Personalisation

Personalised Apparel: How Customisation Adds Value

by Sam Taylor | 18/03/2024
Personalised Apparel: How Customisation Adds Value

Third-generation garment producer, Samantha Taylor runs The Good Factory, a company specialising in sourcing fabrics, the development of sustainable sportswear and advising businesses on how they can implement sustainability throughout the manufacturing process and supply chain. Ahead of her talk at the 2024 Personalisation Experience conference (20 March at RAI Amsterdam, The Netherlands), she delves deeper into how print personalisation can add value to the customer while maintaining a healthy profit margin and improving a brand’s sustainability efforts.

Personalisation is much more than adding a name to a product. It’s the idea of creating a unique design that can deliver added value for customers.

Print personalisation can be an incredibly strong tool to achieve this because, ultimately, print helps us connect to our memories. And there’s something really interesting about the possibility of creating something, such as a garment, that the consumer will form an emotional attachment to, and then wear for much longer, extending the longevity of the garment.

Creating a personalised item that we cherish and want to hold onto contributes to a more sustainable consumption mindset. And, if we consider that every year, an estimated 100 billion garments are made and 10% - 40% of these are never sold, it’s essential to look at how sustainability and personalisation can work hand in hand.

I also see a huge opportunity for gifted personalised garments here. We’re much more likely to remember a beautifully printed silk scarf, for example, in a design and colour that really speaks to us, than an off-the-shelf piece. And I believe that’s where we’ll witness personalisation helping smaller businesses and designers break through the ‘fast fashion’ market.

By creating and selling unique, bespoke pieces, and capitalising on the rising consumer demand for personalised garments, I’m hoping that we get to a point in personalised fashion where young designers are placing successful collections that speak to people, and are also well thought through in terms of the lifecycle of the product.

Competing with the big players

One of the key challenges and the age-old question is addressing pricing discrepancies compared to fast fashion. But when we look at the manufacturing models used by fast-fashion brands, we won’t be able to beat their pricing, because it’s founded on exploitation within the supply chain.

However, while personalisation can’t compete with bulk-manufactured fast fashion on price, it can help us be much more adaptive and tell a strong story to the customer in terms of the sustainability of the supply chain.

And one of the most cost-effective and powerful tools available to us to personalise a garment is print. I already touched on the emotional value-add of personalised print above, but there’s another side to it which can boost sustainability benefits for garment manufacturers and brands – fabric recycling.

A lot of the fabrics used for garments use blended fibres, which are incredibly difficult to recycle. And once you add fabric dye to the equation, it becomes almost impossible. This is where print comes in. When garments are personalised through print, we’re just adding a top layer to the fabric, so the weight and the amount of chemicals that have to be stripped out are a whole lot lower. So unwanted items can be fed into a fibre-to-fibre recycling route. That way, we can personalise a garment and make it creative and colourful, but without jeopardising the ability to recycle those materials.

My session titled ‘The Future Growth of Personalised Apparel’ will explore how personalised, printed garments can add value for consumers and help brands be more sustainable while maintaining a healthy profit margin, touching on over-production, garment lifecycles and resale options.

See Samantha Taylor’s session, ‘The Future Growth of Personalised Apparel‘ at the Personalisation Experience conference on 20 March 2024, 10:35 - 11:05 am. To register your attendance, visit www.personalisationexperience.com.

by Sam Taylor Back to News

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