EP5: Rosanne van der Meer, N.I.O., Fashion on Demand

For this Ellie.Talks’s episode, we’ve invited Rosanne van der Meer, from New Industrial Order – N.I.O., to talk about Fashion on Demand.

Rosanne is the founder of New Industrial Order, a laboratory for fashion on demand, with the mission to create a circular system for order-made fashion.

During her Talk, Rosanne inspires you with the story of the New Industrial Order, and their vision for the future of the industry, which will be fully personalised, sustainable, and local: fashion on demand in local ecosystems for 3D Knitting.


New. Industrial. Order.

Sounds big, but considering the enormous challenges we face in the industry, the solutions must be big too. A bold statement to start the discussion.

N.I.O started out of fantasy by a group of designers.

‘If you could choose a fur or skin, what would you choose?’

Starting from this fantasy, N.I.O looked at how they can bring this one to life, and bring it to the market.

The Girl with the Machine

As a first step in the journey, they’ve launched the brand ‘The Girl with the Machine’, a brand offering ultrapersonal clothing. The idea behind the brand was to offer the best possible clothing system for consumers. This follows a strong belief that change will never happen if consumers feel like they are worse off than before. Make you offer that is good for consumers so the old, conventional system will phase out.

To bring the idea from The Girl with the Machine to life, they started a crowdfunding campaign. Very soon, it became clear that the existing supply chains are not ready yet for fully personalized clothing.

So, instead of holding on to the fantasy of creating a second skin, a fur, N.I.O. re-examined the concept of the best clothing for mankind and defined the following:

  • Technically:
    • Well-designed
    • Good fit
    • Offer protection
    • Skin-friendly
  • Psychologically
    • Empowering
    • Helps with identification
  • Practically
    • Capsule Wardrobe
    • Ultra Personal
    • No Bad Buys
    • Dynamic, exchange, creative alterations, repair
  • Environmental sense
    • Clean
    • Stimulate biodiversity
    • Durable
    • re-use, repair, recycle
    • minimal carbon footprint
  • Social sense
    • Value of natural resources
    • Value of Human Resources
    • Transparent
    • Take back systems
    • Recycling and remake operations locally

A laboratory for fashion on demand.

As a next step, N.I.O. set up a laboratory on demand, aimed to test how on-demand fashion can exist, and can be introduced to the market.

The laboratory is the answer to the existing production systems and combines several technologies to enable fashion on demand.

  • 3D Knitting Technology:
    • 3D knitting machines do not generate any production waste
    • Knitted clothes cost 20 times less energy than woven clothes
    • If you offer knit on demand, as a brand you’ll have to produce 10-17% fewer clothes to satisfy your consumer demand
    • Uncut thread: you can unravel the entire garment again, possibly on Industrial scale but no one is doing this -yet-.
    • Viable to do this in Europe, in local supply chains
  • 3D knit code generator
    • Knit programming is very complex and very time-consuming.
    • From the laboratory, they are working on a knit code generator. A large database of knitting data, of building blocks, knit code, that you can combine to create a on-demand code.
    • The future goal is the generate knit code from a 3D model.
  • 3D Knit visualizers
    • Already exists for woven shirts, but for knitwear, it is quite complex because of the specific behavior. Working on displaying knits in a more realistic way.
    • This would help with the virtual fitting
  • Knitcloud: the infrastructure to produce knitwear on demand.
    • On-demand concepts instead of Bulk require an ecosystem of manufacturers.
    • Allowing production to take place within 500km of your customer
    • The goal is to create a virtual ecosystem of producers, allowing brands all over Europe to produce their knitted garments and to order within this geographic scope of 500km. ‘Custom printed knitwear in your store within 7 days.’
    • Knitcloud is a very innovative, and future-forward project and at the moment not financeable yet as there are still a lot of questions raised about the technologies needed to enable this kind of network.

Fashion on demand is still quite new in the market as the costs are significantly higher compared to mass production. However, progress is inevitable, and prices will drop as technology evolves. Keep the dream, and the vision, and keep working towards that as the opportunities will follow.