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Report | May 2014

Made to Measure: Still a long way to go

Made to Measure concept has not yet clicked in India since delivery and price issues are still to be tackled to make MTM convenient and comfortable to people, opines Shipra Sharma.

The Indian customer is going through a swift makeover in its lifestyle and profile. This shift can be seen from price consideration to fit, quality and design with the change in the customer focus. Individuals are experimenting with fashion and technology by moving towards luxury products. The market has to provide apparels in terms of fits, style, on-time delivery and technology to the consumer. Made to Measure garments are the clothing that is sewn from a standard-sized base pattern, e.g., a tailored suit.

The Made to Measure garments are expected to give better fit as compared to the ready-to-wear garment as the latter are constructed as per the definition of the manufacturer about an average customer, whereas made to measure garments are as per the individual requirements of a customer. The process for ordering a made to measure garment starts from the retailer taking the measurements of the customer. The retailer then selects a base pattern that corresponds closely with these measurements and makes the final pattern with an altered pattern.

Made to Measure is an excellent initiative with a focus on customer satisfaction; however, there are many challenges in-between, the satisfaction of the consumer and the growth of the company. The key benefit to the customer who opts for Made to Measure clothing is that the garments will be as per the fit requirements of the customer besides the customisation of fabric and detailing of the garment. The disadvantage of made-to-measure is that the customer has to wait for several weeks for the completion of the manufacturing process of the garment.

The trend is relatively new in India and as of now exists only for suits and a very few suit manufacturers have entered this niche market of factory finished custom tailored suits. At present, four companies who are working on this concept are: Raymond, Silver Crest, Reid & Taylor and Madura.

However, Made to Measure garments seem to have less workmanship than bespoke or "custom made" garments. This is so because such garments have some form of standardisation in the patterns and the stitching processes, whereas a bespoke garment is manufactured wholly based on a customers specifications.

From the costing point of view, a made to measure garment is more expensive than ready-to-wear garment but less costly as compared to a bespoke garment.

The made to measure clothing involves retailers as well as manufacturers. Although, the retailers have the awareness of selling the product, they may not be capable of giving relevant instructions to the manufactures about the fit of the garment. On the other hand, the limitation of the manufacturer is to make fit based on the inadequate and flawed instructions from the retailer. At the end, the resulting product is not as per the customers expectations resulting in dissatisfaction.

The various brands offering made to measure garments in India are: Raymond, Louis Philippe, Reid and Taylor, Armani, Canali, Versace, Corneliani, Cadini, Gucci. Out of these, Raymond, Louis Philippe and Reid and Taylor are domestic. Others are designer brands like Armani, Versace, Canali, Gucci, Corneliani and Cadini and these designer brands manufacture their suits outside India. Also these designer brands operate over few stores, for eg, from the chart, Armani is having only two stores across India and both are based in New Delhi. To be able to offer a custom tailored garment at the point of sale, the requirements are:

  • A complete set of size charts is defined with different size ranges that are categorised as per the figure types.
  • The patterns are made for the reference garment in the various standard sizes. Th
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