The advent of new digital fabrication technologies are set to drive a revolution in physical manufacturing worldwide. This chiefly involves making the tools of factory production available at the click of a mouse with no limitations or penalties for short production runs. This means that the production cost of a single item can now be the same as the cost per item of producing 10,000 of something. This new technology will bring a great potential for “Mass Customization”. Customers will be able to bring their own unique design and aesthetic needs to a garment with the cost effectiveness of one produced by 10,000s.
Knyttan, a London based vertically integrated start up is at the forefront of this new age of manufacturing. They are however unlike regular vertically integrated small fashion companies. Knyttan’s digital production system completely changes how these machines are controlled, eliminating the need for expensive technicians by replacing them with software. “This brings the minimum size of an order down to one, meaning the company can make 1000 unique products for about the same price as 1000 products that are the same.”
The benefits of new mass customization technology are not only felt by the consumer’s new found freedom but the companies themselves. This process radically reduces the risk of unsold inventory at the end of the season and avoids the cash flow issues endemic to young fashion labels, who must pay suppliers for production before they receive payment for their goods. Knyttan’s approach also eliminates the high upfront design and sampling costs associated with traditional fashion manufacturing, as well as the long lead times it normally takes to go from concept to production, allowing the company to respond quickly to trends.
- The global impact, national impact, and local/personal impact.
Its a mutually beneficial advancement in clothing manufacturing. It allows not only the personal benefits of being able to create your own garment, but extreme cost saving to the company itself. I It also affects the environment as it reduces a huge amount of the waste hidden within the clothing industry.
2) Forecast the range of impact over the short term and long term.
I think short term these companies will begin to be noticed, people will start trying them out maybe they will branch out into other garments outside of knitwear. I think in the long term that this may be the future of manufacturing, of online shopping, and the way we get our clothing.
3) What could you do, or could be done to create the greatest positive impact on the future.
I think people need to try it out, this company needs to market the hell out of it. I think also diversifying the customization options, as they are not completely customizable at this point, will also build interest.
4) What could you do, or could be done to create the greatest negative impact on the future?
I think without marketing and showing people that it is affordable, it is accessible to masses, Knyttan and companies like it will not succeed.
5) Which region of the future does this relate closest to or does this fit in between or perhaps a region of the future you’d like to define for yourself.
The age of Mass Customization
Questions for the Class
Are you attracted to the idea of customizable clothing?
Would you buy Knitwear from Knyttan’s service now, or in the future?
Does it bother you that it is not fully customizable yet, and would you be more inclined to use it if it was?