By Samiksha Bajaj and Abhishek Bajaj, Co-Founders, Samshék
The garment industry has experienced a digital wave in recent years in the field of technology and fashion retail. The need for sustainable fashion is one of the major reasons for technology to become so synonymous with fashion in today’s era. The textile industry is the second-largest polluter after oil. In the era of fast fashion approx. 3.8 billion clothing is dumped annually. Mass production of garments leads to a huge amount of textile waste. Thanks to factors like more efficient manufacturing, digital inventory options and virtual customisation, it has led to the invention of mass customisation—the production of products that meet individual tastes—has become more mainstream.
Mass customisation is not only specific to an individual’s personal preferences but is also helping in making the fashion industry more ethical. Mass customisation is slowly but steadily creating an impact on our textile industry.
But what exactly is mass customisation?
Customisation has been a part of the fashion industry since the beginning of times. Due to sociological changes, it is becoming a larger part of production and sales in the fashion industry. Mass customisation combines the personalisation and flexibility of custom made products with mass production and specific target groups. 63% of women struggle to find the right fit in retail clothing. Whereas Mass production of garments leads to a huge amount of waste. The sizes made are mostly XS-XXL which sometimes cause poor fitting, and 70% of the time, the garments are either returned or rejected without even wearing once.
Mass customisation reduces the chances of returns, eliminates excess stock inventory and thereby leads to zero or no inventory. Zero inventories saves us huge amount of annual waste being dumped into the environment. According to an April 2018 YouGov survey, 26% of US consumers prefer to personalized a product. Apparel and footwear (29%) as well as food and beverages (29%) were the most common categories for buying personalized items. Fashion technology plays a big part in today textile industry. It bridges the gap between sustainability and excess inventory. Technology in fashion can be a saviour to the organic fibres is being replaced by the synthetic fibres. By using digital customisation with organic natural fibres, we can work towards a better and improved industry with less excess inventory and no textile waste.
Custom-made process is often stereotyped as a slow and cumbersome process wherein the deliverables are received within a time frame of 15-21 days which is why most consumers opt for retail sizing even if it doesn’t fit them the most time.
The time lag is the major challenge for mass customisation, but thanks to recent developments, traditional custom-made techniques are slowly becoming extinct and are replaced by digital customisation processes. In digital customisation process, customisation options are visible in the form of 3D mapping wherein the consumer can physically see and do the changes they want. It’s easy and efficient. Another interesting retail innovation for measurements (in custom-made orders) is 3D body scanning. 3D body scanners measures your 110 body measurements in just 5 seconds enabling to capture your exact measurements with an accuracy of 99.9%
Also, with the advent of technology like artificial intelligence and digital customisation, the consumers have become more accepting. They understand the pain point and the excess inventory which goes in the mass production. In the coming year’s mass production will be replaced with mass customisation, leading to no excess inventory and zero waste. When the garments are customised specially for the client, the chances of the garment to fit the consumer are very higher compared to the mass production and it leads to zero waste.
Many brands like H&M conscious, Levis are going sustainable. Even fast-fashion retailer Zara has announces that by 2025 they will be producing clothing from 100% sustainable fabrics. Whereas tech-based fashion start-up like Samshék has undergone a whole sustainable manufacturing process from fabrics till production. Mass customisation creates a sustainable approach as compared to mass production because in mass customisation the garment is made for the very first time and for the last time, so there is zero waste of fabric and no excess inventory. This is an issue globally because all the big retail brands produce a large number of garments and half of it goes the waste, they either throw it or burn it.
Switching to mass customisation and digital customisation with usage of natural fibres which are eco-friendly is a sustainable step to the future of fashion we can take as consumers, because if we don’t demand it, how will the industry produce it. A better way to be fashionable yet responsible and be a part in bringing back natural and organic fibres to the textile industry.
Mass Customisation-How it is done?
Many are under the impression that mass customisation is a lengthy and cumbersome procedure, but by incorporating technology this concept can easily prove scalable for the masses. With the advent of technology, traditional garment practices can easily be converted into a fast semi- automated manufacturing. The measurement taken by a seamstress is being replaced by 3D body scanner technology. 3D body scanning is very beneficial because it takes 110 measurements in less than 5 seconds which makes it so easy for the consumer and also for the brand to create an outfit that fits properly. Also, it saves a lot of time. Option to digitally provide their personalised measurements through virtual screens present at the store provides a tech personalised retail experience as well. The automated cad pattern making offers a fast pattern making which becomes easy and more versatile.
The automated cad pattern making offers a fast pattern making which becomes easy and more versatile. Semi-automated manufacturing has helped in manufacturing the products fast and it offers a great fit to the consumer. It is going to be a game-changer for mass customisation in the coming years. The consumers are offered with the option to change the style and fit of the garment online by just clicking on the website, rather than trying end number of styles that suits them in retail clothing, with the availability of digital customisation it takes a step forward towards mass customisation. Mass customisation and semi-automated manufacturing gives ease to fast delivery. The concept of mass customisation leads to no excess inventory, zero textile waste due to inventory turned into digital form. Digital inventory makes it more sustainable and environment-friendly. Since everything is digitalised, the process becomes much more efficient and faster.