A rendering of Evolution St. Louis.

St. Louis is making a play to become an apparel manufacturing hub.

On Thursday, Evolution St. Louis, a company founded by apparel industry executives John Elmuccio and Jon Lewis, cut the ribbon on a high-tech flat-bed knit manufacturing facility that will employ 3-D and seamless-knitting technology to create product in the U.S.

The 32,000-square-foot facility, located at 3830 Washington Boulevard in downtown St. Louis, will use German Stroll machines, 300 of which will be added over the next three years. The first machines will be in place in August and production is expected to begin later this year.

“This facility will revitalize the knit sector, strengthen ‘Made in USA’ fashion, and create good-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs in St. Louis,” Elmuccio said. “We want to build the supply chain of the future.”

Evolution St. Louis will work with major brands, boutique designers and emerging, direct-to-consumer fashion companies to help them move some of their production back to the U.S. It will also work with emerging brands and designers that have difficulty sourcing overseas because of their size.

The $5 million initial project has a wide scope of support including elected leaders, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, St. Louis Economic Development Corp., Saint Louis Fashion Fund and Stoll.

“I have been a believer in this project since Day One,” said Gary Wassner, chief executive officer of Hilldun Corp. “You can’t imagine how many brands come to me and have sourcing issues. Knitwear is something we have not been able to produce in the United States for at least 30 years. The future of fashion and apparel manufacturing in St. Louis is what they make of it. The opportunity is unlimited.”

Susan Sherman, cofounder of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund, said the addition of Evolution St. Louis is “a giant step forward in making St. Louis a fashion capital in the U.S. Their investment will put us on the map as a destination for advanced manufacturing and production.”

Evolution St. Louis expects to create 50 to 60 jobs within the first three years in operation, with additional jobs added as the company expands.

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