033 – Pete Santora of SOFTWEAR Automation – Robots and Bananas

Autonomous sewn good worklines for home hoods, footwear and apparel…

Pete Santora, Chief Commercial Officer for SOFTWEAR Automation (an Atlanta-based machine vision and robotics startup), joins “Fashion Is Your Business” hosts Pavan Bahl and Marc Raco along with guest host Veronika Harbick (CEO, Co-founder & 3D Knitting Programmer for Thursday Finest) in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Harbick also offers an announcement about her company. (Santora’s profile)

Genesis with DARPA, robots vs. jobs, Made in USA, and finding your wife in Whole Foods

Santora reveals the genesis of the company, being started by DARPA, and in accordance with the Berry Amendment, requiring the Department of Defense to give procurement preference to domestically produced, manufactured, or home-grown products. Giving attention to the fact that manufacturers are aging out of seamstresses, the growing need for automation in sewing, and the new the ability to scale the creation of goods, anywhere in the world, not just where you can find labor. How apparel manufacturing is manufacturing, fielding questions about loss of jobs, automation vs. robots, and fighting a cloud of fear about robots. How the majority of labor will not be replaced for decades, robots are just tools, and a real timeline of change and adaptation of new set of tools. The requirement to be in the US for SOFTWEAR, and how that stance is working, and bringing manufacturing here, the challenges of change because of generational people and legacy thinking, and how they can be slow to adapt. The tipping point of sustainability is at hand, and personal concerns vs. corporate concerns. Plus, snack time inspires a story of Santora meeting his wife in Whole Foods, his time as a professional soccer player, consuming bananas to play sports — and a droid makes an appearance in the studio.

How the SEWBOTS work, what a brand is, and deconstructing the automation chain

Being a ten-year-old startup with 8 years of R and D, focusing on how to survive as a company, using technology to build a company that works no matter the economic climate, and Alli Baba’s gigantic technology fund as an indication that something major taking place. How the SEWBOT technology works, the way it was conceived coming fro professor, the role of Georgia Tech in wearables with the first wearable tech shirt and much of the IP around wearable tech. Accomplishing proof of concept for machine vision, how goods go through entire process fully, allowing on demand and local production. Determining what a brand is these days, what the pieces are. The need to make in America while keeping quality, implanting sustainability and remaining competitive, and losing the guilt of not buying Made in America. Plus, the Sourcing Summit, having the job discovering how the company could fail, and deconstructing the automation chain to make sure brands can make goods the way they want to while keeping it sustainable.

Soccer, droids, and why kids should run toward robotics

Personal questions with Off the Grid cover remote control airplane assembly, and not getting it to work. Being crushed, joining a robotics club, soccer teams and the profound unbalance of Italy not making the soccer playoffs, women’s soccer vs. men’s soccer, why the U.S. doesn’t have a style, soccer tennis, a robotic film costar, and automation integrating with the lives of kids. Also, running towards robotics, and a desire to meet crazy people.

Thursday Finest

Plus, a special announcement from Veronika Harbick about a new chapter for Thursday Finest.

032 – Stacy Flynn – Shapeshifting Materials with Three Beakers and a Dream

Transforming textile waste into pristine new fiber at a molecular level…

Stacy Flynn, CEO/Co-founder of EVRNU (fiber technology transforms textile waste into pristine new fiber. Evrnu has invented the only regenerative fiber made from post-consumer textile waste) joins “Fashion Is Your Business” hosts Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez, and Marc Raco at the 2017 WEAR Conference in San Francisco. Powered by Sennheiser. (Flynn’s profile)

A wake up call, impacting the system’s lynch pin, and a prototype

Flynn shares how working in a cloud of pollution gave her a wake up call, realizing a generation of kids who don’t see blue sky, realizing she was linked to the cause of the problem, and how 90% of all clothing is made from clothing or polyester, and we throw away 14 million tons of clothing waste a year in the US alone. She discusses the goal of taking waste and turning it into high quality fiber, impacting the lynch pin of the system, and how the surprising result turned out versatile and beautiful The vision of intervention with minimal disruption, how the first prototype took a t-shirt from solid to liquid to a solid, and the journey of how Target signed on as an early adopter.

The holy grail of transformation, early adopters, and micro-manufacturing models

Separating cotton and polyester on a molecunetorking lar level, how the holy grail is taking a blended garment, liquefying it, separating it then using the individual components, and new processes vs. repurposing existing processes. How the process is actually shapeshifting material, realigning molecules, and the process of pushing through spinnerette determines the final qualities. Samples, licensing, early adopters Levis, Target and seven more not public, and how marketing campaigns need proof now. The difficult truth that a colored t-shirt requires 700 gallons of water to make, helping brands with sell-through rates and sustainability, and why the ability to network helps now, looking at micro-manufacturing models, with small manufacturers linked together to become power manufacturing chains as a localized, globalized model.

