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Levi’s to automate design and development

Levi Strauss & Co is automating its denim finishing process to become more responsive to customer trends and reduce its environmental impact.

Project F.L.X will digitise the design and development of denim finishing allowing Levi’s to bring products to market more quickly, as well as reducing the chemicals used in the finishing process.

The brand is piloting the new system with strategic retailers, and has started briefing some of its key customers. It will be rolled out in phases with a view to completing it by 2020.

The benefits for retailers include better core replenishment management, responding more quickly to consumer trends and more opportunity to develop exclusive products.

Under the project Levi’s is replacing manual techniques and automating the process of hand-finishing. Using lasers, finishing time is reduced from two to three pairs per hour to 90 seconds per garment, plus an additional final wash.

Meanwhile, a new imaging tool will cut design and development time in half by allowing designers to create finishes and final garments that can be sent directly to vendors as digital files and quickly scaled for mass manufacturing.

“Our goal was to tackle two predominant industry challenges – being able to respond quickly to changing consumer trends while making the manufacturing process more sustainable,” said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive.

“We are addressing both agility and sustainability without compromising the authenticity our consumers expect from us. This is the future of jeans manufacturing.”

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