The Future of Micro Factories in Fashion Manufacturing

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Are you wondering what the next big thing in fashion manufacturing might be? If so, you’re in the right place! Today, we’re diving deep into the concept of micro factories—small, highly efficient production units that are revolutionizing the way we think about creating and manufacturing fashion. Let’s explore some key takeaways from an insightful discussion on this topic, featuring experts from Epson, ABMT, and RMIT.

I know quite a bit about micro factories as we have had quite a bit of involvement in this new trend through collaborations over the last 4yrs with our sister company Pattern room. 

If you don’t know about Pattern Room. Pattern Room is a world’s first online catalogue of digital patterns in DXF and Ai format, perfect for a micro factory. We have partnered with the likes of Epson, Mimaki, Klaverik, Kornit, Greentex and many more on a few occasions. In fact, Pattern Room will be showing in 2 weeks at Fespa Amsterdam on a micro factory display.

Micro factories are not just a smaller version of traditional manufacturing setups; they represent a fundamental shift towards more customizable, on-demand production. Unlike conventional factories that rely heavily on labor-intensive processes, micro factories utilize advanced technologies such as digital printing, laser cutting, and automated sewing machines. This allows for the efficient creation of one-off garments or very small production runs, significantly reducing the human labor required and hence the production costs.

The beauty of micro factories lies in their flexibility and efficiency. They have been particularly transformative in the custom sportswear sector, enabling brands to quickly produce unique items without the need for large stock inventories. This approach not only minimizes waste but also allows for rapid response to market trends and consumer demands.

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Advanced technology is at the heart of micro factory operations. During the Fashion Week talk, the significance of Epson’s printing technology was emphasized as a key enabler for local manufacturing to thrive. The discussion highlighted the use of full fabric printers like Epson’s Mona Lisa, which can print on yardage of fabrics on demand, although it does involve a fair amount of labor in managing fabric changes.

Investing in such technology, including digital printers, laser cutters, and specialized sewing machines, comes with high upfront costs. However, these investments allow for a significant reduction in the labor needed for production, shifting the focus to managing and overseeing machinery. This technology-centric approach is crucial for the scalability and flexibility of micro factories, allowing them to adapt quickly to changing market needs.

One of the major challenges in adopting micro factory models is the need for highly skilled machinists capable of handling a variety of tasks, from operating advanced machinery to crafting entire garments. The industry currently faces a shortage of such multi-skilled labor, as many machinists specialize in specific aspects of garment creation. Upskilling existing workers is critical but requires time and investment.

My favourite quote of the talk pointed out that for manufacturers to invest in new machinery and training, there needs to be a commitment from brands. This mutual commitment ensures that manufacturers have the security of long-term contracts, encouraging them to upgrade their capabilities. This is especially challenging for small fashion labels, underscoring the need for collaborative efforts in upskilling the workforce and embracing micro factory models.

Micro factories offer a compelling case for local manufacturing, emphasizing the benefits of small, flexible production units that can adapt to economic fluctuations and industry trends. The ability to produce on demand reduces the need for large inventories and cuts down on waste, providing a more sustainable alternative to traditional manufacturing models.

The comparison between local and offshore manufacturing was highlighted as a crucial consideration for brands. The upcoming masterclass on the true cost of offshore vs. onshore production aims to provide insights into this complex decision-making process, helping brands evaluate the advantages and disadvantages based on factual comparisons.

Micro factories represent a groundbreaking approach to fashion manufacturing, emphasizing the importance of technology, flexibility, and skilled labor. By leveraging advanced machinery and fostering skilled talent, the fashion industry can achieve more sustainable, efficient, and customizable production. The move towards local, micro-factory-based manufacturing offers a promising path for the industry, balancing economic priorities with environmental responsibilities. As we look to the future, the continued evolution and adoption of micro factories will undoubtedly shape the landscape of fashion manufacturing.


Join me on Wednesday 13th March for our-

True Cost of Offshore v Onshore Masterclass

Have you ever wondered what if it actually is cheaper to manufacture overseas, or are you better off with local production?

If you want to know the Facts about what it ACTUALLY costs to make your product then you NEED to attend this Masterclass

  • Are you unsure what to do first and how to decide on where to manufacture.
  • Have you tried overseas manufacturers but the samples you got back are not right and you are wondering if you should persist.
  • Have you spoken to a local manufacturer, but you feel it is too hard and you could not work out the overall cost.
  • You have a business and have been producing offshore, but the costs are so unpredictable.
  • Are you aware of the local desire for locally made products, but you are not sure where to start or if it is actually financially worth it.
  • Are you interested in simply understanding if the rumours on costs and blowouts from offshore manufacturers are actually true.

I want you to know you have found the right place.

Over the last 30yrs I have worked in the industry, I have experience both local and offshore manufacturing and I want to show you the facts.

Sample Room has a dedicated team who understand where you are at and how to help you understand what is involved in creating products and launching your label.

Join the waitlist for the ‘True Cost of Offshore V Onshore Masterclass’ which is valued at $300, today!