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Is the mass customisation trend catching on to just big brands/retailers or do you work with small boutique brands too?
Customisation experiences are totally bespoke; so, we can work with brands of all shapes and sizes. We worked with Calvin Klein at Coachella this year and have launched a global partnership with Levi's and are now in 38 stores across the world. Naturally, with clients like this, budgets are bigger, and we can be more creative and outlandish with the strategy. Having said that, there are more accessible ways of working with boutiques and independent retailers who are keen to innovate, and we'd love to have a conversation with them.
What kind of analysis does your software provide to brands and retailers?
The YR software provides great insight through data. We perform all kinds of analytics on customisation performed in-store or online. So, for example, we can easily show the most used graphics, colours, garments, but more than that we also show any patterns in purchase behaviour and brands can use that data in real time to tweak their offer. This means any unpopular designs can quickly be changed or flexed depending on the audience at a particular time. Online or in-store we can track number of consumers, amount of time they interact with the YR installation or software, how many go through to purchase and how much they spend. Optionally, we can request user data at the end of the design process-this makes for highly informative insight into consumers and product purchasing patterns. This is the supply chain in real time.
Which countries are your major markets, especially in the apparel/footwear categories?
As it stands, our biggest markets are probably America and Asia. The appetite for customisation is phenomenal and we've now launched offices in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and most recently Hong Kong. Long term, we want to build strong relationships with brands in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It's an important market to us and we certainly see us launching an operation in one of those regions. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to raise our profile internationally and fly the flag for customisation in fashion. For brands who are sustainability conscious, it's a must-have conversation.
Is custom fashion just a trend to pull customers in-store or attract traffic online or is it here to stay?
Custom fashion will definitely drive customers to stores, though, unlike fashion trends is unlikely to fall out of style. This is due to the nature of how it works, customisation and tech will naturally change and adapt with the times meaning it can always stay up to date with what's in.
Customisation at event, or in-store is experience-led-it's theatre which drives customers into the store, engages with them and has an amazing take away. If we take that experience and apply it to on-demand, where customers are buying online and then having it delivered very quickly to their doorstep, it shows that customisation is the tip of a much bigger industry which is here to stay.
How are customisation technologies and on-demand manufacturing changing the fashion industry? What is next in fashion retail?
The move to a demand-driven model is a really positive change for the fashion industry as it tackles the long-running issue of sustainability. On-demand products reduce oversupply and wastage as they are only made when they are needed. It means a move towards brands investing more in blank goods (which can be held for longer) and designing the final printed item closer to the time of purchase. On demand printing tech is already fast. However, looking forward, it is likely to be nearly instantaneous and become a hyperlocal service. It's an exciting time for the industry and as technology develops, customisation services will become higher quality and more efficient.
What is new in the pipeline in terms of services at YR Store & YR Live?
We are very lucky to have worked with some of the world's greatest fashion and lifestyle brands, as well as a huge number of other clients in a wide variety of industries. We have worked with brands like Levi's to roll out highly innovative print bars across Europe and the US stores, and the feedback has been super-positive. As we move into new technologies and offer our platform online, we expect to carry on exciting our customers and innovating in this space.
The future for YR is super-exciting, not least because of the shift to on-demand that we are seeing happen at a rapid pace. This year we will showcase some of our newer projects with our great customers as we strengthen our global coverage. Along the way this year, we have some exciting innovations particularly around earlier stage manufacturing and new production technologies. Our vision for YR is to be the global customisation and on-demand partner of choice for brands, retailers and content owners. We are building the team and our tech platform to enable this. (HO)
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