Unmade's technology allows brands to become more sustainable
The UK has a clothes problem. Around 300,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing ends up in landfill every single year and brands like Burberry have been accused of burning unsold clothes, worth up to £28.6 million.
The problem is that brands are making too many items of clothing that aren’t being bought by customers.
This is the problem Unmade wants to solve. Three friends Ben Alun-Jones, Kirsty Emery and Hal Watts, who met while studying at the Royal College of Art, started the London-based company back in 2014.
The software company provides new manufacturing methods to fashion brands which allows them to only manufacture items that will be sold to consumers. Here’s how it works.
What is Unmade?
Unmade’s mission is to imagine the design and manufacturing processes within the fashion industry so brands only make what is actually sold. This is all about supporting a sustainable, ethical economy.
So far, Unmade has worked with brands such as Opening Ceremony and Farfetch. Unmade provides the technology to allow customers to customise specific items, which can then be commissioned and made.
This allows the brands to order only the clothes that will be sold as well as allowing the customer to buy a truly individual item of clothing.
How does it work?
Brands like Opening Ceremony let customers customise an item of clothing using Unmade’s platform. Then, e-commerce orders are sent directly to the factory, where the product is made and delivered straight to the person that has ordered it.
Unmade’s technology integrates individual and short-run orders in this manner into existing production. This cuts the costs associated with individual orders and speeds them up, make it the same as creating a mass-produced item.
Data is important to how Unmade works. Its software learns and understands customer preferences and design choices through insights, and is able to integrate this with a brand’s manufacturing and supply chain.
It’s not just brands that work with Unmade, Recently, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) commissioned Unmade to create a Breton sweater for its Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibition.
Unmade designed a new version of the classic Breton, naming it “Bret.on”, and attendees at the exhibition were then able to customise the sweater using an interactive touchscreen installation and craft their own version of the iconic jumper.
How Unmade is having an impact on fashion
Unmade is helping to make big fashion brands become more sustainable through its process of only making clothes that will be sold.
And, customisation is a massive factor in this. It’s making it more accessible for brands to allow their customers to customise their clothing, so it can be truly unique.
“Customisation is the first step in replacing the individuality lost by industrialisation. Our aim to build the technologies and tools to make bespoke an industrial reality,” said Unmade’s co-founder and creative director, Ben Alun-Jones.
In order to continue to bring these technologies to different brands, Unmade has raised $4 million in a new funding round, by the likes of Felix Capital and Local Globe.
As part of the raise, Unmade is also bringing on Joel Chippindale as its new CTO, who was previously COO at ed-tech start-up Future Learn.
“With this recent investment and the appointment of Joel as our CTO, we’re more focused than ever on propelling the Unmade business forward during this time of pivotal change in the fashion and retail sectors,” said Hal Watts, Unmade’s co-founder and CEO.
“We strive to be an integral part in building a more sustainable and tech-enabled fashion ecosystem through on-demand manufacturing and customisation.”