Customized blazers made on-site in about 90 minutes. (Some might call this product more of a cardigan.) More from the retailer and the equipment manufacturer.
Benefits of this approach compared with the traditional process include better fit, reduced fabric waste (indeed, the process starts with yarn rather than with fabric), elimination of seams for better durability, and avoidance of inventory vs demand mismatches. OTOH, the machine is priced at $190,000 and for a store with high volumes, several of them are going to be required. I’m not sure whether this will be only a niche product/service or whether it heralds the beginning of a sea change in the traditional cut-and-sew method of apparel production…surely something that will come sooner or later, with vast consequences.
This innovation reminded me of a story from pre-industrial-revolution days. In 1589, an Englishman named William Lee invented a device called the stocking frame, which aimed to greatly improve the productivity of knitting the material for the stockings that were then in vogue. According to a common story, he was motivated to create the machine because when he came to call on a girl he was sweet on, she persisted in paying more attention to her knitting than to him. So his intent was either (a) free up her time so she would have more (hopefully) for him, or (b) get revenge on her for rejecting him. (I’d rather think he was naive (version A) than vicious (version B))
He then arranged to demonstrate the machine to Queen Elizabeth, hoping for a patent. In one version of the story, she expressed disappointment that the machine was only good for wool and told him to come back when it could also handle silk…which enhancement he was indeed able to accomplish. In any case, Elizabeth ultimately rejected the device because of concerns about technological unemployment:
Thou aimest high, Master Lee. Consider thou what the invention could do to my poor subjects. It would assuredly bring to them ruin by depriving them of employment, thus making them beggars.
The inventor moved to France and was there granted a patent by Henry IV…he began successful manufacturing of stockings in Rouen, but the King’s assassination in 1610 made the political climate for the venture untenable. William Lee lived out the rest of his life in poverty. It appears that in the late 1600s an improved version of the machine was re-introduced to England by Huguenot refugees from France, this time successfully, and further improvements were made over time, including the ability of the machines to work with cotton. These improved versions were however too expensive for most artisans to purchase on their own, and they were generally rented out by the same entrepreneurs who provided the framework knitters with their raw materials and purchased their resultant product.
An interesting article on William Lee and his machine here.
The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters has a wonderful coat-of-arms featuring William Lee and the object of his desire, with the machine between them.