According to a recent piece by GQ, a growing number of stores are creating in-house clothing lines, but instead of hiring designers, they’re simply combining customer-approved elements from well-selling third-party brands.
As the story explains, “today’s retailers are more able… to create in-house gear that is beloved,” thanks to the data-rich process of online shopping — where, in the right hands, even returns can hold valuable information.
“If a retailer knows the things you don’t like, it can make clothes that… don’t share those details,” wrote Cam Wolf. Or, in other words, “it’s design solved by mass data aggregation.”
“We know what our customers are shopping intimately,” said the designer of Mr. Porter’s private label, Mr. P. “We can obviously see what they’re wearing, what they’re buying, and what they don’t like as well. We know what they’re sending back and what’s wrong with things.”
The Mr. P oxford button down, for instance, is an amalgamation of over 100 shirts sold on Mr Porter, with the most popular elements borrowed from each and tailored into what’s basically a well-fitting Megazord.
“The rise of these collections tell a story,” writes Wolf, “about the way our increasingly digitized world determines what clothes look like — and how retailers are looking for any way” to differentiate themselves while increasing profit margins.
And if this designer-less “future of design is bumming you out, know that algorithmically perfect clothes are not all gloom and doom,” Wolf writes, saying that if done right, “the best private-label brands might get close to accomplishing what we love genius high-fashion designers for: creating something their customers don’t even know they want.”
You can read more about it at GQ.