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Amazon may start producing clothing on-demand with patented factory

Why it matters to you

Assuming you can get accurate measurements, ordered-precisely-to-size clothes may become a thing for everyone.

The next time someone asks, “Who are you wearing?” the best answer may be “Amazon,” even if it’s a one-of-a-kind article of clothing. The online shopping giant was recently granted a patent for on-demand apparel manufacturing, according to Recode.

During the past two years, Amazon has been busy launching its own fashion labels. More recently the company introduced Outfit Compare for Prime members who can get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from Amazon stylists. Since Amazon also has its own broadcast network, that is where you can tune into Amazon’s digital video fashion and beauty program, Style Code Live.

It would appear that the next item on Amazon’s clothing-industry checklist is, “Our own factory — no inventory.” The original patent application date is December 16, 2015. The patent was granted on Tuesday.

Amazon on-demand apparel manufacturing diagram

Amazon on-demand apparel manufacturing

Rather than manufacture and stock styles and sizes, the patented system could let you choose a style, select materials, and colors. You would then either enter your exact current measurements or perhaps include a link to an online registry.

With all the necessary information the order would be processed by various computer-driven systems at the fabrication plant closest to the shipping destination for same-day or next-day delivery. In big cities, it is not inconceivable that you might decide to go out right after work, order some new custom duds by mid-afternoon, and have them delivered freshly pressed and hung at your workplace by closing time.

One part of the patent seems similar to the above fantasy, except for localized assembly. “By aggregating orders from various geographic locations and coordinating apparel assembly processes on a large scale, the embodiments provide new ways to increase efficiency in apparel manufacturing.”

Not content to limit the system only to clothing, as Recode pointed out, the patent states the system could be applied to other products, such as “footwear, bedding, curtains, and towels.”

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