NEW YORK— Customization can provide a variety of advantages for companies. Not only does it allow shoppers to tweak their apparel and accessory choices to meet their size and style requirements, it also cuts down on waste in the fashion industry pipeline.In a breakfast on fashion customization here Tuesday, Michelle Lee, head of Americas for The Woolmark Company, joined Veronika Harbick, chief executive officer and cofounder of Thursday Finest, a direct-to-consumer accessories manufacturer, to discuss the advantages of allowing customers to choose the color, design and embellishments of their wardrobes.Harbick said customers have more of a vested interest in a product if they have a hand in how it’s made. As a result, the brand, which sells socks, ties and scarves, will send a video to customers as their products are being manufactured to create an emotional connection. It also opened a pop-up shop in SoHo where people were able to see through a large glass window the knitting machine creating its customized products.She said when the business started, it used cotton, but has since transitioned into merino wool for accessories because of its comfort, quality and durability.“We’re finding an increase in interest from fashion brands and designers,” Lee said, noting that wool has the natural ability to both warm and cool the body. As a result, wool is making inroads within the activewear community, she said. The Woolmark Company has had a partnership with Adidas for more than five years and worked to create wool running shoes and is working on apparel with the brand as well.Additionally, Lee said, wool is biodegradable so its impact on the environment is reduced, something that is important to the socially conscious younger generation that prefers to “purchase with a purpose.”Customization also allows brands to avoid producing “piles and piles of apparel” that doesn’t sell and then winds up being discarded.This is an opportunity for Thursday Finest, Harbick said, adding that the brand hopes to continue to add product categories to its offering with sweaters the next logical extension.
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