The opportunity cost of failing to integrate high-technology into domestic manufacturing solutions means risking the agility of domestic manufacturing to keep up with offshore pricing that domestic customers have embraced. In a world where competition is king, fashion startups often fail to get their product placed at the correct quantities and price due to lack of access to real technology solutions. Cost is a part of this, but so is access.
Some may ask, why Austin? Does the investment of $13.1M in a full digital solutions package from Gerber Technology make sense in an area that is primarily known for music and technology? Frankly, the answer is yes. In a recent white paper regarding new growth industries in Austin for potential investment, more than 1300 surveyed people self-selected as being a part of the fashion industry in the Austin metroplex. Additionally, in 2013 fashion made up $86 million in revenue generation. The City of Austin made a commitment to address this growth area and provide the needed access to technology and business development resources to build this industry.
At the Austin Community College Fashion Incubator, we are:
- Educating students and local industry on what’s technologically and logistically possible
- We are providing the catalyst for the adoption of new technology in local manufacturing facilities and startup design offices
- Training and developing a local skilled laborforce to provide workforce capacity for existing businesses and beyond
We recently trained Kristopher Stevens, the co-owner of Stitch Texas on Gerber AccuMark 2D and Gerber CutWorks. As a partner and Advisory Board member, he is teaching our AccuMark 2D course in an industry-relevant manner to our students. As an instructor for CutWorks, he immediately saw the cost-savings by learning to utilize and integrate the Z1 cutter into his workflow. For demonstration, we cut a pair of 5-pocket denim jeans in 30 seconds on the Z1 single-ply automatic cutter. The manufacturer was floored. His experienced cutter could spend a minimum of 30 minutes cutting a pair of jeans to the accuracy and precision the Z1 achieved in a matter of seconds. The labor cost savings is apparent.
Our students at the community college come from a variety of backgrounds, many with years of experience in the fashion industry but lack the exposure and access to fashion technology. This program addresses that and makes our students and local industry more competitive on a global scale.