Is MADE Custom Apparel The Future Of Outdoor Clothing?
At the recent KORE speaker series, Capri Philip and Dustin Butcher, the founders of MADE Custom Apparel, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, shared the story of their new startup and how it’s set to reinvent the outdoor clothing market.
Capri Philip worked at the head office of Arc’teryx in British Columbia for over a half decade and had seen a lot of innovations come her way but it was after a conversation with Utah resident Dustin Butcher last year that she believed they could truly shake up the outdoor apparel market together. Dustin’s idea was to apply the online custom creation model being used for such things as business suits and apply it to technical outdoor outerwear. With that as a foundation for a new startup idea, Capri left Arc’teryx, partnered with Dustin and apparel creator Cheryl LeBarr from the sunshine coast and launched an Indiegogo campaign for MADE Custom Apparel, the first made-to-measure clothing manufacturer in the outdoor industry.
Capri and Dustin presented at a recent KORE speaker series about how their idea came about, what was involved with their Indiegogo launch, and how their workflow will different from the current one being used in the outdoor apparel market. It was surprising to learn how much waste is in the present model which involves forecasting how many units will be sold of various sizes and colours. Some companies that are left with stock at the end of the season simply throw them away so as not to devalue their brand! MADE is set to completely change all that.
Capri said during the Speaker Series Zoom call that this is how the MADE workflow model will work:
- a customer visits the MADE website and chooses one of the products, such as a hardshell jacket
- they’re asked what colour they’d like and what features they want, such as pocket count, pit zips, partial front zipper, etc.
- next, the customer is sent a link to their smartphone that takes them through the process of submitting photos of themselves
- the real magic happens when those photos are input into software featuring artificial intelligence and 3D body-scanning technology that generates your personal measurements
- the garment is then crafted at a factory in Bangladesh and shipped
Dustin said this workflow will have enormous impact on the current model because forecasting will no longer be needed: it’s a per-use system that only creates products when there’s demand. The environmental implications of this are staggering because surplus product ceases to exist and raw material is no longer wasted. Plus, a product you like never goes out of style: you can have it recreated to the exact detail when the old one wears out.
That’s the benefit to the planet. The benefit to the individual is perfect fit. Those outdoor recreationalists who don’t fit the traditional mould now have a solution. Can’t find a jacket with long enough sleeves or ski pants that are long enough in the legs but too wide around the waist? No problem. The MADE model allows each article of clothing to be unique.
The challenges that both Capri and Dustin spoke of during the 45-minute-long Zoom meeting encompass those that every start-up experiences, including marketing and capital. But they said their choice to go with a crowd-funding solution is proving to be successful as they will probably surpass their financial goals within a month. Aside from that, the biggest challenge is going to be dialing in the workflow. They spoke of specifics regarding hardware and software during their presentation but in general terms it will take some trial and error to perfect the remote measuring and fulfillment. However, they’re excited to start crafting clothing this summer in time for product testing this coming winter.
For more about MADE, visit madeoutdoor.ca.