A technology platform for customising and manufacturing knitted garments
Unmade are building an end-to end system – infrastructure on which other clothing companies can build their own customer-facing interfaces for customising and purchasing knitted garments. The customer interface is web-based, and is focused on personalisation:
Personalisation editors allow customers to directly modify the clothes they buy, before they are made. Change colours, shift patterns and add monograms to create pieces that retain a designer’s original aesthetic, but are unique to the individual.
HOW IS IT REDISTRIBUTIVE?
By allowing for customer-driven customisation of products through a web-based interface, Unmade claims to create “deeper customer relationships” 2 that can enhance brand perception. These interfaces are designed to integrate with brands’ existing ecommerce platforms. They also integrate through from the customer interface to the digital knitting machines that produce the garments:
Once orders are placed and paid for, Unmade’s factory partners move into action. We enable existing knitwear factories to add unique orders alongside existing bulk production to enable one-offs at the same unit cost as mass production.
Customisation may prove to be one of the most attractive benefits of redistributed manufacturing. If each product is produced to order, it can potentially be customised to order. By building an end-to-end system, from the shopping experience to the factory floor, Unmade are testing out today how such a system could work tomorrow.
WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO MAINSTREAM SUCCESS?
Unmade are currently targeting luxury niches where smaller runs are preferable, for example, in their collaboration with knitwear brand, Johnstons of Elgin. In the luxury market, there is demand for customised products; how far into the mass market does this demand reach?
Their current focus is not on the place of manufacture, just on small manufacturers generally. Could such a system be scaled up to serve a large distributed network of manufacturers – each small individually, but with a large overall coverage, each offering customisation to local needs?
HOW TO EXHIBIT
A garment from Unmade’s own UMd collection, such as the Grid scarf.
The Calibration sweater: a physical reference pattern that enables digital designs to be mapped to a physical product.
Another project that is looking at processes of manufacture and optimising a part of it to enable efficient manufacturing at a large-but-distributed scale.