How Digital Garment Printing Moves Fashion From MOQ to OOQ – Sourcing Journal

Many believe that sustainable apparel and footwear companies must combine good environmental stewardship with healthy profits in order to be truly sustainable.

This was the message at a Kornit Exploration Day hosted last Thursday by the Israeli-headquartered digital textile printing company at its campus in Englewood, NJ.

“Not only has our industry been tarred with the horrible stat that it’s the second-most polluting industry on the planet, but it’s probably also one of the most inefficient industries on the planet,” said Simon Platts, who was making one of his first public appearances after stepping down as responsible sourcing director at Asos. “Customers are changing; they want to know more. Legislation is coming in—we’ve got to think about people and the planet, but also the profit… To be more sustainable in how you’re consuming and producing the goods doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be profitable.”

According to Platts fast fashion is key to long-term profitability.

“It’s a bit of a scary thing to stand here and say that, actually, I think the only way to do fashion in the future will be to do it fast,” Platts said. “But I’m not talking about more of what we’re doing now. I’m talking about a complete reshaping to find different ways and different solutions, and using all of the innovation and technology that’s out there.”

Platts mentioned that these innovations include product passports, QR codes embedded on digital tags which detail the garment’s life cycles, and digital garment printing.

“It’s gonna be fast, it’s going to be relevant, it’s going to be smarter, it’s gonna be less wasteful, it doesn’t compromise quality, we create the circular economy,” Platts said, adding that if those efficiencies are realized, consumers can still purchase clothing at the rates they do today without harming the environment. “If we were to cut out the waste in the beginning by 30, 40 percent, you can still consume the same amount yet you’ve saved. It doesn’t have to be that we can’t have what we want when we want it, whether it’s carrots or dresses. But we’ve got to do it differently and [consumers have] to behave differently.”

Kornit CEO Ronen Samuel

Kornit CEO Ronen Samuel.


Bill McRaith was a former chief supply chain officer for PVH Corp. He promoted digital textile printing like Kornit, which can create designs and locate manufacturers closest to the destination point.

“Get rid of that word,” McRaith said of MOQ, the acronym for minimum order quantity. “The term is totally fictitious made up by manufacturers, like me, to protect myself from people like you… We have to move to OOQs—optimal order quantity. If I have to make a unit order of one, I need one unit.”

McRaith emphasized the importance of outside-the box office-space strategies.

“Everyone working together [at] these collaborative design and innovation centers is where big brands and retailers can come in and actually work with their manufacturers to develop new stuff right next to them,” McRaith said. “This is an amazing model you could have in the fashion industry where you’re actually bringing in startups that could play in the space to solve problems that maybe we don’t even realize we have yet.”

McRaith stated that the capitalist system of businesses focusing on competition with each other hinders the industry’s ability keep up with the rising Chinese brands such as Shein. Collaborative efforts like the Eco-Park, he said, are a way of cutting into Asia’s advantage.

“We are so behind on TikTok and that’s why, if you look at Shein, there’s five more brands behind them right now that are all rising rapidly and they are going to dominate the world unless the U.S. steps up and starts to put stuff in place rapidly—read the market, react and produce on demand.”

Influencers are another key player in the move from MOQ – OOQ. Grand View Research’s Thursday forum report shows that the influencer’s role in commerce has increased exponentially since the beginning of the decade. It was valued at $10.39 Billion in 2021, and is projected to increase at a compounding rate 33.4 percent annually until 2030. As the model shows, micro influencers become more prominent and have fewer followers. The nano influencers are expected to hold a greater share of the market that mega- and macro-influencers.

A model of a center for collaborative design and innovation, such as the Arizona Eco-Park Space, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Matt Hickman/Sourcing Journal

Amaze’s director for operations strategy Kate Blessing said that Kornit and Amaze can partner quickly to realize nearshoring, offshoring, and OOQ.

“When we’re plugging in this on demand, we are printing at the point of sale; we’re not sitting on any inventory, our return rate is 0.1 percent, and if I get over 3 percent scrap in the facility, I get excited, so we’re talking about really, really low waste,” Blessing said. “You’ve got work at the front of the press that takes a certain number of minutes to come out of the dryer. You’re packing it out at the end and it’s in a bag and it’s going to the customer—it’s there in two days.”

Blessings said Amaze allows social media entrepreneurs to forget about worrying about making clothing that will end up in the trash.

“So if you want to go on and do a frog design, a gaming design and a yoga design all in the same day, you can do that. And if you find someone to buy each of your designs, we’ll go ahead and make that for you, you get that sale and we split your profit,” Blessing said. “You’re building your brand and not thinking about the supply chain and production and customer experience.”