By Bibhuti Dash
New Delhi, February 20 (IANSlife): There has been a significant shift in the fashion choices of customers and they now prefer clothes that offer the right mix of traditional and contemporary styles. This has prompted retailers and designers to adapt their business models to meet this demand. The demographic and psychographic transformation is driving a noticeable change in the fit preference and uniqueness of products in the Indian apparel industry. This was previously deeply rooted in the vastness and richness of Indian culture.
Since the availability and accessibility of ready-to-wear brands was limited, most people wore custom clothing in the past. Due to its high cost and limited use, ready-to-wear was considered chic. People have embraced pre-made clothing over time due to its inexpensive and readily available nature. Demand shifted to pre-made garments as the industry gained traction and began to take advantage of economies of scale. However, while ready-to-wear garments were renowned for their convenience, custom fits emerged to the fore with their promise of choice, flexibility and a better fit.
The transition from ready-to-wear to made-to-measure
This dramatic shift in consumer preferences and demand for ready-to-wear was no accident. The movement was gradual and was largely driven by drastic changes in the business plans of players in the precast industry, which then directly appealed to buyers. This included expanding the range of products available, lowering prices, and speeding up the garment production process. Raw materials were gathered from local areas and garments were sewn in a mass production factory to bring about this change.
The custom apparel sector, on the other hand, has seen a notable recovery in recent years. Prices for ready-to-wear, especially designer ones, have risen dramatically over the past decade. Yet consumer demand and the need for multiple choices have remained constant. As a result, in today’s world of fashionistas, an increasing number of people are looking for affordable ways to get their desired designs and cuts. This explains why people are now turning to custom clothing.
The climate-conscious sustainable option
We are seeing the rise of custom fashion style designs using extremely efficient and sustainable production methods as shoppers become more aware of the effects of fast fashion. The popularity and availability of customization, especially in sustainable fashion, among shoppers has increased due to the scarcity of affordable off-the-shelf brands. It has surpassed the value of the personalization clothing sector, making it a luxury product reserved for ultra-professionals. However, it is now becoming a preferred choice for people from different strata.
Because each garment is made to order, there is a huge reduction in material or fabric waste and energy consumption. Custom clothing offers shoppers the satisfaction of knowing that they own clothing that is completely unique to their style and personality, as opposed to ready-to-wear brands.
A zero waste model
Incorrect sizing is one of the most common reasons for online clothing returns. Producing clothes based on consumer measurements is good for both customers and the environment. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and finding items that fit us well and meet our style requirements can sometimes be difficult. Custom clothing is a viable solution to this problem, as customers will be able to create (3D/AR/MR) and order clothing they will love and wear for a long time. This business strategy makes it possible to create only what is necessary, without consuming additional resources. In this way, made-to-measure solves two major problems in the clothing industry: overproduction and waste.
Over the past few decades, the clothing and fashion environment has been constantly changing. The industry has shifted from a focus on custom apparel to off-the-shelf accessories, with bespoke apparel gradually taking over the throne and striving to maintain it. Fashion trends and customer preferences that have dominated businesses have changed over time and are mainly responsible for the many dynamic changes in the industry. Based on current trends, the industry is rapidly moving towards tailored clothing, and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. It would therefore be appropriate to say that bespoke clothing is, without a doubt, the future of fashion.
(Bibhuti Dash, Founder and CEO, LOUOJ)