Last month we wrote about how fashion software technology company Unmade partnered up with Avery Dennison, a global leader in innovative materials science, branding and manufacturing, today we are talking about their partnership with New Balance. The fashion tech experts latest collaboration with the sportswear brand reveals customisable knitted shoe, made possible by Unmade’s fashion technology platform.
Manufacturing Heritage Meets Digital Technology
Founded by Hal Watts, Kirsty Emery and Ben Alun-Jones in 2014, Unmade has become recognised for driving innovation through an end-to-end digital solution for on-demand production at scale, delivering customisation, team-wear and micro-fulfilment. The business was born out of a desire to reimagine both the design and manufacturing processes within the fashion industry. One of the ways that they are unlocking new opportunities for forward-thinking brands is through developing partnerships with dynamic brands with a genuine desire to be “demand-driven and customer-centric”.
The customisable knitted shoe is a great example of the marriage between manufacturing and digital technology. Offering the best customisation experience for consumers looking to create their own knitted shoe upper, the platform also plays a crucial role in helping New Balance develop agile supply chains, driven by real-time demand, instead of forecasting. Katherine Petrecca, GM Footwear, New Balance said: “At New Balance, we’re always looking for new ways to create truly exciting customer experiences and the launch of the NB1 111 silhouette helps us get closer to our customers, and further the ingenuity and prestige of our brand.”
Creating An Unrivalled Experience
The collaboration marks an exciting venture between the two companies by bringing new digital competencies to a powerful global brand. Unmade CEO Hal Watts said: “Working with the New Balance team has been a defining moment in the Unmade story, and we are very excited to be working to create an unrivalled experience for New Balance customers. That’s what really matters to us both.”
When it comes to the customisation and design process, Unmade’s patented algorithms have made sure that it is fully connected to the New Balance supply chain. Turning unique designs into production-ready data, this is the first time this has been possible to the millimetre accuracy necessary for footwear production.
On why the process Unmade offers is essential Watts said: “The fashion supply chain is broken, disconnected and needs to change – we know it, and our global customers know it too. Connecting demand directly to supply and to take the guesswork out of fashion production is the only way to evolve, and we love working with brands who grasp the importance and urgency of these changes”.
The collaboration has given New Balance the ability to curate and art-direct specifications, including mannequin shots, modelled studio shots and lifestyle imagery, giving the customer a unique experience. Also, there has been an improvement in the consumer experience. The change, which is fully supported by Unmade’s visualisation system, means that New Balance can now deliver photographic renders of the customer’s unique design before it has ever been made.
On why they partnered with Unmade Petrecca shared: “Our relationship with Unmade is helping us move our customisation offering to the next level. The data that Unmade’s platform gives us has pushed the limits of what is possible in our manufacturing and fulfilment processes and inspired innovation right across our domestic operations. Without Unmade’s technology, it would have been technically impossible to launch.”
Offering sneaker-heads the opportunity to create an entirely bespoke product with a choice of six colour-ways, three patterns to manipulate and text, the New Balance customisation platform, NB1, could be the way forward especially when it comes to brands becoming more sustainable and efficient throughout their value chain.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.