In the sneaker industry, it normally takes around 12 to 18 months for a new clothing design to make it to store shelves. Adidas wants to shorten that wait to a matter of hours. To that end, the German fitness apparel company has opened a pop-up shop in Berlin that enables customers to design, manufacture and buy a customized merino wool sweater for 200€ ($215).
The process starts when the customer enters a darkened room where dozens of different designs and patterns are projected onto their chests. The customer picks their favorites, then adjust the color combinations on an adjacent touchscreen. To get the size right, the buyer can choose between the standard S/M/L sizing, or strip down to their skivvies for a 3D laser scan fitting. Once the order is in, the sweaters are machine knitted in the store, then hand-finished, laundered, dried and packaged for pickup -- all within four hours.
This isn't the first time that Adidas has tried to speed up its merchandise manufacturing. The company employs robots extensively throughout its operations and has dabbled in 3D printing. The "Knit for You" store has been open for a couple months now and reportedly sells around 10 sweaters a day on busy days. Adidas is currently looking at the store's performance to determine if it will expand the service to other locations.