Flat knitting machine builder Stoll is to install 300 machines at a new ‘state of the art’ facility in the US. Following a deal first announced last September, Evolution St. Louis has now confirmed the opening of the high-tech flat-bed knit manufacturing facility using cutting-edge 3D and complete garment seamless-knitting technology at 3830 Washington Blvd. in downtown St. Louis.
The $5 mn initial project has involved a broad range of partnerships and collaborations with companies and organizations, including elected Leaders, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, St. Louis Economic Development Corp., Saint Louis Fashion Fund and Stoll. “The local and state elected Leaders, economic development Officials and the St. Louis Fashion Fund worked tirelessly to help make this project happen,” Evolution St. Louis Co-founder Jon Lewis said, noting how global market conditions, such as industrial restructuring and higher labour costs, have created an unprecedented opportunity to bring apparel production back to the United States.
“We look forward to their continued support and partnership as we establish St. Louis as the hub for knit manufacturing in North America.” Stoll will install 300 high-tech flatbed knitting machines at the site, including a range of models and gauges, over the next three years. “Our machines are renowned for their flexibility, diversity and efficiency,” said Andreas Schellhammer, CEO at Stoll. “We will provide Evolution St. Louis with the technology, software solutions and training to help ideas become reality – from design and pattern creation, to intellectual property protection to production.” Construction is already underway at the 32,000-sq-foot facility and machines will be installed by the end of August. Production is expected to begin later this year.
Founded by fashion Executives and Innovators John Elmuccio and Jon Lewis, Evolution St. Louis was created to strengthen the fashion and high-tech knitting industries in America, creating new manufacturing jobs in the United States. It is hoped that the facility, located in St. Louis’ Grand Center Arts District, will make the United States a hub for advanced manufacturing and production. “This facility will revitalize the knit sector, strengthen ‘Made in USA’ fashion, and create good-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs in St. Louis,” said John Elmuccio, Co-founder of Evolution St. Louis. “We want to build the supply chain of the future.”
The company will work with major brands, boutique Designers and emerging, direct-to-consumer fashion Entrepreneurs to help them move some of the production of their products back to the United States, and work with emerging brands and Designers that often have difficulty sourcing overseas because they don’t have the ability to scale. “We are already in development with several companies, and working with fashion brands, retailers, military, automotive, and other industry sectors as well,” Lewis added.
“Evolution St. Louis’ investment in our city is a giant step forward in making St. Louis a fashion capital in the United States,” said Susan Sherman, Co-founder of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund. “Their investment in downtown St. Louis will put us on the map as a destination for advanced manufacturing and production.” “I have been a believer in this project since day one,” added Gary Wassner, CEO of Hilldun Corporation and a principal cast member of Project Runway: Fashion Startup. “You can’t imagine how many brands come to me and have sourcing issues. Knitwear is something we have not been able to produce in the United States for at least 30 years. The future of fashion and apparel manufacturing in St Louis is what they make of it. The opportunity is unlimited.” Evolution St. Louis expects to create 50 to 60 jobs within the first three years in operation, with additional jobs added as the company expands.
“We appreciate Evolution St. Louis and their commitment to expanding Missouri’s manufacturing industry,” said Rob Dixon, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “We look forward to working with them as they grow their venture in St. Louis.” St. Louis’ Garment District on Washington Avenue has a long history as a leader in the fashion and manufacturing industries. St. Louis is now home to brands and companies like Caleres, Soft Surroundings, Summersalt, Stars Design, Aquarius, CMC brands, Audra and Collections by Joya. “In an increasingly competitive fashion market, this is exactly the kind of manufacturing facility we need to meet the needs of the changing industry,” said Juliana Simon, Director of production, research and development for Cushnie. “This facility will help fashion brands and Retailers react to customer demand and new trends by using cutting-edge technology and locating production in the United States to shorten the supply chain.”