Esmetex, the Taiwanese fabric manufacturing and sourcing firm, has announced the launch of Frontier, an online platform designed to digitize the fabric supply chain from creative fabric development, to the inspection process, to 3D garment design. The Frontier digital platform can cut the creative development cycle by more than 2 weeks, the company says, effectively collecting and organizing information from the supply chain.

The Frontier platform is currently one of the largest databases of searchable online fabrics in the world, containing more than 18,000 fabrics from Esmetex’s own mill and the 25 mills under their management. It’s growing at 1,000 items per month, with expected exponential growth with every brand that joins the digital community. Prior to this roll out, Esmetex used the database internally. With this introduction, the company plans to work with national brands and retailers to add their fabrics from additional mill partners, creating an integrated solution where all customers’ vendor fabric collections and libraries are available in one place digitally at the click of a mouse.

“We don’t intend to be disruptive, instead we want to be part of a gentle revolution that advances the whole industry,” said Victor Chao, Founder of Esmetex and Esmetex Frontier. “We aim to simplify the fabric development process; no more looking through swatch boxes and shipping swatches back and forth. It’s not practical for a designer to search through 18,000 fabric swatches when Frontier can search based on whatever criteria the user is interested in, and return all relevant fabric information on one page. This can be done on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone by accessing our website or by installing our app.”

Fabric designers and developers at a brand or retailer can use the platform to image search, find similar items via AI or search by description, blend, colour, end use, pantone color number, pattern or weight. The resulting fabrics include all fabric details and available sample yardage, which can be ordered directly from the platform via a mobile device. A consequent advantage of the system, but no less important, is the environmental aspect. Using fabrics that already exist, rather than manufacturing unnecessary yardage, reduces the use of harmful chemicals and dyestuffs, saving precious resources.

Brands and retailers can also manage fabric quality control through the fully digitized Frontier platform. The Frontier inspection app allows QC to capture, record and share an inspection report in the field; such quality data is compiled into a scorecard and directly helps a brand to consolidate their factories. Additionally, the inspection report provides defect distribution to reduce consumption for garment factories.

“The digital textile industry is new and growing,” added Chao. “Previously only occupied by PLM software companies, now more players are emerging, such as 3D design tools, digital materials, 3D file convert technology, and quality compliance platforms; now it’s easier to find an end to end solution. Software solution companies tend to stay away from factories, but Esmetex sees it as a unique opportunity. We offer the fastest way to move suppliers’ items online, and intend to occupy this foundational industry position so other applications can be built on top – like the basic infrastructure of a city.”

Esmetex is a long-standing fabric and full package provider for the sportswear market. Known for creating unique partnerships with a diverse group of yarn merchants, Esmetex says it is always looking for the latest in yarn innovation to allow customers the ability to offer differentiation to retailers and consumers. The company has marketing and sales offices in Hong Kong and New York.