Adidas is looking to breakthrough long design and production cycles by enabling on demand manufacturing…of sweaters (not shoes.) German fitness apparel company recently launched a pop up store in Berlin that allows consumers to design, manufacture and purchase a unique merino wool sweaters for ~$200 USD.
Here’s how it work… consumers set into a dark booth that projects a variety of pattern options and colors on the individual so they can get a sense for how it would look. They can then adjust for colors, styles, size and then place the order in the store. Instantly the robotic looms go into action and knit the sweater. Some elements appear to require a hand finishing, then the products are laundered, dried and packaged for delivery. The entire process takes about 4 hours start to finish. Memory of experience hopefully last longer.
While sweaters aren’t set to be the next breakthrough fashion trend, Adidas is tapping into localized manufacturing capabilities that enable them to maintain virtual shelves of products without having to retire expensive inventory.
This could radically change distribution models and place many traditional manufacturers at risk…something many industries are watching closely.