Mindful Apparel Manufacturing: Technology in Action

Lefty Production Company

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

In an effort to reduce fabric consumption and the use of paper, Lefty Production Company has implemented a new automated laser cutting technology. This innovation coupled with Lefty’s sourcing methods helps achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production.

Authors

Gabriel Shamoun

Gabriel Shamoun

Farzan Hosseini

Farzan Hosseini

Madison Weber

Madison Weber

School

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University

Professor

Jeff Thies

Jeff Thies

Innovation

Marta Miller, Co-Founder of Lefty Production Company, has always been one to invest in the latest technologies in the apparel manufacturing industry to increase the efficiency of her business operations. With the help of fashion technology leader Tukatech, Lefty Production Company was able to implement some of the latest automated laser-cutting technologies into their processes.


The main function of this new technology is in its digital sewing mechanism, which essentially helps reduce the amount of fabric and other resources that are wasted on prototyping and sewing by making sure the new patterns work before further steps are taken in their production. A lot of other competitors in the industry are still using paper to make their patterns, whereas the Lefty Production company has halted the use of paper in the making of their patterns for the last six years. This innovation has resulted in a 50% reduction in Lefty’s consumption of fabric.


As a result, Lefty saves money on paper costs with the implementation of leaner manufacturing methods such as those that Tukatech’s technology provides. With leaner manufacturing, Lefty is able to offer better prices to its customers. In addition to this technology, Lefty’s practice of sourcing organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and recycled materials further helps achieve its Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production.

Mindful Apparel Manufacturing: Technology in Action

Inspiration

The story of how Lefty Production Company was formed starts with Marta Miller’s first company called ‘Moody Mamas.’ ‘Moody Mamas’ was a maternity line that was sold in a number of boutiques, but the company had a number of issues within their supply chain. Apparel manufacturing factories make money on larger orders, and a small company such as their own was ignored, mistreated, and looked at, “as a number rather than a strategic partner.” After receiving an order from an overseas supplier that was tainted and unusable, Marta and her Co-Founder Emily Roiff decided that the only way that they would be able to achieve their goals would be to do it for themselves. That is the moment that Lefty Production Company was founded. Marta and Emily created a factory in Los Angeles focused on innovation and sustainability through the use of cutting-edge innovation – a key factor in their success. In turn, their goals transformed into a vision of helping other up-and-coming and small apparel brands that may have been overlooked by the larger factories, while heavily emphasizing their sustainability efforts. “It really came out of a real need and a true frustration,” Marta said, “But it’s also about money. With sustainability comes leaner manufacturing. With leaner manufacturing, I’m able to offer better prices…My company does well when my brands do well.” She has always felt a desire to do good by the environment and has delivered with Lefty Production Company’s business model.

Overall impact

Lefty’s emphasis on technological advancement allows the company to reduce waste generated during production by upwards of 50 percent and eliminates the use of paper patterns. Lefty’s investment in automated laser cutters has positioned the company at the technological forefront of the apparel manufacturing industry. Not only do the laser cutters provide the precision and repeatability the industry requires, but it also allows Lefty to provide the best products and services to their clients. Minimizing the environmental impact is important to Lefty and their clients, so utilizing this technology is key to the company’s success.

With an increasing interest in American-manufactured products, Lefty is able to service more clients that value American-made products. Lefty prides itself on sourcing organic, recycled, and sustainable materials, thus reducing the product’s environmental footprint. By being manufactured in America, Lefty also helps reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by eliminating the need for overseas shipping. Lefty promotes improved social and environmental standards by supporting brands that prioritize fair trade practices. Since Lefty is a full-service design, development, and production firm, they are able to work closely with the clients to manufacture sustainable and eco-friendly products.

Short term, Lefty immediately saw the benefits of reduced fabric consumption and the elimination of paper patterns. The design and development process became more streamlined and efficient, providing a direct benefit to the customer. Fewer fabric resources were consumed, reducing Lefty’s local environmental impact.

Business benefit

Lefty Production Company is a great example of how business and sustainability efforts can come together and create a responsible, thriving business. The company’s focus on innovative and cutting-edge technology to meet sustainability and monetary goals has transformed the company into what it is today. Marta Miller, Co-Founder of Lefty, believes that one of the keys to success is, “Leading with your heart.” With this mindset and a focus on “The sustainability of the labor force and fair wages,” the company now employs 35 people which consists of multiple generations of families and prides itself on treating them well.

Lefty’s focus on innovative and cutting-edge technology reduces material consumption by 50% while also drastically increasing manufacturing efficiency. With more efficient manufacturing comes an increase in revenue and an ability to bring down prices for its brands, making it more cost-effective for small apparel lines to maintain and grow their inventory over time. Before Lefty Production Company was founded, Moody Mamas had monumental issues within its supply-chain and had extreme difficulty based on the size of their orders. Lefty Production Company has made the prospect of creating a quality clothing line locally and responsibly a reality for many businesses while also proving that compassion and sustainability are not a deterrent to success.


Social and environmental benefit

As mentioned previously, Lefty’s implementation of Tukatech’s automated laser cutter technology helps in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production. As a result, Lefty is making a positive impact on the environment with its 50% reduction in the consumption of paper.

A reduction in the consumption of paper can directly impact the environment over time, as the lower demand for the paper following the implementation of the technology can result in less usage of the Earth’s natural resources. Lefty’s additional practice of sourcing recycled materials reinforces their efforts in limiting the consumption and usage of natural resources.

The use of this technology is potentially scalable, as many other players in the industry can adopt its use. Widespread implementation of this technology would undoubtedly have a positive long-term impact with the resulting reduced consumption of natural resources.

Interview

Marta Miller, Co-Founder/Owner

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Lefty Production Company

Lefty Production Company

Los Angeles, California, US

Business Website: https://www.leftyproductionco.com/

Year Founded: 2012

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Lefty Production Company prides itself on equipping its manufacturing line with efficient and innovative technology. This technology streamlines the design, planning, and production process while reducing supply usage by 50%. Additionally, sourcing materials responsibly, fair trade practices, and improved social and environmental standards are key points of emphasis for the company's business model.