Reciprocity, the human spirit, and the Redwoods

Finding ways to build business, saving the environment while honoring designs. The three part adopter program, and how reciprocity creates human solidarity. There is no algorithm on the power of the human spirit to solve a really big problem. And Off the Grid Questions covers the Redwoods, a heavy moment, and accidental eyebrow shaving.

Hear more MouthMedia Network shows at www.MouthMediaNetwork.com.

031 – Jason Robinson of UPS – A Force of Change

How UPS strategically partners with businesses, from shortening routes, improving supply chains, developing delivery by drones, sustainability and humanitarianism, and data and analytics…

Jason Robinson, Director of Marketing for the North Atlantic Region for UPS, joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. (Robinson’s profile)

Empowering competition, drones, and Orion

Robinson shares his love of the complexity of movement, how he fell into his job after growing up in UPS out of high school and worked his way up, and being in a new role only around since 2010. What UPS offers businesses to compete with large platforms, the impact of same day delivery, and how UPS creates challenges and forces change, the need for partnerships, and keeping the finger on the pulse. Drones, related regulations/policies, testing drones after the hurricane in Houston, logistics, weight limits, restrictions, how drones can help in rural areas, and challenges of introducing a new technology into existing infrastructure and fully deploying quickly. And the incredible tool Orion, which shortens the routes of drivers, saving millions of dollars on fuel.

Education, reducing the carbon footprint, and the UPS Package Lab

Industry training business about consumer expectations, asking consumers about behavior online, time in transit, custom shipping, the increase of mobile and loss of tablet activity. Sustainability and humanitarian focuses, increasing efficiency and safety by saving mileage and fuel by minimizing left hand turns. Material and packaging options for recycled materials, looking. And the UPS Package Lab has an eco packaging program, which can help with marketing.

Data and analytics, fly fishing, and being a strategic partner

Robust data and analytics from UPS and making those available to businesses, giving the delivery driver the opportunity to go into houses with a doorbell program, and the impact of residential vs. commercial. Personal questions cover fitting in family time, fly fishing in the Catskills, hiking trails, bucket list cultural experiences and wishes, Norway, and New Zealand (and, again, fly fishing). And UPS My Choice, and being strategic partners instead of a vendor.

030 – Marni Leopold, Lucia Palacios, and Mary Marino – Peru, Guatemala, and Africa

Material and textile matchmaking in other countries…

Marni Leopold (Luxury Sales & Management – ‎Trade Commission of Peru), Lucia Palacios (Marketing and Promotion Director of Vestex, Apparel and Textile Association of Guatemala), and Mary Marino (Trade Linkage Consultant, USAID Contractor at East Africa Trade and Investment Hub), join Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes on location at Sourcing at Coterie. Powered by Sennheiser.


Marni Leopold (Luxury Sales & Management – ‎Trade Commission of Peru) discusses her role as a matchmaker, making introductions between USA designers and brands with Peruvian manufacturers, materials and market. How the attraction to Peru starts with quality, some of the best raw materials in the world, fibers, fabrics, and Peru has a free trade agreement, so materials are duty free. Promoting manufacturing, a trade show, how Leopold became involved, a focus on Hema Cotton and Alpaca, and a love of ceviche.

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029 – Clay Hickson of WRAP – Sweatshop Watchdog

Watchdog for ethical manufacturing…

Clay Hickson (profile), VP of Strategy and Business Development at WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), a non-profit organization “sweatshop watchdog” making sure manufacturers are ethical manufacturers, joins hosts Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes on location at Sourcing at Coterie. Powered by Sennheiser.

Certification and education, demands for ethical sourcing, and a history of concerns

Hickson discusses how materials are building blocks and sources of information, and how WRAP provides certifications and educational activities, doing it last year in more than 2500 factories in more than 40 countries. He reveals who pays for the costs and how many stakeholders and customers are demanding ethical sourcing including socially responsible investors. A look at child labor, forced labor, and structural integrity of building, along with the history of ethical sourcing concerns.

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028 – Ronnye Shamam of Shamron Mills – Not Run of the Mill

Garments and textile items for healthcare, linen supply and industrial settings…

Ronnye Shamam, President of Shamron Mills (a manufacturer of all types of garments and textile items for healthcare, linen supply and other industrial settings – (profile)), joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes at the MouthMedia Network Studios powered by Sennheiser.

Origins, mandating quality, and challenges

Shamam discusses how the company started with hospital gowns, and sells to distributors, how for many the quantities that Shamron Mills are not important enough to get involved in, and largely manufacturing overseas. Mandating that color, fasteners and fabric stand up to industrial laundries and high temperatures to sterilize, drapes in operating rooms that must be certain sized with specific openings, customized for superstar doctors, and children sleepwear regulations. Production locations, changing and modifying the business to stay aligned with customers and industry. The challenges of fewer mills and converters, having to adapt to make more overseas. How small runs and quick turnaround requires Made in USA.

