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Radical alternative from Simplifyber

Additive manufacturing technology to bring economically competitive biodegradable garments to market.

22nd August 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  New York City

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

New York-based Simplifyber has raised $3.5 million in seed funding to develop its method of creating fully-moulded garment and shoe uppers directly from a cellulose-based liquid.

The company’s process replaces traditional spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing with a sustainable, less resource-intensive process and fully biodegradable solution – cutting out 60% of the steps and 35% of the materials in the fashion supply chain that end up as waste.

“I saw how additive manufacturing – 3D printing – was disrupting nearly every other industry, but not fashion and set out to find the people who could make this a reality,” said Simplifyber co-founder and CEO Maria Intscher-Owrang, who has had a 20+ year career as a fashion designer and director at leading fashion houses, including Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Dirk Bikkembergs, Edun and Vera Wang. “We have discovered a way to create clothing using soft plant fibres. We start with a liquid cellulose – made in a lab, not in a mill – which is then poured onto specially-designed moulds and dried, eliminating fabric waste altogether and allowing on-demand, stock-free service.”

Simplifyber’s cellulose formula is 100% natural, derived from a combination of wood pulp, other plant-based materials and non-toxic additives, so the result is a fully biodegradable product that can be easily returned to nature, recyclable as paper and as clothing.

The funding is led by At One Ventures, with participation from Techstars, Heritage Group Ventures, The Helm, W Fund, Jetstream Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Refashiond Ventures, CapitalX Ventures, Keeler Investments Group and others.

“With its single-step process for clothing making, Simplifyber has the potential to beat the unit economics of polyester, becoming an economically and environmentally viable solution against plastic waste,” said Laurie Menoud, At One Ventures partner. “We’re looking forward to partnering with the team to bring this solution to scale. We believe Simplifyber could be the apparel of the future – the products are not only beautifully designed but have a low carbon footprint and are price-accessible, which is a significant differentiation from other sustainable clothing brands.”

With its manufacturing of daily wear items such as t-shirts, Simplifyber aims to replace wovens and knits, which together represent a $25 billion market globally. Additionally, the company has collaborated on a pilot with HP to create moulded shoe uppers, also from a custom formula derived from natural fibres.

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