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Soft mannequins are the latest development in the industry today, but...
Edward Gribbin is the President of Alvanon Inc., the apparel fit expert. He has spent 35 years in the industry and tells about making of a mannequin and American apparel industry, to Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi.
Alvanon Inc. was founded in 2001 by Dr. Kenneth Wang who use to manufacture Chidlren's clothing. Using his medical understanding of human anatomy, Dr. Wang recognized that the anatomies of mannequins available on the market were incorrect. Today, Alvanon produces a wide range of mannequins with many popular brands as its clients. The company is spread across the globe and enjoys a double digit growth every year.
Edward Gribbin joined Alvanon in 2006 to launch the AlvaInsight strategic consulting division. He is co-inventor of the Intellifit Body Scanner and a member of eight leading institutions. He is also a member of the Fashion & Apparel Studies Advisory Board of the University of Delaware. Edward earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from St. Joseph's University.
Sir, how long have you been associated with Alvanon? please tell us something about your career growth.
I have been in the industry for 35 years, and I started with a company manufacturing and designing uniforms for schools and corporations. From there, I moved to a hi-tech company that invented a body scanner. The data captured by the body scanner helps apparel producers take correct measurements. In the year 2000, I was asked to do consulting work for a lot of brands and retailers in U.S. I advised them on sizing and fitting issues. I came across Alvanon in 2003, when one of their clients, who was also one of my clients, David Bridal, wanted my advice on the shapes of mannequins. So we thought of collaborating and in 2006, the founder of Alvanon, Dr. Kenneth Wang, asked me if I would consider joining the company. So, I moved to Alvanon and we have been growing and doing good business ever since.
What kind of solutions is Alvanon providing to the apparel industry? And which companies have been your esteemed clients?
We provide a wide range of solutions, from consulting and advice to the tools that companies need in the supply chain to ensure fit standards are executed accurately and consistently. So we start out by collecting a lot of data. We will be in India later this year working on a project to scan consumers in four or five major cities. We have lot of clients who are interested in the data and want clothes that match up better with the bodies of the customers of that population. We first collect the data, analyze it, and provide it to our clients in terms of how they should build their fit standards. After we do that, we build the mannequins and pattern blocks..
We have worked with many corporate companies like Nike, Adidas, Marks and Spencer, Levi’s and Wal-Mart. Our customers include a wide range of luxury brands, as well as high street brands, menswear and women’s wear..
Recently, you have been named to the board of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). How is this association significant for the global apparel market?
Oh I am flattered! I don’t know how my appointment is significant to the global apparel market, but I do hope that it is significant to AAFA members. As a member of the board, I hope that my experience and expertise will help guide the association to better represent its members. AAFA is not just an American association; there are companies and associations all over the world who are it's members. It’s truly an international association and its mission is to guide and assist people who make, sell and market apparel and footwear anywhere in the world. So as a group, we lobby the U.S. Congress for better trade laws and more free trade. So, I hope my association with AAFA does help the global apparel market.
You have also been associated with eight other association. How do you manage your responsibilities?
I have a very busy schedule, but I enjoy every second of it. It’s a very fulfilling opportunity for me to be in the industry for so long and the industry has given me so much. Now, I feel privileged to be able to give back something to it. I do serve on number of educational boards, on a couple of committees around the world, the International Apparel Federation, as well as SPESA, the Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers of the Americas, and ASBCI, the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry. I have a wonderful team behind me at Alvanon that allows me to spend a little extra time with these organizations.
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