What is Made-to-Order and how has this approach affected, in the past, and will it continue to affect the textile industry? What is the impact it generates in terms of sustainability? Let’s find out together!
The Evolution of Made-to-Order
Made-to-Order is an approach to the textile industry aimed at offering customized and personalized products to customers, creating garments and accessories that perfectly embrace specific individual requirements. This concept has ancient roots, but has been revitalized, as if in a renaissance, in recent years, thanks to technology and the fashion industry’s and consumers’ increasing focus on sustainability.
The origins of the Made-to-Order concept go back centuries, when tailors and artisans created custom-made garments for nobles and aristocrats. During the Industrial Revolution, mass production took over, making ready-to-wear clothing more accessible and affordable, sacrificing, however, the element of customization. This trend has been moderating in recent decades: the average consumer has become increasingly discerning and looking for a unique, made-to-measure shopping experience. This has led to new growth for Made-to-Order, allowing consumers to actively participate in the creation of their clothing.
How does Made-to-Order work today?
Today, thanks to the advent of new technologies and forward production systems, Made-to-Order has become more accessible and convenient. Consumers can select a basic style and customize it, to their own taste and liking, through the selection of colors, fabrics, sizes, details and more, making the final product fit their preferences.
Fashion brands, even and especially in the luxury segment, often use agile production techniques, such as on-demand production, which avoids overstocking and reduces waste.
The benefits: a view to sustainability
One of the main benefits offered by Made-to-Order is its sustainable approach. Let’s see how:
- Waste reduction: since products are made only on demand, the concept of “excess inventory” becomes obsolete. This dramatically reduces the waste of materials and resources often associated with mass production
- Lower environmental impact: on-demand production reduces energy and water consumption, helping to decrease the overall environmental impact of the textile industry
- Lower carbon footprint: by reducing the transportation of ready-made products from factory to warehouse to stores, Made-to-Order reduces carbon emissions associated with logistics
- Economic sustainability: by reducing the need to produce and store large quantities of garments, brands can invest in high-quality materials and more sustainable production techniques, creating a more responsible and efficient production cycle
- Customization and durability: tailored garments tend to be more valued by customers, increasing the likelihood that they will be worn longer over time, and reducing the life cycle of clothing
- Improved customer relationship: offering a personalized shopping experience strengthens the bond between customers and brands, encouraging long-term loyalty and reducing the need for impulsive, repeated and frequent purchases
Why adopt a Made-to-Order approach?
In essence, then, Made-to-Order represents a production model that meets the growing consumer demand for customized and sustainable products. This approach makes it possible to reduce waste, resource consumption and environmental impact, while promoting the enhancement of craftsmanship and traditional skills. Its adoption represents a clear opportunity for the fashion industry, in stark contrast to the mindset that favors fast-fashion, that can enable a shift toward more responsible and sustainable production, while also enhancing the customer experience.