WOVNS has a number of implications in the sustainable fashion industry. Fifty years ago people didn’t dream of throwing clothing or textiles in the garbage. Even a tea towel had value and was mended or repaired. Today, largely due to the low cost of fashion and home goods, our landfills are overflowing with textiles. How can a platform like WOVNS change the customer’s relationship with textiles?
C: Part of the problem with today's fast fashion is that people have no connection to the way that soft goods and garments are made. With custom fabric production, there's a personal narrative in its creation that fosters a deeper connection with the material. What one chooses to create with it furthers that narrative. Plus, woven fabrics have an inherent integrity and durability that knit and printed fabrics do not. We think this will make people want to hold on to their WOVNS fabric for a long time.
Another problem is the vast amount of pre-consumer waste (strike offs, prototyping, cuttings, scraps) from manufacturing. What are some of the ways WOVNS could help to limit this kind of waste?
D: What we are offering users the ability to prototype a fabric, keep it and apply it to their own products or creations, without the design necessarily going through an extended development arc before it reaches the market. Users also only create what they need; there are no bolts being inventoried in a warehouse.
You are manufacturing in the USA. Why is this important to you and what are the benefits?
D: Communication and lead times. Most people are surprised to learn that when I worked in the textile industry, I mostly worked with manufacturers in the U.S.A. That meant that I could iterate rapidly and solve problems quickly as they arose. Now that we're weaving custom fabric, manufacturing close to our customers is essential for getting orders to them quickly.
Also, we think that all areas of textiles and technology will converge, be it innovating a manufacturing process or integrating electronics, and the U.S.A still has a hold in the performance and custom sector of textiles.
There are currently customizable, on-demand platforms for printed textiles on the market but WOVNS is the first to allow for customizable woven fabrics. The difference may not be obvious to some customers. Tell us how the design and finished textiles are different with a woven than a print.
D: Unlike digital printing, weaving integrates a design into the very construction of the fabric, yielding a textile rich in both color and texture. In other words, the design is not topical; it is inherent to the material.
This has implications for how one’s digital design gets re-created as fabric. In digital printing, the translation of colors from one’s file to printed cloth is direct. In weaving, the colors in your digital design each get translated into woven structures. The interlacing of warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads, plus the ratio of warps to wefts appearing on the surface, create an appearance that approximates the colors in one’s graphic.
The power of Jacquard weaving lies in the ability to control the structure, texture and "surface" appearance of a fabric; the raising and lowering of thousands of warp threads can be controlled individually, enabling just about any design that you can dream up. The challenge arrives in having to coordinate these outputs, that is, the warp, weft, and weaves.