Disrupting Your Closet: How Customized Clothing Can Remake the Apparel Industry

Maria Lernerman and Chris Mack discuss the applications of technology in the fashion world.

Key Takeaways


  • Custom clothing has been the domain of the wealthy since the early twentieth century. With technological innovation, though, customization is re-emerging as a viable option for mainstream consumers.
  • Apparel, footwear, and accessories companies can benefit from offering customization as it enables greater customer data collection as well as better inventory management in the form of fewer returns and less wasted stock.
  • Consumers benefit from customization as it offers an engaging shopping experience and delivers a product that better meets individual needs and tastes.
  • Though cost remains a barrier to widespread adoption, new technologies including 3D knitting, body scanning, and augmented reality are beginning to make it cheaper and faster to produce customized apparel in high volumes and help consumers to envision themselves in their own designs.
  • Early adopters of custom manufacturing technologies, textile technology companies, and small fashion labels should benefit from the customization trend, while brands that charge premium prices for undifferentiated products could lose share to competitors that offer customization.



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