Will Amazon’s on-demand manufacturing create trouble for fast-fashion?
Are fast-fashion’s better days behind it? Will on-demand manufacturing reinvent the clothing business as we know it? These are questions that may be answered if Amazon.com moves ahead with a patent it filed in late 2015.
Recode has reported on the patent application, which details a highly-automated system using textile printers, cutters and an assembly line. The plans also include cameras positioned to capture images of the garments produced in order to monitor quality and increase efficiency during future runs. Amazon’s on-demand model emphasizes cost reduction, envisioning a process in which manufacturers’ orders are organized in batch runs determined by factors such as the shipping addresses of customers.
Amazon sees its system having applications beyond clothes to include a wide variety of source materials and extending to categories such as bedding, curtains, towels and footwear.
The e-tailing giant has set its sights on becoming the leader in apparel retailing in the U.S. This includes the creation of private brands such as Amazon Essentials, Buttoned Down, Ella Moon, Goodthreads, Iris & Lilly, Lark & Ro, Mae, North Eleven, Paris Sunday, and Scout & Ro.
A survey conducted last fall by Morgan Stanley AlphaWise found that 58 percent of respondents had purchased clothing from Amazon over the previous six months. Kohl’s with 37 percent was a distant second.
- Amazon won a patent for an on-demand clothing manufacturing warehouse – Recode
- The Eight Brands Amazon Wants to Build Its Own Fashion Empire – Women’s Wear Daily
- Will women buy lingerie from Amazon? – RetailWire
- Can Amazon dominate apparel with its own private labels? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How big a part will on-demand manufacturing play in apparel and other categories such as bedding, curtains and towels? What challenges will on-demand manufacturing pose to existing models?