Is Time Right for Custom-Made Clothing?
It’s been tried before and
didn’t work. Consumers have had the option of buying custom-made clothing,
such as Levi’s “Personal Pair” jeans in the nineties, but found that
buying off-the-rack was good enough, especially when price was factored
Now, a number of start-ups
in the Boston area are looking at bringing customization of clothing
and accessories to the masses even as the nation seeks to come out of
the worst economy since the Great Depression.
“When I grew up, in the 1970s,
we all wore our hair the same way and we wore the same clothes,” Deb Bessemer,
CEO of Paragon Lake Inc., told The Boston Globe.
Ms. Bessemer’s company sells software and a touchscreen display that enables
consumers to create their own jewelry pieces.
“The new generation of people in their 20s is more individualistic. They don’t
want the same ring or pair of earrings that their friends also have,” she said.
Another company, NetVirta, believes it has a solution to address one of
the reasons consumers don’t buy customized clothing. Consumers typically
pick a size (small, medium, etc.) and make the purchase. Customized clothing
takes a lot of measurements to get the fit right. NetVirta is developing
software that makes use of a series of six to eight photos of a consumer
at different angles to build a three-dimensional model used to create
Questions: Is the time right for custom-made clothing for large numbers
of consumers? Can the price be brought down with technology to create
a mass market for individualized items?