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027 – Sharon Graubard of MintModa – Mapping the Thread

Fashion trend forecasting…

Sharon Graubard, Founder and Creative Director of MintModa (trend forecasting which enables trend-right product for all fashion and design-related industries – (profile)), joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia network studios powered by Sennheiser.

What MintModa looks for, looking for the thread, and trends as a mirror

Graubard shares how as a fashion forecaster she analyzes what’s going on — on the street and in culture — and meaningful narratives about fashion, along with some direction. How analysis happens, how the seeds of what’s coming are here and now, and focuses also on home interiors, beauty and design related industries. What she and her team look for, how you can kind of feel it, what’s coming next. Why you still have to travel to see trends, to feel and smell it. Seeing the world on your phone is not ideal, digesting info, how you can’t be everywhere and assess everything, how does info come in, what might be not so much a trend, more like assessing street tribes of fashion, looking for the thread not just low hanging fruit, new contexts, a strange mix bubbling up that becomes newness. Maps with arrows, like a psychological map behind the trend. Designers thinking they are their own trend forecasters, who the Internet affects. Now the consumer tells the industry what’s happening next. Need to see what designers think, along with what people are wearing. A self fulfilling-prophecy vs. a trend being organic? A trend has to be like a mirror.

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026 – Sabine Seymour of SUPASPOT – SUPApowers

Apparel as data platform with a biometric sensor kit from SUPASPOT…

Sabine Seymour, Consultant. Researcher, and Founder & CEO at SUPASPOT INC. (biometrics + extreme sports + fashion + artificial intelligence in a onesie at a dance party with the SUPA Powered Sports Bra having an integrated sensor made from fabric – (profile)), joins Stephanie Benedetto and Samanta Cortes in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

A digital YKK, gathering data, potential blockchain for biometrics

Seymour details the biometric sensor kit for clothing, essentially a digital YKK, connecting to piece of electronics can be clipped into garment, automatically connected it to the SUPA app, with different applications on platform, integrating sensor like a trim or zipper into the garment. Correlating and aggregating data, evaluating levels of hydration for example, resulting in much data being gathered, every garment has a unique ID and can be traced, do not give the data away, but can make a transaction that can give deals in return for data sharing. No methods of data encryption, possible block chain for biometrics?

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025 – Andrew Dent of Material ConneXion – Staying in Touch with Materials

Innovative, advanced, and sustainable materials library…

Andrew Dent, Executive Vice President, Research for Material ConneXion (the world’s largest library of innovative, advanced, and sustainable materials – (profile)) – joins Stephanie Benedetto, Samanta Cortes, and Rob Sanchez at the MouthMedia Network Studios powered by Sennheiser.

Materials across industries, the magic of physical samples, and four tenents

Dent describes how Material ConneXion show clients who make anything them how to make better products ranging from beds, to clothing, flooring, appliances, vehicles, furniture, exploring new and interesting materials, providing both digital and in-person searches, but how there is no substitution for physical samples. The way it sparks innovation and inspiration, the ability to touch and feel materials across various markets. Four tenents for innovation to get into the library, artificial spider silk, and making fabrics out of milk.

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024 – David Sasso of Buhler Quality Yarns – Farm to Shelf

Sustainable manufacturing of fine count yarns with Buhler Quality Yarns…

David Sasso, VP of International Sales for Buhler Quality Yarns (manufacturer and supplier of fine-count yarns, with over 200 years of experience producing yarns, and dedicated to the highest standards, unparalleled service and sustainable manufacturing – (bio)) joins Samanta Cortes, Stephanie Benedetto, and Rob Sanchez on location at TexWorld USA in New York.

Centuries of experience, a partnership, and quality over price

Sasso discusses Supima, a premiere spinner for micromodal and tencel products from wood fibers, how the industry lost focus, what cellulose means to comfort and breathability, how the Buhler name goes back over 200 years, a premiere spinner of premium fibers in Europe, was core product and yarn, and having been in high demand for luxury products on global basis. A partnership putting together strategies going forward, global vs. regional strategies, market changes, how Buhler knows about manufacturing of yarns, fabrics and apparel, and looking at the whole supply chain and fine tune it to be competitive. Quality is important and education as well, not problems when not maximizing consumer experience.

Educating partners, technical qualities, and sustainability

How if one saves pennies it can sacrifice dollars when the customer is not happy. Educating partners to know how a supply chain can be put together to meet price points and manufacturing goals. And speed vs. price point vs. communication vs. transportation. Breathability requires cellular features, the difference in naturally occurring vs. synthetics fibers, how everyone wants to jump to design stage without considering technical qualities of fibers, from structure to shape, and implications on performance, absorption, and having lost that knowhow. While value is the game changer, what sustainability means to Buhler, the worst sustainable product is one that doesn’t last, and didn’t accomplish much at a consumer level.   Fiber properties must be there or a fabric will be inferior. If a fiber is weak it must be blended with a stronger fiber for example.

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