Knyttan aiming to takeover the knitwear market with co-creation

Tania    October 20, 2015

Organisation Name : Knyttan

Industry: Fashion 

Web References:

Milk Made


Business of Fashion

Knyttan on Facebook

The Guardian 

About KnyttanFounded in April 2013 by Ben Alun-Jones, Kirsty Emery and Hal Watts, who all met at London’s Royal College of Art, the company’s technology essentially turns industrial knitting machines into something more akin to 3D printers, unlocking the ability to ‘print’ knitwear on-demand.

 Knyttan aims to disrupt the $200 billion knitwear market with technology that turns the industrial knitting machines, which make 20 percent of the world’s garments, into the equivalent of 3D printers for clothes, enabling users to design and ‘print’ their own customised sweaters, scarves and other knitted items, made of Merino wool, for 200 pounds (about $315) for sweaters and 80 pounds (about $125 ) for scarves.

Knyttan and co-creation

Knyttan – Process from KNYTTAN on Vimeo.

Knyttan has managed to cut out several processing layers between the designer and the customer. It also caters to the modern customers sense of urgency since the whole process only takes as little as an hour for the customized design. Knytten in theory could offer unlimited designs with their new technologies since the knitting machine only needs to be reprogrammed for each design rather than ordering bulk product from china, this also cuts out the risk of  ordering too much product that doesn’t end up selling. Using this we could potentially move to a zero stock, on-demand method of production and distribution and only make needed products once the customer has paid. This is a potential  game-changer bringing production lead times to hours rather than days or weeks and completely changing the speed at which you can go-to-market.

The single largest revolution in fashion over the last 20 years was Zara which reduced the overall cycle time from factory to store to just 4-6 weeks. You can now see something on the runway and a month later its on the shelves at Zara. now sea re talking about being able to “print” your own clothes in store in less than a couple of hours. If this sticks it could completely destroys the vertical supply chain of the clothing market.

From a marketing point of view Knyttan also doesn’t have to worry about the customers questioning the quality of their product as the whole process is laid out for them. Knyttan fashion director Kirsty Emery said: “That openness is a marketing asset, and it’s how we want to be as a business.”

Co-creation can add value to a brand – it can add loyalty, particularly in fast fashion and millenials especially are tougher to please and expect more for their dollar, weather its in terms of the design of the product, or leaving feedback on a retailers website. Consumers are no longer passive and they want to have their voices heard. It’s an experiential economy. Brands are becoming more open in their innovation processes, too.

Another fashion start-up that has the co-creation concept at heart is YrStore, which uses innovative print techniques to allow customers to create their own t-shirts.  The company started life as a pop-up in Soho, and now has a concession in Topman where customers can choose from a range of designs, then see their t-shirt printed before them. not sure if the customers were buying into the experience of creating the t-shirt more than the t-shirt itself though? I think consumers value co creating products for the experience but the quality needs to be good and I’m not sure how long the fad will last before customers are tired of making decisions and doing and just want designers to tell them what to wear.

What to takeaway from this:

Co-creation can add value and loyalty to a brand, particularly when it comes to the fast fashion industry.


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