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Mass Customization Monday #29

Here it is: all the mass customization news of the week that’s fit to print. 

Racked Delves into Custom Clothing

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The always excellent Racked looks into custom clothing, how people buy couture and what kind of people are buying couture clothing.

Customized Food Through DNA Testing 

Habit is a start up that will come up with customized food recommendations based on your DNA. You can send the company a sample and they then will be able to after three weeks send you food recommendations optimized for you. We’re not sure to what extent Habit’s science adds up. DNA seems perfectly scientific and in so doing is being used to make recommendations about skin care, makeup and many other mass customized products. Just because DNA is used in the process through does not necessarily mean that the recommended nutrition or make up will actually be optimized for your body however. We’re worried that companies will use the general public’s belief in DNA to sell mass customized products that do not actually add value.

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The Habit personalized meal box.

Habit does so far seem very innovative and produces recommendations such as how sensitive you are to caffeine and if fiber or fatty foods are best suited for you. The company can also send you personalized nutrition kits, get you in touch with nutritionists as well as recommend personalized meals just for you.

Habit seems to use DNA and some gamification coupled with lots of new scientific sounding terminology to redefine how we should eat. We really believe that DNA based nutrition, skin care and medical care can make a lot of difference for many people. We are worried however just to what extent a DNA test coupled with a mass customized meal would actually be based on science. A company could be bringing the best DNA/nutrition research to your doorstep or the DNA test could just shore up shady science to make you believe in what is no more than a new fad diet.

Stitch Fix the $730 million revenue style selection company

Stitch Fix is a $730 million revenue style start up. You can fill out a profile on their site. Based on this profile a stylist will select five items for you, these will then be mailed to your home. You then try out the items and send back the ones you don’t like. If you like an item you can pay for it and keep it. It is a selection sample shopping service which combines an online questionnaire and 3500 stylists to give you hand selected fashion items.

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The Stitch Fix questionnaire.

Stitch Fix is also a new way to shop, outsourcing the selection to stylists and buying only what fits and what you like. With a low initial barrier to get started it sends products to you to try and maybe buy. This kind of a way to sell things could work for many other industries as well. We also really like how the company combines the questionnaire with human stylists to find things you like. We also think that this kind of a service would work well in many other verticals as well. In mass customization we’d love to see the combination of data driven questionnaires with human expert judgement guide buying decisions.

Shima Seiki Unveils staf and APEX3 software 

Shima Seiki is developing automated knitting systems that are key for the next generation of fashion manufacturing. The company’s knitting systems can, based on digital input, make custom knit items. This is a huge step forward for fashion manufacturing automation technology. This could have significant impacts on how clothes are made.

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Shima Seiki is going further however in developing a platform for the digitization of fashion. Their APEX3 design software now lets you do virtual sampling so samples do not have to be made in advance. The APEX3 software also lets you design and do simulations of clothing before it is made. These innovations mean that time to market is reduced by APEX3. Software such as this should save fashion companies money and let them speed up their collections. More niche collections can also be made. Shima Seiki also has staf. Stas is a cloud based software tool that can help designers plan and organize their styles, samples and inspiration, Using staf designers and manufacturers can also look at an, “information archive of fashion and colour trends covering the past 50 years, as well as a massive collection of fashion-related content, covering materials, flat sketches, design patterns and collection photos. All this information can be neatly organized on a virtual concept board that can be shared across various devices, improving on planning efficiency significantly.” The staf tool means that you can use Shima Seiki software from before the sketch up and until the final product. We think that the Japanese company is making some very serious strides forwards with its new software and machinery. Mass customization tool chains in industry will be enabled by digital tooling such as APEX3, staf and machines such as their knitting and inkjet machines.

Unmade Brings Customization to Knitwear 

Shima Seiki is not alone however in trying to bring the wave of digitization to knitting. Unmade is a company currently creating software tooling to automate the programming and input elements of new knitting designs to work with several knitting machine vendors.

We really believe that local, and perhaps even in store, production of garments will bring a wave of profitability and competition to the fashion market.

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Unmade’s own collection showcases the possibilities.

As an independent vendor Unmade bridges the digitization gap between a machine and a manufacturer. One of their customer’s stated that, “one of the most time-consuming processes in knitwear production is the programming and Unmade’s platform eliminates this, “There’s no programming involved in it for us now.” He said, in terms of the customisation, that Unmade had set up for customers “it was designing within the lines, it was a very clever platform, and then it was integrating it into a manufacturing plan.”

“Digital Twins” for Humans

We’ve mentioned the Digital Twin concept a few times here: a digital copy of a production process and to be manufactured object that can be used to trace all the permutations that this object would go through while being manufactured and used. We think that digital twins are an essential concept that will be implemented at scale in a mass customized world. New research points to a similar possibility in medicine. Zebrafish larvae may perhaps be used to test cancer therapies. These larvae may be used to see if a particular customized cancer drug or treatment would take hold against a particular cancer for one particular person. “Our dream is to develop an ‘antibiogram’ for cancer. Just as we currently do this today for bacterial infections, we hope to obtain a kind of matrix for each patient of the efficacy of the various drugs that will allow physicians to choose the most indicated therapy for each person.”

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