Áslaug Magnúsdóttir, co-founder and CEO of Tinker Tailor writing for The Business of Fashion:
Today, I think fashion is moving towards customization. To date, fashion on the Internet has ridden three waves. The first was a promotional wave, where a website was a marketing tool to support a brand or a store. People went online to research products, but largely bought offline in physical stores.
When e-commerce started to pick up, fashion rode the next wave, which was all about product selection and pricing.
Next, it was about access and curation. Fashion surfed nimbly on this wave. When selection and deals were no longer enough, the opportunity shifted to providing hard to find things — even at full price. It was in this environment that Moda Operandi was born as a members-only, pre-tail site, offering customers early access to covetable runway looks from luxury fashion brands.
But now there is another wave upon us. This wave is about expression and self. It is about empowering people to put their personal stamp on things they care about. It is about helping people create items that cater specifically to who they are. This wave is about customization.
Magnúsdóttir is spot on! As society becomes more homogenized — we as social animals have a desire and desperate need to stand out from the pack, and yet be part of the herd. The boom in the number of tattooed people is a reflection of that social need to standout and tell your own story. Clothes have always allowed us to standout. But as the world has become more uniform — thanks largely in part to the rise of fast fashion.
There is an opportunity to capture the shifting zeitgeist. I find newer services such as made-to-measure shirtmaker Trumaker marry the economics and convenience of the Internet with a degree of personalization that is plenty for normal people. I don’t think I am a designer, but I do know what colors, fabrics and collars I like on my shirts and how I want them to fit me. (Hint: not slim)
I ended up ordering a couple of shirts from them on a lark and found the experience so good that I ordered a few more and have even recommended them to my most finicky friends. Though twice the price of Banana Republic or J. Crew or Brooks Brothers, they are many times the quality and a 100 times better when it comes to fit.
I think it is not just fashion — the growth in the number of startups experimenting with new kinds of food delivery such as my friend Rob and Emily LaFave’s Forage. Mass customization in other industries seems to be on the horizon — and while I don’t think anyone has really figured it out, we are definitely going to see more talk of customization.
3 thoughts on “Why Customization is the Future”
Don’t typically comment but have to completely agree with you (& Magnúsdóttir) here. In a world where everyone wants to fit in but be slightly different, this must be the next wave in fashion.
Take Flint and Tinder Denim on Demand for instance. The conversation their founder had with Siemens on building a fully customized buying experience for the consumer, according to the Siemens exec, was the way to bring manufacturing back to America. We have a humble (extremely small) hand in this as well with EXODUS but see it coming more and more.
Thanks for sharing…
and here I just thought it was the shift top the Aquarian Age and its celebratory way it empowers individuality and its collective way of organizing so many individual beings, concepts and fashion trends. It was the internet the whole tym. I guess I should put the astrology books away and get a real job.
So true Om , and i guess some concepts thought long back takes time to mature and hit at right time… customisation is a thing we know and have been doing it from many moons in an offline world…though doing it in online world took its own time as trust, convenience and being part of the tribe had to pick up in the masses… Now waiting for channels like Facebook or other companies to enhance this experience around customisation (or) is it a fundamental shift we are going to see in the online space?
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