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Consumer Open Innovation and Open Manufacturing Interaction for Individual Garments

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The made-to-measure garment revolution

Advanced online technology is enabling consumers to design and produce their own clothing and accessories just the way they want them. The technology represents a dynamic, flexible, cost-effective and rapid new model of creation and production.

Industrial Technologies

Imagine a clothing boutique where you can walk in, design what you want to wear and take it home with you. While this vision might only be practically realised in the future, an online version of such a forward-thinking scenario has already been developed. The EU-funded project 'Consumer open innovation and open manufacturing interaction for individual garments' (Open Garments) created an online business prototype for customised garments and accessories. The project adopted current technologies for designing and producing these products under a platform of open innovation and open manufacturing aimed to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The model was developed with the input of consumers and was tested in actual industrial environments, facilitated by digital textile printing and additive manufacture. Different online toolkits were developed to provide relevant functions, as for design crowd-sourcing, product configuration, and production planning, accounting, logistics and tracking of products, as well as consumer networking. Overall, the developed prototype proved its efficiency in the configuring, buying, selling, improving and sharing of designs and fabrics of garments and accessories. The process incorporated high-tech mechanisms and features, such as colour-consistent digital textile printing and advanced made-to-measure personalisation through the Internet. Project results were disseminated (see e.g. http://vimeo.com/28945212) through social networking, conferences and exhibitions. In the meantime, the project team developed an exploitation plan to promote uptake of the technology and encourage society to embrace it. This will help SMEs provide customised products quickly and efficiently, in particular for made-to-measure clothing or special requests. This automated 'plug-and-produce' solution is bound to increase the competitiveness of SMEs and provide consumers with products that are much closer to what they really want. A new revolution in clothing may have just arrived.

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