Nov 5, 2015 | By Tess

Manufacturers and designers have been increasingly drawn towards using 3D printing technology for a number of reasons in recent years. Among them, and perhaps most important of all, is the draw of creating sustainable products. By additively manufacturing products, unlike what occurs in most mass manufacturing processes, producers can eliminate waste material, and are more inclined to produce on a more demand-based level. This more sustainable approach to manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry as a whole, and startups have been finding success in producing their products in this way.

Ben Alun-Jones, Kirsty Emery and Hal Watts

One such company, Unmade, is a London based 3D printed knitwear company that has combined new technologies and traditional knitting practices to promote more conscious fashion consumption. The small company was recently awarded first prize at the fourth annual Pitch@Palace competition, which was hosted by Prince Andrew the Duke of York. “A celebration of the innovation that entrepreneurship delivers to the UK”, Pitch@Palace launched in 2014 and takes place twice a year. Up to now a total of £103m has been invested into the competition's alumni companies.

Unmade was founded in 2013 by Ben Alun-Jones, Hal Watts, and Kirsty Emery, all students from the Royal College of Art who studied industrial design (Watts and Alun-Jones) and knitwear (Emery). The concept for Unmade came about from sharing their varied interests and they saw potential in applying 3D printing technology to a kitting machine. The result is a clothing production company that utilizes coding to power knitting machines, working in a similar fashion to 3D printers. It allows its clients to custom-design knitwear that is manufactured just for them in just 90 minutes.

"Our technology effectively turns 20% of the manufacturing base into 3D printers for clothes. This means that we can produce 1,000 unique products at the same unit cost as if I was making 1,000 of the same design." says Watts.

What Unmade emphasizes most in their production is that nothing is made by them that won’t be worn. “We seem to have lost something in mass production where you are making things for everyone, but everything is made for no one,” says Alun-Jones. Their effort then, is to only manufacture items that have been directly ordered by them, effectively eliminating the problem of unsold items ending up in a landfill.

Prince Andrew presenting at Pitch@Palace

Alun-Jones goes on to say, “We are building a completely new experience for the customer where you can be part of the creation process. We have made our own file format that is like an MP3 is to music – we have created a .KNIT which is a file format for knitting.” Essentially, the file format contains knitting instructions for a piece of clothing and is designed to communicate to a piece of technology that is installed in the knitting machine, which subsequently generates a code to knit a garment.

Unmade are currently housed in the Somerset House in Central London, and are continuing to grow in size. Over this past summer the company was able to raise £2m, which has helped them to expand their team and office. The Unmade website will launch on November 16th, and they will open a pop-up shop in Convent Garden until Christmas at which point they will have a shop in Selfridges on Oxford Street. The locations will feature a knitting machine and the software for customers to play with the interface and adjust the designs, with the opportunity to even bring home their creations on the day. Because of the level of personalization and the quality materials they are made of, the garments won’t be cheap, with a sweater costing around £120 and a scarf costing about £60.

Ben Alun-Jones expresses his enthusiasm about the project saying, “Imagine a place where a more appropriate, better use of resources makes things that people want and are involved in. You want to own it and it’s something to be proud of. Knitting is amazing.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive