Approach

The overall objective of Open Garments is the Manufacturing Service Provider (MSP) Business Model enabling individual garments. This business model will enable a new form of design, production and sales of consumer designed and configured garments, based on the provision of individualised services and products to customers and partners. This will lead to new product designs, to a much more customer satisfaction, and to an improvement of the stability and competitiveness of SMEs.

The MSP business model will be developed, implemented and tested in real industrial environments for garments. Applying this business model the European Textile and Clothing Industry (TCI) will be able to create and provide individual garments with a very high degree of customisation in terms of fit, fashion and function at a comparable price in approximately 72 hours.

The project concept is to empower the consumer as designer, producer and retailer for individual garments. Project conceptThe approach is

  • to take the capabilities, the knowledge, the creativity, and the willingness of consumers by means of web-based virtual communities of individuals,
  • to adopt and integrate (mainly) existing digital technologies for design and production of individual garments in a framework of Open Innovation (OI) and (a new concept of) Open Manufacturing (OM), and
  • to turn this into a new organisational concept for SMEs with an appropriate business model and tools for the Manufacturing Service Provider, which coordinates, supports and partly manages the Open Innovation consumer community and the Open Manufacturing network.

Open Innovation in general is the collaboration between enterprises and customers / consumers within the product / service innovation process, where all actors in the value chain contribute and share knowledge. 

Open Manufacturing is a hereby new concept for the production of customised physical goods, in this case of individual garments. It (OM) describes a flexible network of production units ranging in size from MicroEnterprises to SMEs. All production units are aligned to mass customisation and rapid manufacturing for fast and flexible fulfilment of small size orders. The coordination and support with vital services of all these small production units will be performed by the MSP, enabling the MicroEnterprises to concentrate to its core competences. 

As a new business model a Manufacturing Service Provider will provide services for the Open Innovation consumer community as well as for the Open Manufacturing network. The services for the OI community contain basic garment models, "toolkits" for design, configuration and order of the garment, for sharing and improvement of the design and for selling the garment. The services for the MicroEnterprises, which are organised in flexible OM networks, include such for accounting, production planning, tracking & tracing. Further the MSP will maintain the creativity space with all related knowledge, manage the interface between the OI community and the OM network (in particular translation design information into production process instructions - CAD-CAM), and manage and/or co-ordinate the processes of production and logistics. The MSP will use the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as framework approach.

The main reasons that led to Open Garments are the increasing demand for individual/customised goods of fashion (garments, accessories, jewellery, bags, belts, and other), and the opportunities of the digital world, of which are relevant for this project:

  • the success of the Open Innovation / open source phenomenon, performed by virtual communities in the web,
  • sophisticated knowledge management and communication methods with supporting tools, and
  • technologies for 3D-garment design and virtual prototyping, for 2D-digital fabric printing and for Rapid Manufacturing ("3D-printing")