How the Best in Class Thinks About Mass Customization

Decoded Fashion New York Summit 2015

During Decoded Fashion’s recent New York Summit, mass customization and personalization were recurring themes for both established and emerging brands. Levi’s Chief Merchandising Officer Grant Barth noted that customization is one of the strongest growth areas for the 140+ year-old company. Barth also discussed the legacy of Levi’s and the importance of personal experience for the company’s brand – “touching, feeling, and living in the product is more important than anything else.”

Whether representing an established company or startup, giving customers what they want is key to the success of any fashion brand. Rebecca Minkoff and Uri Minkoff, Designer and CEO respectively of Rebecca Minkoff, discussed how they are integrating technology to personalize the customer’s shopping experience. “What are the human pain points and how can we use technology to help?” Uri Minkoff asked while highlighting the Rebecca Minkoff store’s interactive touch screen mirrors. Looking for a jacket to match your skirt? Thanks to Rebecca Minkoff’s connected dressing rooms the designer can help to complete your outfit and be your personal stylist.

During the Summit’s panel discussion on re-imagining retail, Shoes of Prey Co-Founder, Jodie Fox discussed her innovative platform for designing custom heels and flats. Fox also highlighted her company’s commitment to enhancing the customer’s shopping experience, from its’ 1-year return policy to providing shoppers with a seamless counter experience.

Decoded Fashion New York Summit 2015
Decoded Fashion also held a panel on customization, entitled “What They Want, When They Want It.” Panelists included Orkun Atik of Mona, Vishaal Melwani of Combatant Gentleman, Aubrie Pagano of Bow and Drape, and Stephanie Sarka of 1 Atelier. Combatant Gentleman’s Melwani emphasized “tech first, fashion second.” The menswear e-tailer now offers its shoppers the opportunity to video chat with a personal stylist and use its “Fit Tech” tool to help determine sizing. Custom clothing company Bow and Drape allows its customers to design their own messaging and embellishments while shipping their made to order garments in just two weeks. However, Pagano doesn’t just settle for customization alone to shape her brand. Pagano noted that the “tech, service, and actual product have to match up with the value.”

Customized and personalized shopping also benefits fashion brands. When offering custom products or unique services, retailers are able to create a personal relationship with their customers while also building trust and longevity for the company’s overall brand. Levi’s is a great example. They’ve offered customized denim for years while sharing their story of consistency, clarity and quality. Levi’s is also one of the few brands that increases in value over time.

Customized and personalized fashion, along with the right mix of tech, engagement and excellent quality, is a win for both brands and consumers.

Cover picture taken by Pavan Bahl of @OSFashion ; Berlin, Germany.  Artwork by: annonymous


Kenya Wiley

Principal at Ripe Strategic Affairs, is an attorney and noted public policy strategist with nearly two decades of combined legal, advocacy and high-level government experience. Ms. Wiley previously worked at a global entertainment association, where she led the association’s academic outreach program and provided legal and strategic advice on intellectual property and technology policy issues.