Crafted Series


The Man Behind Huston Textile Co.

August 30, 2021

A man of many talents and history to be proud of, in this feature piece, we throw ten questions at Founder, Chief Engineer and Operations Officer - Mr. Ryan Huston.

Where are you from and what shaped you as a young man to pursue your path?

Although my lineage is rooted in Coloma, the origins of the California gold rush, my family headed for Utah when I was a small child. Every summer my maternal grandparents, Bill and Sally Jones, would take their Lincoln town car to Salt Lake, Utah and ride back to Sacramento with me, my sister and brothers in tow. Our adventurous road trips led us to some of California’s most majestic landmarks: from the lush redwoods of the Santa Cruz highway to the salty air of Monterey Bay and the wildflower bloom of the Sierra Nevada foothills. To me, California was a childhood utopia that provided me with a sense of civic duty, lessons in repair and woodworking, and cannonballs in the Hagan community swimming pool. 

What inspired you to start this business?

My family. My grandparents whose courage in their lives have given me so much and will forever be imprinted in this business among other ways, through their support to purchase our first two commercial looms. My mother, whose passion for textiles has kept me around fabrics from an early age and whose dedication to her craft always gives me pride to now apply in my business.

My children. In 2012, we had our first child Hazel. My wife Kat and I found ourselves looking for a 'swaddle' that was made domestically from responsible materials, finding none suitable and deciding to make our own and sell them as well - we saw a business. From that moment on, we've grown in our skills, and infrastructure - originally using hand looms, to now having restored iconic power shuttle looms, textile preparatory equipment and state of the art technologies to produce and keep up with a quickly modernizing industry - never a dull day for our small business.

What skillsets didn't you have starting this business?

Aside from no technical training in textiles or my first industrial machines, I studied electronic and electrical engineering prior to my life in textiles. Originally on the path toward computer science, I even won a robotics competition that sparked the move toward engineering. I now see the field of mechatronics, where I get to include all my engineering, computer science and design experience with textiles, to a modernization plan.

What do most people not know about you?

Few know that my first name is really Douglas, the signature of a long standing family tradition of taking ones middle name rather than their first.

What do most people not know about your business?

What's your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?

I've loved working with my family and community to build unique, innovate, and ultimately heirloom products. The logistical and engineering problems that I encounter are always putting my skills to the test. Interacting with iconic machinery and developing systems for regional fiber applications has been a thrill - always something new in my role as Founder and Chief Engineer that twists my brain and helps me balance practicals with innovations.

Favorite fabric(s) you've ever made? Why? 

Ive always loved the utilitarian fabrics made on our Draper x3 - affectionately named 'Blue Dot' - especially the mid-weight, strong, shirting material. It's one of my favorites because of the functionality and versatility designers find use for it in.

What are your hobbies outside of textiles?

Ive always loved the outdoors - whether I am fishing in the Pacific ocean from a kayak with my brother, taking a four wheel adventure with my kids in the National Parks, or training my new hunting dog - anything outside will be good by me.

5.  Nature / Stewardship through fiber and textile making?

What skills and perspective did you gain from your time in the military?

In my training, and deployment to Iraq, I learned a lot as a young man. From the ground up - I became a better man as I fought alongside my brothers and sisters. We had hard days - and protected each other and our country in a time of need.

What is your design philosophy? (Aeon/waste)

More than not, I am not thinking about any one step, but an entire process. Circular, from materials to machinery to man power

What is your business philosophy?

I started the business with hope that triple bottom line economics would prevail.

How did you learn to work with textiles and repair textile machinery?

How did your experiences in the military inform the founding a truly American made company like Huston Textiles?

How do you spend an ideal weekend in No. California?

Where did your passion for nature and conservation begin in life? Where do textiles fit into regional ecosystems?

What are you most excited about in your business?

New partner/developing on modernization plan - Our goal is to have a digital duplicate of every model that we make. If our factory makes a physical sample, we want to have a digital duplicate so we can use it for color work, material work and beyond. Once you have that 3D asset, there’s so much you can do with it.

lighthouse in our past innovations, and prototypes of textile yardage and shaped products from regional producers/stewards  – Nature/Man and machine demonstrating climate benefitting products and processes.  ***Highlight Ryan’s skills and recognitions (via LEVIS grant – CB wool, PRI – Project relAted investments – pioneering on financial levers to address gaps - 

-To pair with titans of industry in circular, additive,  and innovative opportunities -  

d.     Illustrate towards new Innovations lab and collaborators along with new – fresher branding that represents across spectrums of consumer products and highlights alongside our industry partners. 

What does HTC do notes – 

 Sample prototype production of unique, one of a kinds.  Many people think 3d knitting is as easy as 3d printing – make a file, dump it into the printer and walk away for a few hours.  But….that is not how knitting really works…This technology is a textile manufacturing format that precisely engineers yarns and fabric variations solely where they are needed. 

For creating fabric structure and or functional variations for load or performance, which are mapped into the resulting products and components with a virtually seamless fit and nearly zero waste, there are so many variables in materials, machinery, machine set up feeding systems and even atmosphere of manufacturing and how materials are stored. A few examples include feed tension, yarn structure, Fiber Content, Stitch tension, Take down, material age and end uses. 

7)     So where do we start? 

Huston Textile Company is uniquely positioned as a consulting firm that will focus on knitting and weaving as additive manufacturing. 

We will be responsible for changing how consumers and clients think about their functional advances and products to market.  We have a passion for creating first to market excellence.  We do not build stand-alone prototypes.  We build the infrastructure to create markets, transforming vision into tangible reality.  We build manufacturing platforms where products are mass reproducible in a consistent, efficient, and repeatable platform. 

We are always working to better design, create development strategy, engineer, and scale implementation of manufacturing platforms to build the functional performance demanded by specialty markets. 

Our team and capabilities include textile engineers, product development experts, manufacturing engineers and machine performance experts. 

As R&D and manufacturing strategy experts we help each client reach the right strategic answer for their particular vision and spell out the roadmap to take their vision from sky high back down to a earth driving reality. 

As implementation specialists, we take that road map and execute, create proofs of concepts for our clients to test and explore. We do not sell machinery or materials, but we are functional specialists. 

We modify machinery, mechanical parts, electronic parts, engineer materials, and new feed systems, to attain the precision demanded for the strict tolerances high-tech and haute goods. 

  As textile engineers, we build each project from the fibers (and polymers)  up, from cross sections to fiber counts and performance characteristics of the materials and knitted structures to meet the specific functions of each part of our clients’ projects. 

 Most valuable of all – we are industry experts who bring a tremendous amount to the table – from extraordinary levels of expertise – intellectual property and material developments. 

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