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What makes Customization-the Future of Fashion by Neha Khilnani

Brands need to have an intuitive and spontaneous approach, which helps them to carve out a quality over quantity reputation.

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When it comes to customization, the world is your oyster. From visualizing a unique outfit, you love that’ll make everyone go, “Where did you get that?” to personalized handbags and so on, almost anything can turn into your canvas. The same works for shoes. And if you like me believe your shoe style is pretty much an extension of your personality and; arguably hints at your daily mood then you’ll know that there are shoe-makers out there who’ll let you express yourself by creating pieces from heel to toe in just about any style, colour and texture imaginable. So, whether you’ve got - narrow or wide, small or gigantic feet, my personal experiences from designing shoes made me realize that a bespoke pair will not only keep your shoe game on fleek but will also arouse envy in all those who see you stride!

Essentially I come from a service background and simultaneously got into the product driven spaces thanks to my mother’s dream project which over a period of time turned into my passion project. As far as I’m concerned I’ve noticed, that many petite Indian women are a shoe size 34 or 35 whereas the taller ones usually wear a 42 or 43 size. But most of them are hard pressed to find brands that will cater to their needs of comfort.

Simply because options available to customize shoes are still very less in the market space. But actually, made to measure pieces happen to be the perfect reminder that a sense of ease and style can seriously co-exist! Over and above that such shoes have endless styling possibilities, I dare you to run out of ways to team ‘em up. While catering to the new age woman from all age groups, such brands need to have an intuitive and spontaneous approach, which helps them to carve out a quality over quantity reputation. Moving on, I feel that a well made pair that is designed for your feet with careful measurements and workmanship will give you more satisfaction as opposed to a ready-to-wear pair off the rack, even if it’s from a high end brand. Besides changing colours and adding artwork customization involves complex restoration, sole swapping and embellishments too. And labels who take a walk on the vegan side end up playing with unique materials. Frankly, even the choice of materials used will ultimately affect the final feel, fit and durability of the pair. That said, custom-made shoes always have a story to tell through their innovative design.

Inherently, customization is growing because it has become a great way for people to voice their views. Interestingly, sustainability, fast fashion and the element of social responsibility too play an important role. As shoppers grow eco-conscious their buying behaviour helps in the rise of personalization. From the way I see when it comes to a decision between buying many poorly made products we like, or investing in an item that has been beautifully crafted in an ethical environment, which can be worn for years on end, the choice is indisputable. Yes, baby steps are being made towards more ethical practices in fashion, but something is better than nothing. Which is why, a few home grown brands are stepping up the plate and paving the way as we want to create an awareness of the alternatives, which will make you prouder of your wardrobe. The appeal of made-to-measure business model is twofold. In addition to providing inclusive sizing, ethical production process helps to solve fashion's waste problem. So in all honestly, sustainability and fast fashion for me are reasons enough to explain such a meteoric rise in interest. 

Long story short, as fashion enters its next era, shoe designers in this space are making moves to align with this shift in consumer sensitivities. Customization is changing the game for every participant in the fashion industry and the result of all this will be a sector that becomes increasingly streamlined while simultaneously offering more options than ever before. 

A wave of new manufacturing processes, distribution channels, and even raw materials and fabrics will increasingly allow brands to offer hyper-personalized products and experiences. And it will be fascinating to watch customization pave the path for the future of fashion! 

*All the above excerpts are based on my personal experiences from my start-ups The Shoe Duet and Conneckting Dots PR and Media Solutions.  

(The Article is written by Neha Khilnani,Founder at Connekting Dots PR & Brand Communications)

 


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