Leading South African retailer, the Cape Union Mart Group has launched Green Thread Studio, a design destination dedicated to progress and we attended the launch. Green Thread Studios was born out of one of the Group’s primary core values which speaks to sustainability.
The Cape Union Mart Group’s executive says: “Most of the big retailers are wanting to convert more production locally, especially on the back of a challenging two years which has made everyone aware of the risks of the supply chain. To produce locally, businesses need to have the correct setup to support this strategy, and we wanted to set ourselves up for this growth according to best practice.”
Employing 220 people in manufacturing and 33 in design, Green Thread Studio speaks to another core value of the group – Feeding Passions, Changing Lives. This is expressed in their commitment to job creation within South Africa by facilitating the upskilling of new talent into this industry. Within the manufacturing division, there is a training facility to train and upskill new talent with the aim of creating employment for these individuals.
The studio provides the opportunity for buyers and designers to work side-by-side to create and design products without the burden of couriering samples abroad. The CUM Group is also able to develop and evolve its fabrics and fabric prints with a focus on increasing the number of sustainable fabrics used – in line with the key value of sustainability in the Design Centre.
There is a minimal waste approach where Fabric offcuts are upcycled to minimise the amount of waste that occurs through sampling.
The Group’s aim is to ensure that they have control over every element and evolution of product creation. Their ambition is to offer more product lines to retail that can be made locally at a competitive price, with the same quality expected from international suppliers.
The goal is to grow local production, and the Green Thread Studio is the creative hub to facilitate this growth.
In 2023, the target is to run 280,000 units, which means 385 styles of products through the studio. By 2024, they aspire to increase the numbers to 360,000 with over 500 styles. To achieve this, there is a main focus on ensuring the machinists are multi-skilled and able to flex to different commodities as the needs and demands change relating to trend and supply.
The Green Thread Studio will be the core hub of the design and production for Poetry, Old Khaki and KEEDO.
All images are supplied by @tegansmithphotography. The official photographer from the launch event