Evolution St. Louis today announced the opening of a high-tech flat-bed knit manufacturing facility using cutting-edge 3D and seamless-knitting technology at 3830 Washington Blvd. in downtown St. Louis.
“Evolution St. Louis’ investment in downtown St. Louis will help put the region on the map as a destination for advanced manufacturing and production,” said Susan Sherman, co-founder of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund.
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.
“St. Louis has a rich heritage in the fashion industry and deep roots in manufacturing,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “We’re thrilled Evolution St. Louis is investing in our community by attracting talent and offering the facilities needed to support brands and retailers not only in St. Louis, but also in New York, LA and across North America.”
Global market conditions based on industrial restructuring and higher labor costs have created an unprecedented opportunity to bring apparel production back to the United States.
“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.”
“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.”
Evolution St. Louis 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.
The $5 million 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. “We look forward to their continued support and partnership as we establish St. Louis as the hub for knit manufacturing in North America.”
STOLL, Germany’s leading flat-knitting machine manufacturer, will install 300 high-tech flatbed knitting machines 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-square-foot facility and machines will be installed by the end of August. Production is expected to begin later this year.
“We are already in development with several companies, and working with fashion brands, retailers, military, automotive, and other industry sectors as well,” Lewis said.