Made-to-order brands are inching their way onto the runway at NYFW.
Made-to-order and made-to-measure clothing have grown in popularity among consumers and brands. For some, the business model ensures size inclusivity by creating garments designed specifically for one person’s body and not an industry standard. For others, made-to-order cuts down on excess material or too much inventory. It can also mean getting products to the consumer faster than the typical runway style. Some in the made-to-measure space have tried and failed, like Zozo with the Zozosuit and custom footwear brand Shoes of Prey. In terms of runway collections, Badgley Mischka had a very early iteration of made-to-order in 2018, using real-time audience feedback via an app to determine what styles would go into production.
But this NYFW, industry veteran Rebecca Minkoff and Julia Haart of newly launched brand e1972 showed they believe in the potential of the model with the launch of collections composed exclusively of made-to-order styles.
Over the weekend, Elite World Group launched e1972, a size-less luxury brand headed up by Elite CEO and chief creative officer Julia Haart. The collection is 98% made-to-order, Haart said.
Rather than using standard sizes, e1972 uses body-scanning technology to create garments made specifically for a shopper’s body shape and size. Customers can take their own measurements from home using the e1972 app.
“With a normal brand, if you want something made-to-measure, it’s going to take six to nine months. For us, it takes four to six weeks, because I have all small ateliers working for me,” said Haart. E1972 is working with smaller ateliers, many of which are struggling because they’re not working with the big conglomerates. They have available time to take on new projects and can produce garments quickly.
Haart said her approach to made-to-measure clothing will also reduce the cost of the brand’s luxury garments, given that e1972 will have “almost no overhead,” she said. A faux fur, faux alligator dress sells for $12,695, while a metallic moto coat and matching mini skirt are $5,015.
Elite’s 32 agencies will act as e1972 stores: Customers wanting an experience and to get fitted in-person versus through an app can go there for a glass of champagne and a fitting.
“Customers get to order something that is custom-made in their size without feeling body-shamed, and it can be delivered to their door and ordered from their bedroom,” said Haart.
It’s not just new brands tackling made-to-order garments this year. Industry veterans are moving into this space as well. Leading into the brand’s 15th anniversary, Rebecca Minkoff announced over the weekend a unisex children’s collection, Little Minkoff, for ages 4-12. The brand is working with technology company Resonance to get the collection up and running. Rebecca Minkoff is using Resonance’s proprietary software platform, create.ONE, to make garments from the children’s collection as soon as an order is placed. In 2017, Resonance was working with three companies but was up to seven by October 2018.
Products from the children’s collection are ready within seven to nine days of the order. By operating this way, the brand hopes to avoid excess inventory in warehouses and discarded items in landfills.
“We want to test it this [with children’s], and you can use your imagination for how we can use this for other parts of our brand,” said Rebecca Minkoff. “But we want it to be as pervasive as possible.”