By giving skiers the opportunity to pick the minute details of their ski outerwear, custom clothing brands have found a way to push customer repertoire in ways big brands can’t.
Brands such as Beyond Clothing, Wild Things and NWT3K have been pushing the boundaries of outdoor clothing by giving customers what they’ve asked for: custom ski gear.
However, some people say the thought of it becoming a trend is still rudimentary, yet there’s potential for it to grow.
“If this isn’t the future, it should be,” says Scott Jones, Beyond Clothing’s founder. “It is a win-win for everyone.”
With the perks of domestic production and minimal shipping costs, Jones sees custom clothing moving outdoor apparel to the next stage of its evolution.
Wild Things chief executive officer, Edward Schmults is confident that the industry is headed toward customization. He says, to some extent, the market is already there with companies such as Nike ID leading the charge.
By having the ability to pick sizes and specific features (like a hood or pit zips), customize measurements, and choose the color, Beyond Clothing’s Jones says they offer something that can’t be matched by big brands.
Other outerwear brands, such as Seattle-based NWT3K, are on board with custom clothing but say there are challenges.
Nick Marvik, the company’s founder, says not selling custom gear in ski shops poses a potential problem—especially for a new brand. Because custom outerwear is almost exclusively limited to online sales, brands say it limits their reach.
Beyond Clothing presents a possible remedy for this problem. Jones says the brand is working to incorporate a kiosk that allows customers to buy a standard Beyond Clothing jacket and customize it.
Customers could also go through the full process of having their measurements taken, choosing from a full range of accessories and colors, and achieving a customization that could previously be found only online.
If the kiosk plan works, Jones hopes it will combine the excitement of tangible shopping and the personalization of online jacket crafting into one behemoth.
And Wild Things’s Schmults considers implementing a similar system, though he says the lack of retailer accessibility is not a problem.
With custom apparel, the business sidesteps the risk of purchasing a designated amount of a product in hopes of selling it all. Instead, Wild Things purchases the raw material and produces only what is demanded, resulting in a more-efficient, less-risky business strategy.
With overseas factories and sprawling product distribution, it seems unwieldy for many big brands to tackle tailored outerwear. And while big brands may have the product to do it, Jones says many don’t have the method.
Though custom apparel has yet to make a large-scale swing into the outdoor market, NWT3K’s Marvik says the future is bright.
“Customers don’t know what they want until they see it,” Marvik says