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Sandra Costa – Compliance Supervisor at Triwool

Tell us about your business, how long has it been running and what’s the story behind it?
Triwool is a Portuguese based circular knit garment supplier. The company specialises in circular knitted design, development and sourcing, focused on short-term fashion supply for leading retailers and brands worldwide.

We provide an efficient supply solution for each of our customers needs, from raw material sourcing, product concept and design to client production standards. Our goal is to offer products with value based on quality, design, and competitive prices. The company is committed to the highest ethical and operational standards. Focused on transparency and sustainable corporate management procedures.

A committed team of experienced Account Managers, Merchandisers, Quality Controllers, and Designers with a high level of fashion awareness along with strict production procedures cover and support all supply chain levels.

Do you have your own design department, if so, where do you get the inspiration for your designs from?
Yes, we do have a design team of 12 designers. They get their inspiration from buying all over the world, catwalks and WGSN.

Do you find that brands and retailers are increasingly looking for design input from their manufacturing partners?
Yes, we do (latest trends: new raw materials, different printing techniques, accessories and embroideries).

What design trends have you seen coming over the past two or three seasons, and what trends do you expect to see over the coming seasons?
It depends immensely on the market and client philosophy, some want more intricate details, and some like very simple and basic garments.

Are there any core staples that you are always asked for, irrespective of seasonal trend changes?
Basic garments with simple lines.

Do you have a particular manufacturing niche which sets you apart? How do you set yourselves apart from other manufacturers?
We do have a niche. We produce jersey garments with a knitwear look.

Jersey refers to the fabric construction. It is made on a circular knitting machine with one set of knitting needles. It creates fabric that is often used in t-shirts, for example. Jersey can be made in various types of fabrics: cotton, polyester, nylon, rayon, etc. Cotton jersey is probably the most common type of knit – it is very soft and fluid and works well for a variety of garments.

Have there been any new technological developments that you have introduced into your manufacturing processes? Do you think there will ever come a time where manufacturing is fully automated or it is the human input that makes the quality differences?
No. We do not think that manufacturing will ever be fully automated, each garment is subjected to several processes that need human intervention.

Are you seeing any trends or changes in the way production is moving? For example, are you being asked more about ethical practices or are you turning to data driven production?
The concern for sustainability – ethical and environmental – is increasing immensely. The brands have strict codes of conduct, and demand social audits, that cover a wide range of parameters: ethical trade, health and safety, labour standards. The brands want to produce quality products while ensuring strong social and environmental protection.

How do you adapt to the changes in the marketplace, how do you stay ahead of the curve?
We work with a sustainable supply chain, which ensures the best practices.

Have customers become more demanding of suppliers? What have the core changes been in this relationship?
Yes, they have. Customers are looking for social, ethical and environmental assurance of good practices.

What advice would you give sourcing professionals looking for a manufacturer? What should they look for, and what questions should they be asking?
Assure a socially, ethically and environmentally responsible supply chain.

How can manufacturers and sourcing professionals improve their relationships?
It is all about communication. Always be in touch.

Are ethical and sustainable credentials more important today? Is this something where buyers are becoming more demanding on these issues?
Yes, some buyers are more conscientious about sustainable fabric and garments. There is a demand for that. We approach sustainability through a thoroughly well-thought-out supply chain, which aims to balance economic, social and environmental sustainability factors in equal harmony.

What are your minimum and maximum order quantities?
Minimum – 500 pieces maximum – not applicable.

How do you think Brexit will affect your garment manufacturing business?
We are not sure.