Tackling Overproduction, Customization and Perfect Fits Through On Demand Production and 3D Design
Because sustainability looks different to everyone, I’ve been trying to hone in on what really drives me crazy. What symptom of our broken fashion industry makes me cringe? Still wanting to tackle it all of course, I have found that one of my top priorities is waste. That’s why on-demand manufacturing and 3D design present such exciting opportunities for me. I was able to test out unspun’s custom fit, on demand user experience and I was pretty shocked by the results. So, are on-demand and 3D scans the solution to perfect fit and the elimination of waste? Take a walk with me through my user experience and chat with the founders of unspun!
When you browse unspun’s app for your desired fit, the next step is to customize your jeans by choosing your wash, stitching colour, rise and length. Once you’ve chosen your desired look, your customized jean is added to your cart ready for checkout. To make things as seamless as possible, you complete your 3D body scan during the checkout process. Literally as easy as one, two, three. Once your order is complete, you will be prompted to do your body scan directly on the unspun app!
I am always hesitant to download apps and I don’t know why. Am I the only one? But, downloading unspun’s all-in-one body scanning app was definitely high on my list and they make sure that download is worth it. To do your scan, put on some tight clothes and stand against a plain wall (doesn’t necessarily have to be white). The app will give you
prompts that feel a little bit funny, but are very easy to do like waddling in a circle in one spot 😅 Once you complete a few simple prompts, your avatar is ready in minutes! This is what your perfect fit will be based on.
While you are playing around on the unspun app, a digital version of your jeans are being created behind the scenes through 3D designing software, that are then physically produced and shipped off to you. No overproduction, no overstock, and I get a custom one-of-one jean? Sounds pretty damn good to me. But, I want to get in on the BTS magic. So, I asked Beth and Walden, co-founders of unspun, how it works.
WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES EXACTLY? ONCE YOU RECEIVE OUR 3D AVATARS, WHAT IS THE PROCESS FROM HERE?
The actual cool thing about unspun’s software is that it seeks to digitize the traditional tailoring process, and also enables a scalable solution for doing custom fit, made to order denim jeans. Once you have scanned and customized, our algorithm will match your scan to your order and make the pattern and pattern adjustments according to your shape and preferences in the 3D ‘virtual world’, from there we’ll give it a quick QC check to make sure everything looks good and then the patterns are sent to our partner facilities to do do the CMT part.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FROM THE TIME SOMEONE SUBMITS THEIR MEASUREMENTS TO DOORSTEP DELIVERY?
It usually takes around 2-3 weeks. Not only does this seamless process eliminate the huge overproduction conundrum, there are also fewer returns when something fits perfectly. What’s not to love when your custom jeans are sourced locally, are made with low impact fabrics, and with cradle to cradle principles in mind? In addition, all the cotton in the jeans are either BCI, GOTS certified organic or GRS recycled cotton.
Ani: After doing the 3D scan myself and waiting the short 2 -3 weeks for a custom fitting pair of jeans, I was so happy to receive my absolute perfect fit. And we all know how hard it is to find those perfect pairs. I am over the moon with how they turned out and the customization features allowed me to design the jean I had my heart set on finding. Another bonus is actually knowing your own measurements that you can use to compare to online sizing charts when you are online shopping.
BETH AND WALDEN, I AM CURIOUS TO KNOW WHAT YOUR FIT SATISFACTION RATE IS? HOW MANY RETURNS ON AVERAGE DO YOU RECEIVE?
Our first time satisfaction rate is around 90%, meaning that only around 10% of our orders get returned, or need to be remade. Of this 10%, around 5% of it would be considered returns for fit issues, and the rest would be subjective ‘expectations’ of the customer not being met, for example if they misunderstood something about a style or a fabric or there was some error in the scan (it happens). Even if this rate is not at 100% yet, it is a huge improvement on the returns rate estimates from the industry (some around 40%), which is exacerbated by the boom in ecommerce.
unspun’s timeless designs enforce their “wear more, keep longer, and buy less” ethos and also offer repairs and alterations to ensure the longest life. Unspun states that if everyone doubled the amount of times they wore a garment, GHG emissions would be 44% lower, which saves 36% of carbon per jean. That is a pretty significant difference and is easily something everyone can do for the greater good.
And speaking of the greater good...
unspun isn’t only doing this for the good of their own brand, they want to share this technology with as many as they can. By sharing their technology and focusing on creating a localized and regenerative system for future production, unspun is a prime example of a brand using denim for good! Through this technology and strategic partnerships, unspun is confident they will reach their goal of reducing global GHG emissions by 1%. And they’re not stopping yet 👀
“Just through eliminating excess inventory and waste, we can reduce global carbon emissions by 1% per year. Add our circularity practices onto that and we can reduce closer to 2-3%. We have to bring the industry with us to make this happen, though. And we want to! Fortunately, in this case, choosing the sustainable route isn’t forfeiting the optimal business route. They are one and the same.” - Beth Esponnette
On a mission to achieve absolute zero waste, unspun has developed a 3D weaving machine that will create woven fabric to shape without creating any cutting waste!!! The future is cool. No wasted fabric. And let’s just say the proto’s are very promising. Until then, unspun is collaborating with Blue Jeans Go Green to turn unwanted denim into needed housing insulation.
What do you think about all this tech entering the fashion space? Would you try custom fit on-demand jeans? Do you think it’s one of the best ways to eliminate excess? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time friends, keep pushing denim as a power for good, always be curious, and STAY DILIGENT! 😋
Psssst: keep your eyes for when unspun drops a line of pants from their 3D weaving machine! One of the most exciting innovations in the works.