February 15, 2022

What is made-to-order clothing?

By Leza Warkentin
What is made-to-order clothing?

Made-to-order clothing means that garments are made by a brand right when they are ordered, instead of pulling from stock on hand. Did you know that made-to-order fashion has been a thing for centuries? Having a made-to-order wardrobe was quite commonplace until very recently. 

Custom sashiko embroideryPhoto: Custom embroidery on smock collar

Made-to-order Clothing

Typically made with high quality materials and manufacturing methods, made-to-order clothing will usually last a long time. These days, consumers have come to expect fashion at their fingertips, with same-day delivery and racks of garments in their sizes. Mass manufacturing and trends that change with the pull of a zipper have led us to the wastefulness of the fast fashion industry.

Designers and brands are able to connect and develop relationships over time with their customers, allowing opportunities for collaboration.

Fortunately, designers are beginning to see another way, a road that leads to sustainable practices and clothes that are meant to stand the test of time. Not only that, designers and brands are able to connect and develop relationships over time with their customers, allowing opportunities for collaboration. A customer’s wardrobe tells a wonderful story when this relationship is made possible.

Working on patchwork made to order custom piece

Photo: Sewing made-to-order patchwork.

Did you know that made-to-order fashion contributes to environmental protection? There are a few very significant ways. Let's take a look at environment impact assessments and understand how the fashion industry needs to evolve to reduce its impact.

Waste reduction and over production

Made-to-order fashion can greatly reduce waste. It does away with the necessity of excess inventory and over production. This can be a massive financial benefit for fashion brands because they're not sitting on excess inventory that goes out of style and needs to be heavily discounted.1 Clothing is crafted by artisans, according to their customers’ specifications. They are meant to last over time.

“Many will remember one luxury label making headlines in 2018 when it hit the headlines that £28.6 million worth of waste stock had been burnt by the brand in 2017. While the spotlight was initially shone on this case in particular, it quickly became public knowledge that this isn’t an uncommon practice across the industry – and if it’s not incineration, then unwanted garments typically end up in landfill instead.”2

Consumption reduction

Made-to-order means a reduction in the use of natural resources. When there is no need to create large amounts of extra inventory, the use of water, fertilizers, oil, and other natural resources is greatly reduced. Made-to-order gives customers a unique opportunity to curate their wardrobe and style directly with the brand similar to a "white glove" experience. Want a seam taken in? Need a hem shortened? No problem. 

Happy customer in made to order clothing

Photo: Happy customer in made-to-order clothing.

At Modern Shibori, we love conversations we have with each of our clients. It’s important to us that people know how their clothing is made and why made-to-order fashion is at the heart of what we do.

Pollution reduction

Fast fashion tends to rely on harsh chemical processes to make their clothing, and these chemicals can be very toxic to the environment. Not only that, “The fashion industry is responsible for almost one-fifth of water pollution from industrial processes. Most wastewater used in making clothes are dumped into streams and rivers, polluting freshwater supply with carcinogenic chemicals, dyes, and heavy metals.”3

At Modern Shibori, we believe that considered fashion must include made-to-order clothing. As a sustainable fashion brand, we are committed to making a positive impact on the environment through slow fashion. Of course, our dedication to craftsmanship means we make each garment with love and care, using organic fabrics and design techniques such as shibori tie-dye. Our pieces are handmade using natural dyes, ensuring that each piece, like each customer, is beautifully unique. While our made-to-order pieces usually ship between two to three weeks, we welcome your emails to discuss your needs. We love to hear from our community of clients.

Have you ever purchased a made-to-order garment? What was your experience like? Comment below! 

Resources:

1https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/dec/03/fashion-climate-pledges-waste-crisis-vivian-hunt-tommy-hilfiger-kris-jenner

2https://eco-age.com/resources/made-order-future-sustainable-fashion/

3https://diversity.social/sustainable-fashion-clothing/

Additional resources:

https://www.voguebusiness.com/fashion/made-to-order-brands-retail-2019

https://www.thezoereport.com/fashion/made-to-order-clothing