Digitally printed textiles: what is it and how do I do it?

Time and location: 2:15 - 3:30pm, HQ Raleigh

Join co-founder Stephen Fraser for the story of Spoonflower, a digital textile printing company.  Before launching custom wallpaper, gift wrap and decals, Spoonflower was the first company to make it possible for individuals to create, print and sell their own fabric designs. Founded in May 2008 by two Internet geeks who had crafty wives but knew nothing about textiles, Spoonflower's community now numbers around 1,000,000 individuals who use their own fabric to make curtains, quilts, clothes, bags, furniture, dolls, pillows, framed artwork, costumes, banners and more.

Spoonflower's marketplace offers the largest collection of independent fabric designers in the world. The site has been mentioned in the New York Times, Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Vogue, Martha Stewart Weddings, CRAFT, ApartmentTherapy, and many other terrific publications and blogs.

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Retail and boutiques: what buyers and customers are looking for

Time and location: 3:45 - 5:00pm, HQ Raleigh

How can an emerging designer get their product sold in a boutique? What are buyers / owners looking for when they seek out new designers to sell? Join this panel discussion among successful boutique owners who think what you wear matters and learn more about what it takes to leave an impression and gain a new market for your product. 

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Natural dyeing: where are we now?

Time and location: 3:45 - 5:00pm, Hagersmith

Where are things in the natural dyeing spectrum? How far is it from a commercial reality? Join this session for a dual presentation.  First, a 'state of the union' presentation discussing where things are in the industry, what brands / companies are using natural dyes, and new concepts within the field. Second, an exploration of the viability of natural dyes as a commercial system (as opposed to craft) through one local company's experience.

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The Future is Now! (Trends and Technologies in Supply Chains, Manufacturing, Sourcing, Retailing, and Shopping)

Time and Location: 10:45am - 12:15pm, HQ Raleigh

Technologies have advanced and now more industries than ever are shifting to digital supply chain strategies.  And that includes the ability to ship products before they are manufactured – because it is more efficient, more flexible, more sustainable, and more profitable.  Just as important is delivering merchandise that consumers want as the product development cycle becomes a continuous process.

The advancements in technology have allowed consumers to use the internet and smart phones to “shop” before they buy.  They still buy mostly in brick and mortar stores, but they shop in many different ways.  And, with the combination of personal avatars and QR codes, even shopping in the stores is changing.

Shoppers will be able to use their personal avatars, generated from a body scan, to shop in the store on an interactive mirror or at home through cloud computing.  Digital styling advice will be given to recommend colors based on skin tones and styles based on 3D shape analysis.  Other recommendations such as hair style, finger nail length, and accessories are also available.

Rising labor costs and rising transportation costs have also caused U.S. Brands and Retailers to begin rethinking their Sourcing strategies.   Re-Shoring, Near Shoring, and Back Shoring are terms being used to describe the shift that is taking place.  With the return of manufacturing to the Western hemisphere, a renewed interest in robotics and factory automation is also impacting the design of the facilities that will be producing garments and related textile products.  And, “Additive” is the new buzz in advanced manufacturing systems.

The key is adopting the right supply chain strategy, implementing the appropriate technologies and logistics, and changing the thinking of management and workers.  Systems are already available that allow products to be created, sold, marketed, and delivered in digital form.  Attend this presentation shows how such technologies as virtual dressing, waterless dyeing, 3D printing, and Robotic automation will play an important role in the movement towards a more sustainable supply chain for the fashion industry.    

Speaker: Dr. Mike Fralix, [TC]²

Sharp-dressed Men: The Future of Menswear - Panel Discussion

Time and Location: 2:15 - 3:30pm, Hagersmith

There is a growing market opportunity to address the half of the population who have gotten little attention from fashion in the recent past: men. An increasing number of retailers - both online and bricks and mortar - have recognized that men have style too and are meeting this market need with curated hand-crafted, and / or responsibly-made goods. From high-quality everyday wear to classic accessories to tailored suits, the South in particular is seeing a resurgence of companies geared toward the modern man of taste. Hear from local experts on all things 'manful' and the future of menswear in this panel discussion.

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Textile and Apparel Manufacturing in North Carolina - Panel Discussion

Time and location: 10:45am - 12:15pm, Hagersmith

Are you ready to start working with a cut and sew manufacturer to scale production?  Is your business starting to grow, but you are having difficulty figuring out a path to get to seven figures in sales (how to substantially increase sales)?   What resources are available to source material and do every step of the production process in North Carolina?

Hear from Molly Hemstreet who is the founder and general manager of Opportunity Threads- a worker owned cut and sew company, and one of the founders of the Carolina Textile District-which is creating a comprehensive network to help entrepreneurs make their product in North Carolina. Grace Gouin, one of the co-founders of Appalatch, which launched last year and had one of the most successful fashion related kickstarted projects, will discuss how she works with Opportunity Threads as a production partner and what she is doing to build her business. The discussion will be moderated by Nathan Rothstein, co-founder of Project Repat, and 627 Ventures, which is working to help apparel brands go from ‘six figure in sales per year to seven figures.’

Grace, Molly and Nathan will discuss the importance of collaboration and building trust down the supply chain to create businesses that make an environmental, social and economic impact.

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