Customer x Brand Collaboration: Mass customization

Collaboration strategy is not a new story in fashion landscape. Each year many brands prefer to enrich their product line with another partner. Normally, collabs enter the market such as brand x brand partnership, brand x designer, or high fashion x fast fashion. However, in these days, fashion companies have discovered another niche, called mass customization. And their partner is their own clientele. In other words, brands and customers are hand-in-hand under the roof of customization.

DSC_0129 (2)Apparel customization, though, has just become a thriving trend, it is not a novelty for the industry. It has been in the system since 1990s. Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the leaders. In 1994 Levi’s introduced its Personal Pair program to the retail market. The brand’s intention was to tailor the perfect fitted jeans.

On the other hand, that day’s technology was very limited, which drove the program’s performance as cumbersome. Moreover, it was not possible to mention a social media effect. Likewise, people could not share their experience, and an epidemic didn’t spread digitally between consumers, as it happens today. At the end, the program turned customer-annoying, and it was stopped at the beginning of 2000s.

That market reality reflected to researches as well. For example, Paul Zipkin emphasized in his article -The Limits of Mass Customization- that “Demand for customization, moreover, is limited and likely to remain so.”

However, what we see today is completely opposite of what Zipkin anticipated two decades ago.


untitledDemand for customization is increasing, and going beyond its historical frontier.


The difference between yesterday and today is that the change of consumers’ behavior and expectations over time. Not surprisingly, this change has burgeoned from technological advances and social media effect. Those have driven the brands to refocus on customization but this time with an evident difference. Putting digital first.

All you need is just one click.

Click-to-design

Fashion companies’ new offer is DIY, but in this term D goes for design, instead of do. Bymon purse the help of 3D customization configurators launched on brands’ websites customers can easily create what they want, even from scratch. For example, recently founded brand Mon Purse, provides this experience to consumers.

On its website Design Your Own journey begins by choosing your requirement. After deciding either a leather good or a handbag, all you need is to enjoy while creating your own bag, the rest will be held by Mon Purse.

What is the offering for the non-technology-driven customers who also demand to customize their fashionable apparel?

Visit our store

Mon Purse suggests the customers, who still don’t like using computer-based programs, to visit the stores and get help from sales assistants. Unsurprisingly, it is not the only brand driving clients to physical points of sale.

Italian footwear brand Superga also calls its clientele to the stores to design their own sneakers. For example, there was a special offer for the last Easter Holiday. Superga customers were invited to brand new Westfield London store to create their own unique shoes by the assistance of Superga’s talented artists.

store

This venture also helps increasing the foot traffic of bricks-and-mortar stores which have been affected by online platforms over the last years. Additionally, it carries people’s shopping experience to a unique level.

Unique Shopping Experience

unique shopping experience

The uniqueness is coming from not having to choose what fashion market produce instead creating something what you desire with your own imagination. Similarly, a McKinsey report indicates that it brings the fun alongside.


untitledMany customers describe product configuration as a fun experience.”


While this side of coin is a unique but brief experience, in the other side lies something timeless.

Create your timeless piece

Particularly, fast fashion industry has a significant speed regarding to fill the shelves with new apparel. Nonetheless, this market has the lack of providing timeless products. Mass customization is therefore an impressive option for mass market customers. Adding an individual sign on their clothing would turn a simple product into a timeless piece which also would have a power to generate a long standing relationship between the owner and the apparel.

Hereby, it is easy to say customization-oriented brands will be increasing in the future. As customers, we can create, design our needs and mark a real signature on our style. So that we are the new co-creators of fashion brands.

From this perspective, the next step of mass customization could be a fashion show presenting customer x brand collaboration products?

Why not?


Resources:
Made-To-Order Fashion Goes Mainstream
The Limits of Mass Customization
Innovative Mass Customization in the Fashion Industry
Why This Fashion Startup Is Letting Its Customers Design Its Products


Photos: Pixabay, from collection


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