Meeting the test of wear and tear

There’s more than a pattern and needle and thread needed to create today’s clothing, and the Apparel Innovation Centre in Calgary, Alberta was set up in 2015 to help businesses — from start-ups to big name companies — develop innovative new products.

The result of a partnership between Olds College and Alberta Garment, the Apparel Innovation Centre was launched with funding from the federal government’s Department of Western Economic Diversification.

The Centre provides unique services to help companies commercialize innovative products. That includes testing clothing such as winter jackets, wearable technology, thermal comfort for athletic wear, safe clothing for welders, and military clothing, all in one of the only full-scale thermal-comfort testing chambers in North America. The Centre also has the only chamber in the world capable of measuring the protection clothing can offer from steam and hot fluid.

The Apparel Innovation Centre also helps entrepreneurs develop products, from concept to final prototype, offering design assistance, creation of prototypes, digitization of patterns and size grading.

The Centre offers training programs for production workers and product developers for the apparel industry in Canada and plans to add more structured vocational training for prospective sewers and designers, while also providing internships and practicum opportunities for Olds College Fashion Institute students.

In its first 1.5 years of full operation, the Centre worked with over 55 companies, tested more than 65 apparel products, helped Alberta companies create 18 new products that were taken into market and attracted the attention of global companies including Canada Goose and Lululemon.

Industry: Manufacturing
Funded by: Alberta Garment Manufacturing, Western Diversification Program (WDP), Western Economic Diversification Canada

About Olds College

Olds College has evolved from humble beginnings in 1913 as an Agriculture and Home Economics School to the premier Canadian integrated learning and applied research... Learn more