Concept: Japan’s industrial machine manufacturer SHIMA SEIKI has unveiled the world’s first WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine that can produce one entire piece of garment in one go. It has also launched a subscription-based design software APEXFiz, which helps apparel companies to create a digital twin of actual design to be fed into the WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine.

Nature of Disruption: WHOLEGARMENT knitwear combines SHIMA SEIKI’s APEXFiz software to produce an entire garment, which includes arms, body and collar, on a single machine using a single thread. Traditionally, all these parts of a garment would be produced separately and then sewn together in the next phase of the manufacturing process. Moreover, garments can be custom-made based on an individual’s body measurements. The APEXFiz software can be used to create simulations of garments to be manufactured, which in turn can be used as virtual samples that can replace actual samples in the design evaluation phase. The WHOLEGARMENT knitwear can also execute changeovers in knit patterns, textures and materials. For instance, clients can add soil-resistant yarns for collars or quick-dry material for under the arms. The knitting machine is adopted by brands, including John Smedly, Fast Retailing, Paul Stuart and Baycrew’s Group.

Outlook: Typical method of stitching a garment is a tedious task and consumes a lot of time to plan, design, sample and manufacture the outfit. Additionally, the entire process is carried out in phases, which can lead to wastage of raw materials. On the contrary, SHIMA SEIKI’s WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine can address two of the biggest challenges for manufacturers such as the waste of raw material and the availability of a skilled workforce.

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