What Is the Future of Customized Clothing in India?
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Customized clothing, a term generally misinterpreted and inaccurately used has seen a rise in demand in the recent times. This is primarily due to an increased need for clothes that fit well and leave a lasting impression. By definition, customized clothing refers to clothes that are made specifically according to the needs of an individual, solving the prevailing problem of ill-fit clothes.
Mass-produced clothes are being taken off-shelf as quickly as possible, literally and figuratively. There are more collections in a year than there are seasons and people are presented with myriad choices to choose from. It is only a matter of time when we are disturbed by the very next man wearing the same design as we are but both ill-fit.
Here enters, Bespoke clothing! On-demand apparel manufacturing has never been more desperately needed. Right from the big players like Amazon, to small startups, the idea of catering to the minutiae of a customer’s preference is being looked at with glistened eyes. The receiving end of this door is more than happy to get pampered and they don’t mind paying the premium for this service. With a rise in disposable income in India by 130% over the last 5 years, the need of power dressing at the behest of some brand calling you ‘L’ ‘XL’, with as many X’s you may want to add, is not so entertained.
Technology: Making it better
India is more close to the concept of customized clothing than anyone ever will be. We have been brought up around the “jugaad” system of approach wherein any problem could be solved with a few fixes. As close as we are to tailors fixing every seam of our off-the-rack jacket, the farther we have brought ourselves to not taking ill-fitted clothes as its substitute.
Seeing this change of wiring in the millennials’ minds, big companies are not hesitating in introducing technology into it. Technologies like 3D printing and Augmented Reality are making a wave with the benefits they are bringing in, reducing turnaround time and wastage, increasing the efficiency while giving a seamless finish, and mind you, the list is just getting started!
Taking measurements is an art in which 3D-body scanners will surely be the best artisans in the near future and a basic amenity in fashion stores. A 3D body scanner allows one to capture the shape of a person’s body and obtain a highly accurate 3D model from it. Soon while walking a store, your body will be scanned with a 3D scanner and next thing you will be doing is assembling and customizing a unique garment for yourself.
When close to 4000 needles work together, a blazer under 90 minutes is not a distant dream. Did we mention that it’s a robotic arm? With Digital India and startup India making waves in the Indian economy, this revolution would shake the industry even more. The kind of innovation it has to offer; will revolutionize the way we shop for clothes. A customer has to pick from various types of collars, cuffs, buttons, etc., and the product would be ready in the blink of an eye. Whatever happened to ‘customer relationship management’? They won’t be complaining now!
Bringing the Change
Here is an opportunity for India to transform that 80% unorganized stitching sector into organized. Even if a small percentage of India’s retail goods are made-on-demand, it would bring down the costs heavily. Also, there is no inventory mismanagement or keeping a slack since there is no inventory to begin with.
The reduced burden of inventory and financials would reflect highly on Indian brands’ strategy. They will have more time to think to react to trends, innovation and R&D. If anything, this kind of change would embody a unique experience which the innovators and early adopters happily accept.
Automation and the advent of technology into the field of customized clothing will bring about skilled workers who know how to operate the machinery and software. This will, in turn, create new job opportunities. Make no mistake that the pre and post-production steps are not all consumed by this replacement. The garment would still go through the process of washing, drying and finishing. It’s only the front-runner that is being modified with. The future looks promising to those who take challenges on the face of it and India is gearing up for the same.