Fashion on demand is one of the key recipes to achieveing a more sustainable fashion industry. Today’s fashion industry is responsible for an alarming overproduction of clothes, leading to tons of textiles being dumped in landfills everyday worldwide. To revert this trend, fashion companies need to develop new business models that adjust their production to the actual demands of consumers. A key strategy that would create a more sustainable business model for fashion companies is fashion-on-demand (FoD). Other words used for this approach are participatory design and custom made.
The fashion-on-demand strategy can be used in various forms; however, a central feature of this strategy is that the customer is allowed to influence the final poduct design, through participation at some point in the design process. A simple form of participation is where customers are allowed to choose fabric for a garment among a limited number of color alternatives. In contrast, a high degree of particpation is enabled when customers are allowed to choose between a large selection of fabrics and models, including “extras” (e.g. buttons, threads and cufs), so as to create their preferred combination of styles and fabrics. Through the creation of customized products, consumers are likely to develop greater personal attachments to their garments, thereby holding on to them longer and giving greater care through for example more gentle washing practices etc. Also, through a customized (participatory) design process, producers will reduce their need for garment storage as well as the risk for over production.
Through prolonged garment lifetimes, more careful washing practices, and reduced levels of clothing overproduction, the fashion-on-demand strategy could become one of the key strategies for a more sustainable fashion industry.
An example of a company using an FoD strategy is “La Chemiserie Traditionelle“. This is a Spanish franchise company, with a personal shop in Stockholm, that offers custom made shirts and blouses of high quality and at reasaonable prices.