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Story #77Appalatch Outdoor Apparel Co.Asheville, NC

This is such a huge problem, and no one is talking about it. I think when consumers start to see this, and begin to care, then things will change.

When Grace Gouin and Mariano deGuzman founded Appalatch in 2012, all they knew about the apparel industry was that they wanted to change it. With the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, they raised enough money to purchase a knitting machine, similar to a 3D printer that is able to knit affordable and customizable sweaters on demand in as little as 30 minutes. The second pillar of their business model is that all of the products are made in America, with materials sourced from farms local to their base in Asheville, N.C.

“We are the first company in the world to do this,” says deGuzman. “The way clothing is made is incredibly unsustainable. Grace and I were very much into the idea of revolutionizing the apparel industry.” Gouin and deGuzman have focused their company to help combat pollution caused by the apparel industry.

Appalatch has cut out the middlemen. They design, manufacture, and sell all products themselves, rather than outsourcing production. They also source some of their materials from nearby farms, so that they can get the yarns and fibers that they need quickly. This system has also helped keep costs for their products low.

Despite growing interest in their brand from investors, Gouin and deGuzman have opted to let Appalatch grow organically. It was a difficult decision for them to make, but “they wanted the technology so that they could invest it in other brands,” says deGuzman. “We would lose control. In the end, we feel like we made the right decision.”

DeGuzman and Gouin hope that their efforts will help bring manufacturing back to places like Asheville, where it can be done locally and sustainably. “My dream is to see Appalatch grow,” says deGuzman. “It’s a mission-based company that was modeled after what I believe in. And if Appalatch grows, then personally, I will grow as well.”

 

Photos by Jessica Dimmock

 

  • Assistant designer William Bowden monitors the patterns being made by the knitting machine at Appalatch.

  • Head designer Allyson Ansusinha works on designs for the upcoming seasons.

  • Sections of sweaters are pieced together to create a final product. Appalatch pieces are made on-demand, part of their method to make the apparel industry more sustainable by eliminating excess supply.

  • Head designer Allyson Ansusinha and assistant designer William Bowden work on designs for upcoming sweaters from Appalatch.

  • An inspiration board showing traditional color combinations and textiles in the Appalatch offices. All of the designs produced by Appalatch are classic and timeless, so that they never go out of style.

  • Tools of the craft on a desk at sustainable apparel company, Appalatch.

  • Locally sourced yarn, an essential piece of the Appalatch business model.

  • A bin full of knit samples at Appalatch in Asheville, N.C.

  • Appalatch head designer Allyson Ansusinha threads yarn into the knitting machine. With the help of Kickstarter, the founders of Appalatch were able to purchase the expensive machine that is essentially a 3D printer that can knit custom pieces in as little as 30 minutes.

  • Arch Woodward, owner of Crabtree Creek Farms, with his adopted lamb, Annie.

  • Crabtree Creek Farms, one of the local farms where apparel brand Appalatch sources yarn.

  • Arch Woodward, one of the local farmers who supplies a portion of the wool that Appalatch uses for their products. Appalatch has a tight-knit supply chain in the North and South Carolina area, so they are able to get materials quickly and efficiently.

  • The Appalatch design team at work in their Asheville, N.C.-based workspace. The team at Appalatch designs, manufactures, and distributes everything themselves, eliminating the need for any costly middlemen.

  • Mariano deGuzman, owner and co-founder of Appalatch, an environmentally and ethically-responsible apparel company. deGuzman and Grace Gouin founded Appalatch with the lofty mission of revolutionizing the apparel industry.

  • The team at Appalatch, an apparel company based in Asheville, N.C., that uses environmentally responsible production and local fibers for all of their products.

Business Details

Proprietor: Mariano deGuzman and Grace Gouin
Asheville, NC
PH: 828-348-1661 / Website
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