<< back to Interviews

JustStyle Interview with Fashion – Enter CEO Jenny Holloway ‘From Pixel to Parcel


JustStyle Interview by Laura Husband: From pixel to parcel – the “world’s most” sustainable garment micro-factory published on 7th March 2022, following the launch of the Fashtech Innovation Centre…

Copy of the interview:

Kornit Digital’s direct-to-fabric and direct-to-garment digital printing machines, which are now based at Fashion-Enter’s headquarters in North London, UK, can take a dress ‘from pixel to parcel,’ or from a design on-screen to being ready to be shipped, in as little as 25 minutes. As all of the processes take place at the same site it equates to a more efficient, sustainable, and shorter supply chain. 

During the introduction of the factory tour, Kornit Digital’s CEO Ronen Samuel explained the importance of improving sustainability within the fashion sector. He highlighted that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil and said it makes up 20% of global industrial water pollution and 20% of global carbon emissions. 

The aim of Kornit Digital’s process is to make the garment supply chain shorter and more efficient, while also making it more sustainable by removing harmful chemicals and using a minimal amount of water. Kornit Digital’s statistics claim its systems use 95% less water, 94% less energy and produce nearly 83% less greenhouse gas emissions.

Samuel also suggested that today’s fashion supply chain is not fit for today’s needs with the cost of shipping from countries such as China and Bangladesh being ten times more expensive than it used to be. He pointed out that brands want to bring production closer to end consumers in order to react more quickly to the latest trends on TikTok and Instagram. 

What is the future of fashion? 

When Fashion-Enter’s CEO Jenny Holloway took to the stage to announce her organisation’s collaboration with the printing company on the sustainable micro-factory, she agreed with Samuel and stated: “Traditional fashion is dead.” 

Holloway explained: “When you think about all of the money tied up in stock that is stuck on ships and the discounts that have to occur to get rid of old stock – it’s just unsustainable,” adding: “The technology from Kornit Digital blew me away and there’s more advancements to come.” 

In an exclusive interview with Just Style, Holloway expanded on her thinking. She said: “The old-fashioned way of buying a year in advance is over.” She pointed out there are a number of major disruptors today ranging from shipping delays, current delays due to Chinese New Year, freight costs, and now the war in Ukraine, and believes we all have a duty of care to put it right.

Holloway also highlighted the digital age is already here and it will only expand. She said: “This really is the only way forward today in fashion as it will give buyers and consumers what they need today,” adding that the industry needs to embrace the importance of making garments ‘to demand’.” 

The new partnership between Fashion-Enter and Kornit Digital arose from a discussion that Holloway had with Kornit Digital’s head of retail transformation, Scott Walton, after a podcast they did together. 

She explained Walton was talking about his beliefs and the company’s ethos and it matched Fashion-Enter’s vision of making fashion a more ethical and sustainable place. She described the collaboration, which initially was with online retailer Asos Plc but has now opened up to all apparel brands, as a unique partnership and she feels honoured and pleased that what started as a chance meeting could potentially be a game-changer for the UK’s fashion industry.

Who can experiment with the technology at Fashion-Enter’s HQ? 

Holloway was also keen to point out that Fashion-Enter is not possessive about the information or the IP. In fact, the polar opposite is true. She wants to share the enterprise’s findings with businesses and encourage individual designers, as well as large brands and retailers, to experiment with the technology at the micro-factory to make fashion more sustainable and efficient. 

She said: “We would encourage buyers and assistant buyers to come on-site and spend a day here to work on their collections, forward trends and designs. After eight hours with us, they’ll have 15 garments available for them to start their collection.”

Fashion designer Joshua Scacheri is already using the technology at the micro-factory to produce garments for his brand called Love Hero. He told Just Style the technology has already reshaped his way of thinking when it comes to designing and creating collections. 

He said: “The technology is changing the way I design as I’m designing and collaborating with the technology, which eliminates errors and waste.” He also explained that he’s using the technology to create more circular clothing by either printing on top of previous designs to create new work or designing a print that goes with pieces that are already in his collection. 

Holloway is proud of the fact Fashion-Enter is now home to the UK’s only ‘on-demand’ sustainable service. She explained that anyone can come with their own designs, they can manipulate those designs, the patterns can be created straight away and the Fashion-Enter team can make the garments in front of their eyes. 

She believes the beauty of the Kornit Digital software is that designers can create virtual designs, press a button, print out the fabric, and make the sample straight away. This means the time spent waiting for fabrics to come in, delays in the post, cutting out a sample and then deciding to make a change, and having to start the process again – all of that has gone.

Holloway, who has worked in fashion for many years and founded Fashion-Enter 17 years ago, pointed out that any kind of change can be worrying and embracing the Kornit garment manufacturing process was not without its challenges. She told Just Style when Fashion-Enter was first approached by Kornit Digital to do the collaboration, some people within the company, including senior managers, didn’t believe it would be possible. 

“We had a number of setbacks, such as the compressor being the wrong size to start off with, and we couldn’t get the physical equipment into the building so we had to get planning permission to build a bigger door but you just can’t give up with such hurdles. You need to have perseverance and resilience.”

In saying this, Holloway told Just Style frankly there is a lot of talk within the fashion retail industry about the need to change or die. She knew that making the Kornit process a reality wouldn’t be easy for Fashion-Enter but if she didn’t do it, her social enterprise could be severely impacted, by not driving change internally and giving a new innovative point of reference to buyers.

She said: “What was our unique selling proposition as a factory because everyone can offer design and everyone can look at fabric ranges? It was important for me as a CEO to safeguard our workforce and bring in something new but still within our remit of ethical production.” 

Where will this sustainable micro-factory concept be applied in future? 

Holloway would like to see the micro-factory being replicated in areas of the UK that already have a number of apparel factories such as LeicesterWales and she believes her company could help to find a partner in Scotland too.

“I think that when people understand and appreciate the benefits of this process, this is going to pop like a mushroom – it’s going to become the new industry norm.” 

Holloway is keen to tell the apparel industry that Fashion-Enter is just showing what can be done but she believes it will be the retailers who will start to invest in micro-factories in future as they’ll have the money to do it. 

She said: “In saying that, retailers won’t have the manufacturing expertise so they’ll need to rely on the manufacturers to help them.” 

Kornit Digital’s EMEA president Chris Govier closed the opening event by stating: “I hope we’ve been thought-provoking.” 

He believes the sustainable micro-factory collaboration between Kornit Digital and Fashion-Enter will help to solve some of the key challenges facing the wider fashion industry. 

The crucial point he made, however, was overcoming tomorrow’s challenges will need the right questions to be asked today. For example, Kornit Digital’s end-to-end technology will undoubtedly be a big investment for any brand or retailer, however, the consensus by all of those presenting at the event was that retailers and brands need to start asking what the exit margin of their garments will be as opposed to their intake margins. 

In other words, a sustainably made garment produced at a near-sourced UK factory might cost more initially but it could lead to a higher exit price as it will require less discounting and will be part of a more efficient, sustainable and ultimately circular process. 

With thanks to Just Style

<< back to Interviews