Robb Young recently published a nice review of mass customization enabler Bodymetrics, London, in the International Herald Tribune. I visited this shop-in-shop several times and was appealed by its great design, but also noticed that store traffic seams to be slow. But as the IHT article tells, Bodymetrics is becoming a success story.
Bodymetrics uses a 3D Scanner to start the selling process with a 3D body of a customers. "Body shapes vary infinitely," Suran Goonatilake, Bodymetric's founder, is quoted in the article. "Classic measurements are merely body landmarks. One of the most crucial parts of getting any garment to fit right is shaping, how your body is curved. You can have two people with identical jeans measurements but the end result is a completely different fit."
Goonatilake started his mass customization venture from a project for the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a business development program based at the London College of Fashion. The first Bodymetrics boutique opened in Selfridges in 2004, targeting a largely female clientele with private-label jeans and licenses with other denim brands. In 2006, a second boutique opened in Harrods, expanding the service to include women's tailoring for brands like Vivienne Westwood and Nick Holland.
This approach of using combining mass customization capabilities with existing brands and design seems to be very promising. Bodymetrics an enabler or intermediary, but does not have to build its own brand or designs.
Compared to most other mass customizers in the fashion world, Bodymetrics is focusing on a female clientele, Goonatilake says in the article. "At the moment, men's sales are still small but when we officially launch our men's range this spring, we're aiming for around 10 percent and the ultimate target is something around 25 percent" of the company's overall business.
Clothes are made in the Far East or North America in special factories that manufacture garments one by one and can do finishings by hand. Sales are good, despite high prices start around £250, or $482, per pair of jeans "We carry no stock, we're never on sale and we get the cash up front before manufacture," Goonatilake is quoted "That's why we have such very high sales per square foot — about $2,000 — and that's everything in retailing."
The article announces a competing version of Archetype’s Zafu service : Bodymetrics plans to scan a partner brand's merchandise in a variety of sizes and then can match an item to a customer's scan to identify any fit problems. Such a system would allow better fitting garments without expensive one-of-a-kind production.
Other then these details, the article reveals no new details. But it is another sign that even rather basic mass customization offerings are still an appealing topic for many papers – more than 15 years after Levi Strauss introduced its Personal Pair. And the journalist was very pleased with the fit of his trial jeans.