The fashion industry does not just have a material problem; it has a broader systemic problem that requires a holistic solution. NEFFA’s founders, Aniela Hoitink and Nicoline van Enter are trying to solve fashion’s systemic crisis. Understanding that the way we currently make garments is challenging to automate, especially sewing operations fully, the NEFFA founders have come up with a solution that could solve the problem.
No Plastics or other Harmful Chemicals are Required
With extensive experience in the apparel and footwear industry, Hoitink and Van Enter have realised that biofabricated materials grown through liquid fermentation could make sewing obsolete. And not just that: they also offer new design opportunities that were never possible before.
The Digital automated process solution, which was recently pre-launched during Biofabricate in NYC and Global Change Award in Stockholm, is done directly in 3D, using big data or body scans. Offering options that apply all kinds of parametric textures in the blink of an eye, the digital design interface makes it possible to produce apparel, footwear and fashion accessories locally and fully in 3D out of biofabricated materials such as mycelium or algae. It is also worth noting that the manufacturing method does not require high heat or pressure, so the moulds can be like blisters.
Explaining further, “Robots apply the biomass around the moulds, allowing for various material thicknesses throughout a product. This way, additional reinforcement is not needed, so besides eliminating cutting waste, it also minimises the number of separate parts that are required.
The material is then dried and remains flexible yet firm. The entire process, from growing the material to having the final products, takes only seven days, which is a dazzling speed compared to fashion’s current complex supply chain. In addition, no plastics or other harmful chemicals are required to make products”.
The Future Has Arrived
Championing next-gen biomaterials like mycelium created to offer next-gen design opportunities, the founders work with mycelium, called MycoTEX. Also, NEFFA works with other biomaterials that can be grown through liquid fermentation, such as algae or collagen.
No longer a speculative fantasy, NEFFA will later this year present their first robotic manufacturing cell together with a renowned German machine building company based on MycoTEX. They work with existing robotic systems already used in the fashion industry, so companies do not have to invest heavily in new equipment to implement their method.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.