Partner Spotlight: YKK Expands Digitization Efforts to Drive Sustainability in the Fashion Industry – Video Interview

Over recent months, environmental sustainability has rapidly made its way to the forefront of the fashion agenda as apparel brands and designers search for new ways to transform wasteful supply chains and reduce their environmental impact. A company that is no stranger to sustainability is our partner YKK, one of the world’s largest zipper manufacturers, who for over thirty years have been continuously ramping up their sustainability efforts and embedding these initiatives into the core of their product.

To learn more about YKK’s sustainability commitment and initiatives we chatted with Brian La Plante, YKK’s Sustainability Manager. In his role, Brian is responsible for identifying new materials and technologies and developing the products necessary for a more sustainable future. 

As part of YKK’s 2050 sustainability vision which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by transitioning to renewable power and 100% sustainable materials, the company has stepped into the digital world with the launch of 3D zippers and other various digital assets along with immersive virtual showrooms as a way to better connect to their customers, reduce physical sampling, and promote digitization across the entire value chain. 

YKK Digital Showroom – Image Courtesy of YKK

The expansion of AI and 3D design tools across YKK’s product development processes plays a major role in lowering their environmental impact and reducing sample waste throughout the approval cycle. As opposed to in-person product presentations that often require extensive travel, with the launch of the YKK digital showroom, customers will be able to leverage an entirely virtual space to discover products, visualize materials, and interact with stakeholders regardless of where they are located.

With this long-standing partnership, Browzwear users can seamlessly access a growing asset library of YKK’s eco-friendly range of digital zippers and trims directly within VStitcher. These innovative zippers are all built with climate change, material resources, water consumption, and chemical management in mind, allowing designers to create entirely eco-conscious garments. 

Brian La Plante, Manager Sustainability, YKK

Brian La Plante has an extensive background in design and materials innovation. As Director of Outerwear at the outdoor brand Marmot, he and his team fused sustainable design with technical performance leading to many industry awards. Now as Manager of Sustainability for YKK’s Global Marketing Group he is responsible for identifying new materials and technologies, and developing the products necessary for a more sustainable future.