Mass Customization in garment industry

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

Mass Customization in garment industry



Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Yutong-Shanghai-Donghua University

The outline of discussion:

Q1.What is Mass customization.

  1. Characteristics and current situation of Customization.
  2. Characteristics and current situation of Mass Production.
  3. Characteristics of Mass customization.

Q2. The current situation of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

  1. Mass customization in garment enterprises.
  2. Market size of mass customization?

Q3. Limitations of Mass customization in Garment Industry.


With the increasing individual preferences and multiple demands of clothing consumers, mass customization has gradually become a business model for manufacturers or brand companies to improve their market competitiveness. Mass customization refers to the low cost, high efficiency and high quality basic production mode of providing products and services by mass production. Consumers use the price of large-scale production to obtain personalized products, so enterprises have gained competitive advantage.

On the basis of basic production line, mass customization utilizes advanced manufacturing technology and information technology to integrate enterprise, customer, supplier, service provider and environment, so as to realize the whole upgrade and optimization of production mode. This discussion focuses on the history, current situation and development of Mass Customization in garment industry.

PART ONE: What is Mass Customization


Mass customization, as its name implies, refers to two abilities: Mass and Customization. Large-scale refers to the mass production line, when customization refers to the customization of personalized elements. For a long time, mass production and personalized customization are a pair of contradictions, until the production entered the era of modularization, this contradiction can be resolved, efficient personalized production can be achieved. There was the birth of the “mass customization”. Therefore, when discussing mass customization, we need to consider “the characteristics of personalized customization” and “the characteristics of mass production” at the same time.


1. Characteristics and current situation of Customization.

Personalized customization is that the user is involved in the production process of the product. It also refers that the specified elements are configured to the specified product, and the user obtains the goods with strong personal attributes or the products or services (Source: MBALib) that meet their particular needs. In the garment industry, the custom category has gradually expanded, in addition to the dress customization, suit customization, T-shirt customization, team clothing and other team clothing also have custom demand. The common customization demands are about designs, styles, fabric, details.

At the same time, according to the degree of customization, personalized customization can be categorized into local customization and full customization. Take a suit as an example. Semi-custom (Made-To-Measure), refers to that the guest select a set of ready-to-wear model when tailors are responsible for make it more fit with the guest body shape; Full-custom (Bespoke) refers to the tailor-made according to the size of the customer to make a full fit of the shape of the format, which is also known as “tailored suit.” In the mass customization projects mentioned below, different companies will use different degrees of customization to carry out mass customization business in terms of different business needs, operating costs, strategic planning and so on.


2. Characteristics and current situation of Mass Production.

Mass production refers to the large number of products, fixed workplace, certain production rhythm (Time between two products one after another in assembly line production) .(Source: MBALib).

But in today’s clothing industry environment, these characteristics to a certain extent limited the development of enterprises. Smaller order scale weakens the low cost advantage of mass production. Differences between orders are getting bigger so that production planning is getting more difficult. Meanwhile, the customer’s demand is changeable. A great deal of time is wasted in communication, the rate of production reaction is reduced, or because the difficulty of recruitment increases (such as Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and other areas), young people are not willing to enter garment factories, and the mobility rate of workers greatly affects the quality and efficiency of fluid work; In addition, the stock overstock risk and pressure also make the rapid return mode or become the development opportunity of garment enterprises.


3. Characteristics of Mass customization.

Mass customization is the production mode that achieves personalized customization in the way of mass production. Although it involves the personalized requirements, the basic requirements of its realization is the similarity and generality of the product structure, that is to say, the parts of the product family customized on the same pipeline need to be similar to each other. On this basis, through cloud computing, Internet of things, Internet, information and industrialization and other technologies, to achieve the intelligent manufacturing of customized products. In the garment industry, it mainly refers to the personalized customization platform where the customer directly faces the manufacturer, the consumer directly sends the order to the factory and cancels the intermediate agency link, so its cycle can be greatly shortened.

Comparing the characteristics of mass customization (MC) with that of mass production (MP), we can find that MC is guided by information instead of operation line in production process, workers drive themselves and govern themselves; on output, MC gets personalized products. Enterprises hold almost zero inventory of products, only hold a small amount of raw material inventory; profit model, MP from the traditional economies of scale evolved into a payoff or pay-as-you-go. These characteristics to a certain extent solve the limitations of large-scale production in garment enterprises.

PART TWO: The current situation of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

There have been cases of mass customization in foreign countries, such as Nike id, which can be used for reference by clothing category, but there are also some differences. Shoes vary in size, but the same size can be worn by different people, while the same figures are difficult to find, so clothing categories may have higher requirements when dealing with returns. In recent years, there are also a number of traditional garment enterprises who have transformed to mass customization business, including Shandong red-collar, YiBangRen, BaoXiNiao and so on.

PART THREE: Limitations of Mass customization in Garment Industry.

Although there are some advantages of mass customization, it still has many limitations. From the point of view of market, compared with the traditional mass production of ready-to-wear, personalized customization is still a segment of the market. The brand has more uncertainty on the way to the customization business. From the point of view of production mode, there are questions about the way to collect figure data and the quality of data. The category of mass customization on the same assembly line is single, and the business scale of enterprises is limited. Expanding the category relies more on owning multiple factories or outsourcing to other manufacturers that also have mass customization capabilities; men’s wear is simpler and less varied than women’s, making it easier to carry out mass customization. In the mass customization of women’s wear, it is worth exploring how to make use of the production line to fully meet the changing individual needs of women. In addition, in the production process of intelligent upgrading, software development quality and cost coordination, and so on, are the factors that enterprises need to consider before the transformation.




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