Customized Garment Challenge

tired shopper

Big Picture

When shopping for clothes, consumers often have trouble finding clothes that provide an accurate fit, and they are limited by the standard products offered by retailers. From a garment manufacturer’s point of view, the production processes is designed to achieve economies of scale through product standardization. While sizing differs from one individual to another, the current manufacturing process cannot facilitate low volume customized garment manufacturing.

The increasing popularity of DIY and the ‘maker’ movement has led to an expanding customer segment interested in designing their own clothing. Furthermore, the proliferation of e-commerce has shaken up the distribution process, offering customized garment manufacturing at a small scale led by start-ups who are tailoring for those who have difficulties in finding clothes that provide an accurate fit.

This is an opportunity to mainstream made-to-order fashion, empower the end consumer, and disrupt the apparel manufacturing and distribution processes.

Process Flow



  • The customer can be any individual who requires custom garments since the standard garments do not provide the accurate fit (B2C). The customer can place the order from any country.
  • Individual and brands making bulk orders that are willing to have a slightly longer lead time for better price (volume-based discounts). Hence, brand would be the B2B customer segment, helping to enable the scaling the overall service in the long run.



  • The system should capture (ideally automatically via webcam, which can be part of phase II) individual measurements required for a particular garment. It must also identify different parameters required for different types of garments. Initially, however, customers could enter the required data manually.
  • The system could initially have predefined design options that customers select through a menu. However, eventually the system should enable designers to upload their own design. As an additional feature, customers could collaborate with a design team to create the design.


  • Customers should be able to view the price of final product before they complete their order. The price should include the cost of manufacturing the garment as well as the cost of delivering the garment to the end customer. The customer should be able to view how the total price changes depending on the fabric, design and trims etc.  they select.
  • The system should ideally identify which factory would carry out the manufacturing based on customer’s inputs and resource availability (staff, fabric, trims, etc.). Therefore, the system should facilitate real-time planning of where the garments would be manufactured. Most of the apparel manufactures have factories across the globe. Thus, the decision needs to be made based on:
    1. Availability of fabric and trims
    2. Availability and skill of staff to manufacture the garment
    3. Cost of shipping the garment



  • The time taken to manufacture the garment should not exceed more than a week.
    1.  Stock in hand would be needed to ensure the product is completed in a week.
    2.  High volumes of stock cannot be held for an extended period of time.


  • Manufacturing process should be streamlined to accommodate single piece flow.
  • Additional features may include, customized fabric printing and customized embellishment on panels



  • The packaging differs based on the customer request and the product would be priced according to the packing and the mode of shipping requested by the customer.
  • Shipping is a service offered by a third party; hence the system should be integrated with the respective service provider.
  • Integrate to a third party payment gateway to facilitate the payment processing online.

Key Constraints

  • Capturing the sizing (measurements) accurately via webcam or other means.
  • Adapting traditional mass manufacturing process for single garment manufacturing.
    1. Would we need the manufacturing line?
    2. Would we need the machine operators to be specialized in a particular task or tasks?
    3. What process or other changes are required when cutting? (Today we have automated bulk cutting).


  • Ensuring zero defects. Since only one garment is being manufactured to a specific order, defects and rejects must be eliminated. The cost of handling returns is high, so the service must ensure no returns.
  • Minimizing wastage, idle time of work force, changeover time, and material waste.
  • Minimizing turnaround time (production + shipping)

Research Requirements

In order to address this challenge, in-depth research will be required to provide:

  • An understanding of the current limitations of standard garments from a customer view point, the needs and desires of the consumer, and the level of customization for which customers are willing to pay.
  • Insights into the current manufacturing process, its dependencies, flow and arrangement. Understanding the current process and its limitations will enable your team to design the optimal manufacturing process for large-scale bespoke tailoring.
  • Optimizing customer preferences based on research e.g.
    1. Are the customers cost-conscious?
    2. Are the customers more concerned about the quality of the product?
    3. What is the expected lead time?
    4. Is the main concern the fit or design?

Get Started


To find out more about this challenge, or to submit your idea, email us at Through Disrupt Unlimited, you could get the support to commercialize your idea, with access to seed funding and apparel expertise.

Stay tuned to our blog for more challenges!


This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!