The name “INDi” could easily pertain to either “individual” or “indigo.” In the case of Archetype Solutions, the mass customization specialists based in Silicon Valley, it applies to both.
The company on Thursday will take a big step in its effort to transform its INDi customized apparel operation from a business-to-business model into a business-to-consumer platform selling customized premium jeans to individual consumers with the relaunch of its indicustom.com Web site. With a simplified interface and greater use of graphics, it’s looking — one pair of jeans at a time — to establish INDi as a brand and expand beyond the nearly 20,000 customers who are already building their own jeans on the site.
“We’d done work for a variety of brands but never had the consumer facing or the brand, or the team with a strong apparel background, to really take advantage of the desirability of custom-made jeans,” said Ali Fenn, the e-commerce veteran who serves as vice president of sales and strategic marketing, as well as chief financial officer, of the venture. “We knew that 70 percent of women and 40 percent of men said they had a hard time finding apparel that fits, and we knew we had the technology to make what they wanted.”
Its B2C efforts began in 2008 with the introduction of INDi as a consumer brand, giving it a presence in the mass and individual customization camps.
More recently, with the additions of Tommy Hilfiger veteran Ben Ng as chief executive officer of INDi and Ulrich Simpson as its creative director, it’s elected to give up its B2B customization efforts entirely.
“With our old model, we didn’t have a direct line to the consumer,” Fenn noted. “Now we do.”
INDi continues to rely on single-unit manufacturing. “Traditional jeans manufacturers aren’t able to deliver custom denim because they don’t have the technology and expertise that we’ve developed over the past 10 years,” she added. “Customizing denim the way INDi does is really hard stuff, which is why we are the only ones who can do this and have patented the process.
“When other jeans manufacturers make any standard product they still have the need for warehouses and inventory. We don’t, which makes our model that much more efficient.”
Eliminating what Fenn considered the “deep, dark tunnel” of the old interface, customers will be able to assemble jeans with the model, fit, fabric, wash and detailing they want for between $175 and $200 and receive them directly from the company’s factory in Mexico in about four weeks. Once basic sizing information is entered, consumers will have a choice of three different purchase paths to pursue, backing up the goal of letting clients “customize as much or as little as they want to,” said Fenn.
In its simplest form, ordering might just be a matter of modifying a spec or two on any of about 20 styles. Women and men in need of a bit more TLC can choose from various body types, filtering the selections in accordance with their needs. In the full-blown form of the customization process, customers provide detailed information on their body dimensions and type, including data on often-neglected characteristics such as shoe size.
The customer information is used to develop a pattern that’s specific to an individual customer, although easily modified for subsequent orders based on changes in style, fit or weight. Colors are currently limited to various shades of blue, along with black and gray, but will be expanded later.
“About half the jeans bought in the real world are returned,” Fenn said. “We’re so committed to getting the person into the right pair of jeans that we’ll take an exchange at no charge, even if the error was the customer’s. And from the color of the thread to the design on the pockets, there’s very little we can’t make to the customer’s specifications.”
Any exceptions? “We can’t customize a hole in your thigh,” Fenn noted. “At least not right now.”
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion