Unspun, is a San Francisco-based startup that only sells made-to-order jeans, and therefore carries zero inventory.The company has partnered with Fit3D to enable customers to receive custom-fitted jeans after undergoing a 20-second body scan; it is also developing a 3D weaving machine that will eliminate fabric waste during the production process. The company recently joined The Mills (a Hong Kong-based ‘techstyle’ incubator), and counts the H&M Foundation as one of its investors. A pair of custom-made jeans currently retails at HKD 1,962 (approximately USD 250).
Not in the market for custom-fit jeans? But you can still take valuable insights from this innovation. Here are two:
Elevated expectations. Sustainability and personalization are (finally!) becoming unavoidable trends for any ambitious fashion brand. AllBirds’ sugarcane-based SweetFoam rubber substitute is just one of many new materials that point to a more sustainable fashion ecosystem. Startups like Ministry of Supply bring innovative approaches to mass personalization into retail stores. That’s not to say meeting these new expectations is easy. We also featured the awfully reviewed (and now-discontinued!) Zozosuit. However, as we often say, it’s notabout the success of failure of a single product or brand. It’s about understanding what these innovations will do to customer expectations: push them higher.
Better business (models). The good news is that these expectations can be great for those brands that reposition their business models accordingly. It’s no wonder that H&M has invested in Unspun, given the brand had USD 4.3 billion in unsold clothes last year! Similarly, Burberry was heavily criticized for burning unsold inventory. In more positive news, Deloitte found that half of consumers would pay upwards of 20% extra for personalized clothing.
Which macro-trends appear to threaten your business? What would it look like if you made them the core of your business, as Unspun has?