Don’t make clothes until after they’re ordered. And locally, as close to the buyer as possible. That is the idea behind Ziel, the company that Dutch entrepreneur Marleen Vogelaar founded five years ago. Three investors, including Purpose Ventures, now raised 4 million euros to expand in Europe. Marleen Vogelaar was previously not only a deserving athlete in the heptathlon but also co-founder of Shapeways, the largest 3D printing company for private individuals in the world.

In 2010 she moved to New York to further expand Shapeways. Five years later, she started working on a new idea to apply the principles of 3D printing on demand to the clothing industry, one of the most polluting sectors in the world.  Many garments for fast fashion chains such as H&M, Zara and Primark are made in Southeast Asia and from there shipped all over the world. Collections change quickly. What is not sold is destroyed. Ziel therefore wants to make clothing production more sustainable. “By making smart use of artificial intelligence, our platform will enable us to seamlessly match supply and demand for clothing,” says Vogelaar. “That means producing exactly what is needed and locally. So we need less transportation and we provide local employment.” The company is based in New York and has a demonstration plant in nearby Newburgh. Ziel has been making sportswear for NBA players and for brands such as Everlast and Bloomingdales. Thanks to the capital increase, the company also wants to gain a foothold in Europe, more specifically from an on-demand clothing factory to be built in Groningen, particularly because the Groningen entrepreneur Jeroen Zanen is co-owner of Ziel.

More info :