Material Exchange Ventures, a Stockholm based start-up has announced the launch of the Open Marketplace. The Open Marketplace has been over two years in the making – a digital material sourcing solution for footwear and apparel brands and suppliers to communicate, share materials and manage relationships in a totally digital environment. The Open Marketplace is launching early for suppliers to enable them to prepare their materials for the brands and buyers joining in April. The Open Marketplace arrives at a crucial time for the footwear and apparel industries, as we move into a new digital era. The adoption by footwear and apparel brands of digital product creation and 3D workflows has been accelerated through the disruption caused by the global pandemic. The Open Marketplace is a new way of sharing and managing materials, it empowers suppliers to digitise their products and easily and efficiently share with their current brand customers; at the same time, enabling them to expand their network and directly interact with prospects, to form new relationships. Material suppliers can upload their entire product catalogue of materials for easier sharing and inventory management. With data at its core the Open Marketplace allows suppliers to attach detailed material attribute data to their materials. Material Exchange worked closely with GS1 US – an internationally recognized information standards organization – for two years, as part of the Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative, along with leading fashion brands to develop the globally recognized attribute standards for digitizing raw materials. The standardized data provides brands with consistent and accurate material data for product development processes. Sustainability is a strong driver within the fashion industry, pressure is now on both brands and suppliers to be more transparent on their sustainability initiatives and practices. Within the platform, suppliers are able to group materials by sustainability as well as upload and showcase their sustainability accreditations and testing certificates to brands. The Open Marketplace helps to drive sustainability by reducing the reliance on physical samples. Suppliers can reduce costs and improve their carbon footprint by sharing one digital samples with multiple brands. Material Exchange helps suppliers in the complete digitalisation process of their materials, by offering a high-quality material digitalisation service that includes scanning, processing, rendering as well as photography and videography to help suppliers digitise their material inventory, create design-worthy material samples and showcase these materials to brands. Digitized materials can be used in 2D and 3D CAD tools and rendering software like CLO, Adobe, Browzwear and more. The Material Exchange Scanning Hubs are located in strategic locations around the world, with Dongguan, China and Stuttgart, Germany being the first hubs opening in March and Mumbai, India in summer. Mumbai, India is the most recent location to add to Material Exchange’s global network of offices, opened at the start of the year, the India branch aims to help Indian material suppliers connect to new and existing customers and expand their network globally. Material Exchange plans to help the Indian material industry sustainably grow for the future, by enabling suppliers to share more materials with more brands in a digital form – reducing the reliance on physical materials. “We are super excited to be launching the Open Marketplace for suppliers in March, and brands in April. We have worked hard on the product for over two years, to create a solution that delivers real change for the industry. We have listened to the needs of brands and suppliers, and the challenges they face daily, this solution addresses those issues and will help create a more streamlined, efficient and sustainable industry for the future,” Darren Glenister, CEO, Material Exchange.