by Alex R. Travers
Tailoring by digital body scan? You bet it’s a sartorial change. And it’s been a successful one for Acustom Apparel, SoHo’s latest men’s wear boutique that uses advanced technology to create custom clothing.
The image that pops up after you experience a 3-D scan at Acustom Apparel is a holographic-like representation of your body. Next to that picture are 200,000 raw data points that extract thousands of measurements in order to quickly and accurately determine how your clothes should be made. Pretty neat, right? Now, what to call it.
Jamal Motlagh, Acustom Apparel’s CEO and co-founder, couldn’t have come up with a better term: Digital Bespoke men’s wear. “Depending on the product,” he says, “the scan’s data points go into our Digital Bespoke algorithm and spit out a pattern that we cut and sow around to make your garments. What the algorithm does, essentially, is what a traditional bespoke tailor would have done for two, three, or even four hours. We just do it faster.”
It’s a response to a question Motlagh grew attuned to while studying at business school: Why aren’t men able to customize their clothing in both fit and style? Traditional bespoke tailoring wasn’t the answer, too expensive and time consuming. Neither was ordinary shopping; what’s on the racks is what you get.
Perhaps what comes across strongest at Acustom Apparel is an ethos that blends a little bit of both worlds, the importance of tailoring and the demands for a speedy, custom-designed shopping experience. At Accustom, you won’t see hundreds of fabric swatches ready for your review. Rather, there are suits, jeans, chinos, and shirts on hangers and mannequins that you can browse through, touch, and then tweak to your fancy. Since there are many versions of final products in the boutique, it’s not hard to imagine what your specific creation will come to look like.
“I’m into the customization of it,” Motlagh explains. Acustom Apparel offers many types of personalization: fit, lining, lapels, ticket pocket, and type and location of contrast, too—think white stitching on a blue blazer’s lapel buttonhole, for example. “We feel like we’re melding old and new worlds. Guys needed a more curated experience of custom clothing, so we brought it to the street, dropped the price, and made it interesting and salable in a quick manner. In 15 minutes you can design two or three items, get scanned, and then be on your way.”
Motlagh claims that most of his clients average zero to one fittings—“That’s what’s cool about the technology.” He typically suggests a jacket fitting in order to go over particulars like sleeve length and fit. After that discussion, the clothes are shipped directly to you in three to six weeks.
“For us, it’s been more about how to make this clothing easier and how we can change the shopping experience for men.” One of the ways he’s doing so is by allowing customers to design their clothing without having to come into the store once they’ve been digitally measured. To ensure this is a success, Acustom Apparel makes certain you are entirely happy with your initial fit and design. Then, if it’s another suit you desire, simply call in and tell them how you’d like the next one crafted.
So, yes, Motlagh is doing custom tailoring quite differently than his competitors. But his model is also a smart answer to the fast-paced demands of the modern male shopper, a consumer who knows what he wants and cares tremendously about fit. And since Acustom Apparel’s technology makes the tailoring process easy and affordable, it kind of begs the question: Could Acustom Apparel go from savvy idea to full-on fashion label?
Motlagh’s reply, “You know how you say, ‘I got a guy for this?’ Now you have a brand that carries everything you want short of, say, a T-shirt.”
330 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
For pricing and more information, visit acustom.com.