picked, printed and packed using the YR software," Williams explains. "DTG technology is quick, literally printing directly onto a garment using environmentally friendly inks and consumables."

According to Williams, the shift to a more on-demand manufacturing process is a massive change for the fashion industry as retailers race to reduce oversupply and wastage.

"It means a move towards brands producing the final printed item closer to the consumer, eventually this will be a super-quick, hyper-local service," he adds.

Already, YR has worked with big-name brands such as Levi's and Selfridges as they invest in YR's in-store tech.

YR worked with Levi’s to roll out its print bar technology across the retailers Europe and U.S.-based stores. The print bar technology is designed to allow customers to have custom designs printed onto t-shirts and other items of clothing.

"The concept of recycling fashion is not new but there are now some real advances in technology that make recycling at scale possible," Williams says. "The idea of being able to take discarded apparel and remake it into new base materials is super exciting and would no doubt have a huge impact on demand for raw materials.

"Overall, by being on demand, brands no longer have to buy hundreds of thousands of a particular design t-shirt, dress or any other item - the item can just be made to order thanks to the YR software platform."