October 2019

Every month Embodee summarizes and analyzes key developments and trends in the apparel and footwear industries, including the latest news about online product customization and personalization technology. Our goal: help you stay informed, save time, and sell more! Sign up to stay in the know. Unsubscribe anytime.

Customization twist: change color of your shoes anytime

You like your shoes, but the color is so yesterday. Time for red, maybe? A new chameleon-inspired ink developed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory could bring a new dimension to customization and personalization of not just shoes but many products. A blend of photochromic dyes is sprayed on objects when they’re made. For shoes, you put them in a box equipped with a projector and UV light, then use a program to change the color or add a pattern. After 15 to 40 minutes in the box, voila! (Watch the video.) Don’t like your handiwork? Erase it the box and start over. Learn more at Engadget.

Nice shirt, dude, but does it play music?

Imagine your next new shirt doing more than clothing you. What if it doubled as a music player with controls embroidered onto the fabric and harvested electricity from your body motion to power the player? And the shirt was stainproof, odor resistant, could withstand the rigors of the washing machine spin cycle, and protected you from the rain? This latest breakthrough in e-textiles comes courtesy of Purdue University’s Industrial School of Design. Scientists there say the intelligent fabric is easy and cheap to make. Learn more from this video.

Technology-focused formula for customization success

AI-enabled software and master craftspeople are working in concert to make luxury, customizable handbags with no waste and inventory — in less than 48 hours. Yes, you read that right. The brand Novae Res launched its first handbag last week, a small and large version. Both are personalized online and cost $795 and $895. An automated manufacturing luxury lab, appropriately named LLABB, is the technology platform making the magic happen. LLABB plans to work with other luxury handbag brands. CEO and founder Lane Tabb has an audacious vision: “Our goal is to be the Apple of manufacturing.” Dig deeper at Glossy.

We have a new footwear leader: casual sneakers

Expect no formal ceremony, but the long-reigning king-of-the-hill in U.S. footwear sales will soon be deposed and a new leader crowned. Casual “sports leisure” sneakers, not those specifically for athletic use, will become the top seller next year, says the NPD Group. Casual sneakers are riding the still-cresting wave of athleisure, which places a premium on comfort over performance.  Slipping from the top spot will be fashion footwear, a category including basic shoes, boots, sandals, and slippers. Quartzy has more.

Luxury fashion sales booming online

Eye-opening numbers: e-commerce shoppers are fueling a major portion of luxury fashion growth globally. How many? 1.2 billion shoppers by 2020. No surprise, millennials and Gen Zers are using online as a critical way to reach young shoppers. Look no further than FarFetch, an online-only seller that saw revenues increase 56% last year and has 2.8 million customers. Fashion e-commerce is projected to reach a staggering $713 billion by 2022. Luxury Daily makes the case.

Embodee demo: Personalize Gucci sneakers
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