How ‘Made to Order’ Fashion Encourages Sustainability

Thanks to modern conveniences such as next-day delivery, targeted advertising, and online shopping, the quick turn-around time for seeing a desired piece of clothing to actually wearing it, is something consumers expect. 

Sadly, the fast fashion trend has solidified its place in the consumer world, necessitating mass wholesale manufacturing at breakneck speed. In turn, this has contributed to one of the most damaging effects of fashion: waste.  

At Poème, we are firm believers in merging style with sustainability and strong advocates of practicing conscious shopping - which is why we’re excited at the prospect of made to order clothing and the positive effects this business model has on our planet.  

Made to order dresses, tops, skirts, and more allow customers to customize products to their specifications - down to the size, color, detailing, and even add-ons such as pockets and zippers. The nature of made to order means that manufacturing will only begin once a company receives the order, rather than mass-producing garments without any evidence that they will sell. This drastically helps to reduce waste and levels of the surplus stock ending up in landfills.

Of course, tailored clothing means that customers will have to wait longer for their products. In an age where we can quickly get anything with a simple click of a mouse, the concept of the made to order model may likely require a mind-shift for some consumers. 

It’s almost baffling to think of a time in the not-so-distant past when the concept of waiting for a piece of clothing specifically made for you was common. Perhaps the conveniences and speed of the 21st century has spoiled us?

Customizable clothing offers an emotional value to the consumer that fast-fashion cannot compete with. It connects us to our garments, moving shopping from a transaction from the shelf (or screen) to a shopping bag, to a human interaction that requires conversation. And we cannot deny the exciting anticipation of awaiting a piece of clothing made especially for you. 

While the craftsmanship of made to order clothing comes with a higher price tag compared to the shockingly-low prices of fast fashion (that often come attached with questionable ethical and sustainable production methods), the price that our planet pays is far worse.  

In the fast-paced world of fashion, both consumers and designers have an important role to play in the shift towards sustainable shopping.  For fashion brands, this means producing clothing made under ethical conditions with eco-friendly textiles, such as linen, bamboo, tencel, hemp, and organic cotton.  

At Poème, we’re proud to say that all of our garments are made through practices that facilitate empowerment, not exploitation. We work with a family-run manufacturer in Bali where every employee receives above Indonesian industry-standard wages, 8-hour workdays, vacation time, and health insurance.

For consumers, this means shopping with clear intention and supporting locally-owned boutiques over big chains. It means choosing brands whose products are made under ethical conditions; it means avoiding the impulse buying of purchasing new clothing that will be worn only a few times. Even though fast fashion may be tempting due to its affordability, we ask you to consider the harmful effects of overproduction.  

For both brands and consumers, made to order clothing is part of the answer towards more sustainable fashion. It stops retailers from over-producing poorly made clothing and it encourages shoppers to create a curated wardrobe of quality pieces that they will wear time and time again.  

In short, made to order clothing is the much-needed shift to slow fashion the industry desperately needs.