Though we might take it for granted today, knitting has been around for thousands of years, with the first known fragment discovered in the Indus River Valley. Now, with mass production and styles going obsolete in a season, we have no shortage of ill-fitting, badly-made, 'throwaway' fashion.
Aiming to nip this wasteful modern tendency in the bud, Asheville, North Carolina-based design entrepreneurs Grace Gouin and Mariano deGuzman founded Appalatch in 2011, an outdoor apparel company that offers clothing that is ethically-made in the U.S.A.
Besides their usual collection of durable and locally-made socks, throws, shirts and bags, they are now launching what they call the world's first 3D-printed sweater to be available on a mass scale, which will be custom-fitted to each customer, and made with 100 percent American Rambouillet wool, and American-made notions (buttons, zippers, etc).
There's a certain sensible, rugged appeal to Appalatch's approach to garments (no doubt inspired by Gouin's background in a Quaker school). Calling their new venture a "fad-proof" sweater that will be made to endure, the designers explain that with conventional manufacturing techniques, up to 30 percent of the fabric is wasted. With the Appalatch model, each sweater is made to order with the best quality materials so that customers "buy less, but wear it longer," as in the olden days:
Once upon a time, custom fitted garment were the only option! People visited their local tailor, got measured, picked out the fabric -- a few weeks later, they picked up their clothes, totally customized to their body and preferences. These clothes were exceptionally durable, made locally with the best materials and empowered the people who made them. Our approach is the same except that we can create your custom sized sweater in an hour, and you never have to leave the comfort of your home.
As Gouin and deGuzman explain in their video pitch, they already have done the groundwork of establishing a "rock-solid" American supply chain; the Kickstarter campaign is to fund the next stage of the business -- obtaining the right equipment to make what they believe will be the perfectly-fitting sweater. To find out more, check out the Appalatch website and Kickstarter campaign.