Mass Customization in the Fashion Industry: Reinventing the Apparel Retail Business
Before the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, goods and services were produced and marketed based solely on an individual’s preferences. The reality of that era was that mass production technology was just not available to businesses. So, the market was dominated by individual retailers and manufacturers working out of small workshops and storefronts instead of large factories churning out cars, clothes and even food items within mere seconds.
An archetypical consumer in the 1800s would be able to get fully organic, hand grown produce, fresh never frozen meat and of course, a custom-made tailcoat suit with a hat to match. At the advent of the Industrial Revolution, goods and services that were once considered the standard transformed into high-end luxuries, almost overnight.
The mass production of goods such as apparel and accessories resulted in a loss of individuality as factories then could only produce a small set of sizes of clothing. While it was possible to obtain customized (tailored) clothing, it was far more expensive than the mass produced alternative. This new norm continued well into the 2000s, for over two centuries. However, the fashion industry is seeing another paradigm shift, thanks to the emergence of mass customization in the apparel retail business.
What is Mass Customization?
Mass customization in the fashion industry can be defined as the ability to produce apparel, footwear and accessories to meet the consumer’s personalized and customized (custom-tailor like) requirements at near mass-production costs. Simply put, it is the ability to get customers custom-made clothes at retail prices.
In the late 2000s, technical innovations lead to the development of more efficient manufacturing processes as well as the inculcation of modern 3D printing into production and supply chains. This, coupled with the rise of e-commerce (the ability to purchase goods and services online, without accessing a physical store) fueled the rise of mass customization in fashion.
Is Mass Customization Popular in the Fashion Industry Today?
The idea that users can purchase custom made goods with the convenient click of a button has definitely helped entice customers towards luxury fashion labels that offer online customization or design services.
In a recent YouGov survey from April 2018, a whopping 26 percent of US based customers reported to have personalized and purchased a product online. When asked which category of products were most often personalized by said customers, almost 30 percent of responders selected apparel and footwear. The second largest category was food and beverages at 29 percent. Clearly, personalized fashion products are in high demand among consumers today.
The driving factor behind consumers seeking out personalized clothing articles is the ability to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The ability to design footwear or apparel present the customers with a potential to showcase their creativity and express themselves through what they wear. Being able to make a statement is also a chief motivator for consumers to seek out luxury goods. Therefore, users want to access the sweet spot that is the union of premium luxury and customizable apparel.
In recent times, limited stock or custom footwear has attracted customers from all walks of life. Fashion designer collaborations with major retail brands such as Kanye West’s & Adidas’s Yeezy shoes often sell out in mere seconds and resell for massive premiums. This is indicative of the demand for buyers to show creativity through footwear. In the aforementioned survey, a majority of participants claim to follow the “latest fashion trends”. Additionally, almost 40 percent of surveyees claiming to have personalized footwear were in the 18 to 24 year old demographic. Today, young and creative individuals are designing their footwear using premium material and bespoke craftsmanship of luxury fashion labels such as Q by Qs.
The fashion industry is constantly evolving. This is not only true for the designs and trends that go in and out of style every season, but also for the technical innovations and practices that change with time.
Fashion conscious and creative customers what to stand out and have the best possible fit. They expect the apparel to be a reflection of their personality. Apparel personalization is already spreading rapidly across the fashion industry. Now, it is up to the fashion labels to ensure that their clients are provided with this invaluable service.
Q by Qs is a luxury fashion brand that is at the forefront of the consumer facing personalization technology. Q by Qs is redefining the bespoke apparel and footwear industry by offering its clients access to fine craftsmanship and custom design services from the comfort of their homes. We offer our customers a simple yet intuitive user interface that allows them to design and customize their choice of footwear and apparel through our web portal. We aim to provide our customers with an experience reminiscent of the olden days of visiting the tailor, without leaving the comfort of their homes.
We offer premium dress shoes for men and women with the freedom to customize and design your purchase as per your preferences. Our additional offerings include but are not limited to our high-end luxury travel accessory collection as well as our performance optimizing line of golf and casual shoes for men. Browse our collection today and find out how we re-engineer luxury to provide you with the best product possible.
We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas pertaining to mass customization in the fashion industry and the ability to personalize apparel and footwear. Please feel free to contact us with your questions and suggestions. You may also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates, access to exclusive deals and more. Follow us on Instagram to see our latest collections and designs.