H&M Lab’s Start-up Base in Berlin open the Future of Digital Personalization in Fashion


H&M Lab’s Start-up Base in Berlin

On the evening of June 6th, a store rented by H&M in Mitte, Berlin, which is known as “Starting House”, will serve as the incubation base for H&M Lab in the future to foster start-up ideas. In the evening, the author was invited to attend a forum titled “The Future of Personalization” by ZyseMe, the first brand to collaborate with this base. Speakers in this seminar include head of H&M Lab Oliver Lange, CEO of ZyseMe1 Bobby Östberg, representative of digital printing company, Spoonflower2 Maria Neidhold, while the seminar was hosted by CEO of German sustainable open source sharing platform, Sourcebook, Marte Hentschel.


H&M, ZyseMe, Spoonflower (left to right)

“Personalization” in future fashion is all-encompassing, ranging from basic layouts designed from the beginning, graphic design for fabrics to business model transformation, solutions to processing of inventory and large numbers of online returns, followed by manufacturing technologies, anti-globalization, and eventually privacy issues. In the end, the direction and

conclusion of the forum did not meet expectations as it merely explored the meaning of personalization to fashion, and focused on why the fashion industry will move toward personalization and how long it will take to move toward personalization. Three of the most hotly discussed topics during the forum on that day are listed as follows:

Personalization and customization depend on AI, which is expected to reduce returns of online apparel purchase due to poor fit, thereby reducing carbon emissions from logistics


Using AI to produce fitting clothing only is ZyseMe’s ideal, and one of its sustainability declarations. At present, problems to be observed and solved continue to arise one after another. However, ZyseMe decided still to roll out the use of this technology, otherwise the problems cannot be identified. H&M’s representative echoed the same sentiment, saying that understanding customers’ sizes in advance may solve the current overproduction problem. After all, it is estimated that 20 to 30 billion wearable garments turn into stock every year. Well-controlled quantity of garments produced can also reduce special offers for apparel, thus causing losses to apparel brands. However, the next question is: What if custom clothes or fabrics are returned? As regards this question, ten year-old Spoonflower explained that it is currently still accepting returns, but has found sustainable solutions to handle these fabrics, such as collaborating with an automobile company which adopts upcycling or converting them into energy once again.


the workplace of the innovative brands cooperated with ZyseMe

Transformation of a designer’s role


This part brought together the discussion of various possibilities, including the following questions. Will future designers no longer need to reference trends of the mass market? Does personalization merely cover only size customization or also include outline of design? Will designers only need to design dozens of “basic outlines” a year and also decide on their own other matters, including fabric patterns, based on customer preferences?


the showroom of the innovation brands

Impact on the current supply chain and consumer mentality


In terms of supply chain, Spoonflower, which has been running the custom fabric business for 10 years, revealed that during peak seasons such as Christmas, they will cope with surge in orders by means of “renting machines”, and suggested that the growing number of micro-factories that combine various technologies, including AI, digital printing, etc., in the future will also undoubtedly lead to problems such as machine allocation and use. Concerning consumer mentality, ZyseMe and H&M, which will run a micro-factory in London, said, even if, in terms of privacy, consumers are willing to provide size measurements, it does not mean that consumers want fully fitting apparel; therefore, there will still be problems such preference for tightness or looseness.


No one knows whether the fashion industry will move toward personalization and when it will happen. However, forums in Berlin and Copenhagen have signaled the beginning of discussions on this theme.


[1]ZyseMe is a fashion technology company founded in 2017, which attempts to use AI technology to conduct an online customized service platform beginning 2018


[2] Spoonflower is a digital printing company which was founded in North Carolina, USA in 2018, and prints custom fabrics, where customers can upload their own design of printed fabrics, mainly comprising household fabrics or dress fabrics.



H&M Lab柏林新創基地開啟數位個人訂製化的時尚未來

六月六日晚間,柏林米特區一間由H&M租下的店面,未來將成為H&M Lab扶植新創點子的孵化基地,名字就叫做「Starting House」。筆者晚間受邀參加第一間與這座基地合作的品牌ZyseMe,舉辦題為「個人化(Personalization)時尚未來」的討論會。與談來賓包括H&M Lab負責人Oliver Lange、ZyseMe[1] CEO Bobby Östberg、美國數位印刷公司Spoonflower[2]代表Maria Neidhold,主持人則是德國永續共享資源平台負責人Marte Hentschel。


未來時尚中所謂的「個人化」,從一開始設計的基本版型、布料的圖樣設計、到商業模式的轉型、這是否是針對庫存及大量網路退貨處理的解答、再到製造技術、反全球化、最終涉及隱私權的問題,無所不包。最終論壇發展的走向與結論,並未照預期的,僅探討對時尚來說個人化是什麼,而是聚焦在:為何時尚產業將走向個人化、以及距離走到個人化,還有多久。以下分享當天引起最多現場討論的三個議題方向:

個人化、客製化需仰賴AI,預期可減少線上購衣不合退貨的現象,減少物流碳排放


利用AI達到僅生產合適的衣著,是ZyseMe的理想,也是其永續宣言的一條,目前待觀察及解決的問題還在陸續出現,但ZyseMe說還是上路,不然試不出問題在哪;H&M的代表則是呼應,如果在顧客尺寸方面能夠先一步掌握,期望能解決目前生產過剩的問題,畢竟一年全球估計有兩至三百億件可穿的服裝,變成庫存,若是生產的服裝量控制好,也可以減少服裝特賣,對品牌造成的成本損失。但隨之出現的問題就是:如果客製的衣服、或訂製布料被退貨了,怎麼辦?針對此題,成立十年的Spoonflower表示,它們目前還是會接受退貨,但替這些布料尋找永續的處理方法,如,和一間升級回收的汽車公司合作、或再次成為能源。

設計師角色的轉變


這部分是關於各種可能性的討論,包括,未來設計師是否不再需要參考大眾市場走向?所謂的個人化,單純指尺寸的客製,還是包括設計輪廓在內?設計師未來,一年可能只需要設計十多款「基本型的輪廓」,其他包括布料的圖樣,也將可依顧客喜好,自行決定?


對當前供應鏈、及消費者心態的影響

供應鏈部分,經營訂製布料十年的Spoonflower表示,在旺季,如聖誕節時,會以「租機器」的方式來應付暴增的訂單,也提示出若是未來,結合AI、數位列印等技術的微型工廠漸增,勢必也將引出機器分配及使用等問題;在消費者心態方面,ZyseMe和在將在倫敦運作微型工廠的H&M都表示,就算消費者在隱私權方面願意提供尺寸測量,但不代表消費者就要完全合身的服裝,因此還是會遇到寬鬆度喜好的問題。

未來時尚產業是否走向個人化、何時發生,尚不知曉,但在柏林、哥本哈根論壇,這樣的主題討論會的號角,已開始吹響。

[1] ZyseMe成立於2017年的時尚科技公司,2018年開始,嘗試利用AI科技,進行線上客製化服務平台。

[2] Spoonflower成立於2008年,美國北卡羅萊納州的數位客製印花布料公司,客戶可以自行上傳設計好的印花布樣,多數做為家居用布,或者洋裝布。

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