Can made-to-order fashion change how we shop?

Kai Ryssdal, Alli Fam, and Bennett Purser Feb 24, 2020
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Models walk the runway during the Marco De Vincenzo fashion show as part of Milan Fashion Week. Pietro S. D'Aprano/Getty Images

Can made-to-order fashion change how we shop?

Kai Ryssdal, Alli Fam, and Bennett Purser Feb 24, 2020
Models walk the runway during the Marco De Vincenzo fashion show as part of Milan Fashion Week. Pietro S. D'Aprano/Getty Images
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After decades of fast fashion dominating retail, a number of startups are working to expand made-to-order fashion, a concept that seeks to combine the customization of haute couture with the speed of fast fashion manufacturing.

Maghan McDowell, innovation editor at Vogue Business, recently covered a variety products being made to order by brands. From custom-fit eyewear to wedding gowns, this type of manufacturing is growing. Could this mean less waste from the fashion industry?

“I definitely think it’s going to be part of the normal process of retail in the future. I think with the personalization capabilities, the sustainability, it’s very promising,” McDowell said.

She spoke with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about the biggest hurdle to made-to-order products: adequate automation.

“The challenge is, if you speed up the machines, the needles overheat. So you can’t make the needles faster and faster, which is the same problem we had with computing, years ago.”

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

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