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Japan's apparel industry in hi-tech bid to secure future

Tokyo

FROM ready-to-wear knits manufactured instantly to customised dresses produced on inkjet printers, Japan's apparel industry is turning to state-of-the-art technology in a bold bid to cut labour costs and secure its future.

At manufacturing giant Shima Seiki's factory in western Japan, garments materialise in minutes, thanks to digitally-programmed automated machines that can turn out a sample seam-free pullover in half an hour with a push of a button.

The WholeGarment system patented by the Japanese manufacturer and sold to knitwear companies like Italian luxury brand Max Mara includes a digital design system that allows users to choose patterns, colours and cuts.

Originally known for glove-making...

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