The new wave of 3-D body scanners has solved the main problem facing online stores, providing customers with properly fitted clothes. Digital bespoke menswear brand Acustom Apparel is taking advantage of the tech by launching its first e-commerce site, allowing men who have been scanned at its Manhattan headquarters to buy and replace their beloved custom-fit items with the click of a button.
This solves yet another menswear problem: replacements. If you've finally found a shirt that fits you like a glove, and then stained or lost it, you'll be able to order the exact same one without facing out-of-stock messages, seasonal inventory shifts, or treks back into the store.
Founder Jamal Motlagh said he had already seen strong re-purchasing rates among his clients, so it made sense to speed up the ordering process. The site will store each customer's sizing data in an online profile that includes a detailed order history. Major sizing changes would require a re-scan, but minor adjustments (say, a weight gain of five pounds over the holidays) can be e-mailed to the store's designers which will adjust the sizing in their records.
Body scanners have been on the start-up fashion circuit for a while and appeared in a few New York City Brooks Brothers as early as 2010. But Motlagh, a Harvard Business School graduate, founded Acustom Apparel in 2011 with the hopes making custom clothing even more accessible – in other words, faster and cheaper. By replacing pattern-makers and tailors with scanners (his have the same technology as XBox), he was able price chinos at about $150, shirts at $150 and cotton suits at about $600. Those prices are competitive with custom retail giant Bonobos.
Most of Acustom's clients have a pretty firm grasp on their personal style, but if the site does well, Motlagh hopes to add "Style School" videos that will share advice on how to wear certain pieces.
"Eventually we'd love to expand on our customization options," he says, "and add an online wardrobe for our clients."