What Is Fashion On-Demand? A Guide to On-Demand Fashion

By Rebekah Carter|Posted on 17 May 2023
What Is Fashion On-Demand? A Guide to On-Demand Fashion

You’ve heard of video and music on demand, but what about fashion on-demand? In a world where consumers are used to seeing mass-produced garments more than custom-made apparel, the concept of fashion on-demand may seem unusual. However, it’s a notion that’s gaining increasing attention in the modern landscape.

Building on the rapidly increasing popularity of the “Print on Demand” or “POD” landscape, fashion on-demand is a business model specifically for apparel and clothing companies. It provides a low-cost, low-risk, and sustainable way to produce highly personalized products, without waste.

In a world where approximately 74% of Gen Z customers, 67% of Millennials, and 61% of Gen Xers all say they want more personalized, unique products, Fashion on-Demand has the potential to transform the garment industry completely. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Fashion on-Demand? Defining on-Demand Production so, What Is Fashion on-Demand?

Simply put, it’s a business model which expands on the popularity of dropshipping and print-on-demand production. With fashion on-demand, just like “POD”, products are created only after an order is placed, according to the exact specifications outlined in the purchase.

With both print and fashion on-demand, designers and creators work with third-party companies who handle the process of applying patterns and designs to clothing on their behalf. This means there are no in-house production fees to worry about, no requirements to purchase any specialist equipment, and no hiring costs. Additionally, these on-demand production companies often offer support with the fulfillment process for retailers too.

When an order is placed by a customer, it’s produced by the third-party partner, packaged, and shipped directly to their door. This means you can avoid all the hassle of managing inventory and working with logistics companies yourself.

What makes fashion on-demand distinct from standard print on demand, however, is the customization options. While many traditional print-on-demand companies allow designers to simply print their images on a selection of “white label” items, fashion on-demand companies produce the entire piece according to the designer’s specifications.

This means you get to choose which eco-friendly materials you use, what kind of printing methods you want, and even what the labels on the products look like. As a result, clothes companies can more effectively differentiate their brand from competitors in the fashion industry.

How Does on-Demand Production Work?

Most forms of on-demand production have grown in popularity in recent years for a number of reasons. Not only do consumers want more unique products in the clothing market, but they’re also heavily focused on sustainability. In one study, 25% of customers said they have spent more money on sustainable fashion in recent years, thanks to on-demand production.

With an on-demand production model, companies don’t produce large quantities of a single product and then hold their inventory until it’s sold. Every garment is only produced when an order is placed. This reduces the amount of wasted material in the fashion space, and minimizes the risk of companies ending up with large pallets of unsold inventory.

With on-demand production, items are created precisely according to the request made by the buyer. This ensures every product is always created in the right size, and style for the individual.

Advantages of Production on-Demand

Production on demand and fashion on-demand comes with a number of benefits for both consumers and retailers alike. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of fashion on-demand is it tackles a lot of the environmental issues facing the fashion industry.

Currently, the fashion sector contributes to about 10% of the total global carbon dioxide output emitted by humans. It’s responsible for huge amounts of waste in landfills, chemical issues, and the loss of crucial resources. Fashion on-demand eliminates this problem in a variety of ways.

Not only can companies choose to work with eco-friendly printing companies, but the on-demand model also reduces the risk of wasted garments, by only producing clothing after an order is placed. Additionally, because vendors supply orders based on the customer’s requests, there’s less risk of your business having to deal with endless returns.

Other advantages of the fashion on-demand business model include:

1. Higher Quality Products

When companies produce fashion on-demand, they respond specifically to the exact needs and expectations of their target market. Clothes can be designed and manufactured according to exact specifications, with various materials, sizes, and printing styles to choose from.

While fashion-on-demand might not be as fast as mass-producing products, the items produced are often higher in quality. This is particularly true when an on-demand vendor works with high-quality manufacturers and printing partners, like Nova Tomato.

2. Reduced Stocking Issues

In the past, creating garments used to require companies to purchase large numbers of a specific item, in a variety of sizes and colors. This meant holding and handling huge amounts of inventory, which weren’t always guaranteed to sell. According to some studies, unsold material alone costs the fashion industry around $120 billion each year.

With fashion on-demand, supply will always cater to demand. There’s no risk of ending up with too much inventory because products are produced on a made-to-order basis. You also don’t have to worry about running out of stock, because your partner will always be on hand to respond to orders.

3. Greater Agility

One of the reasons the fashion industry produces so much waste is that trends and preferences in the landscape can change quickly. The products people love one month can easily go out of style the next. With fashion on-demand, companies don’t have to worry about trying to push outdated collections to their customers, they can constantly experiment with new designs.

Fashion on-demand gives designers and creators the freedom to adapt quickly to new styles in their industry, and ensure they’re constantly delivering what customers want. You can even add new products to your collection without taking any financial risks.

What Types of Fashion Items Can Be Made on-Demand?

You may be wondering what type of products are available to make with fashion on-demand companies. The simple answer is almost anything. As technology in the digital landscape continues to evolve, and printing solutions transform, the options are basically endless. What Types Of Fashion Items Can Be Made On-Demand?

Companies can experiment with everything from seamless leggings and shirts to all-over print sweaters, and unique knitwear, depending on the fashion-on-demand vendor they choose. Almost any apparel category is suitable for fashion on-demand, provided the manufacturer you work with has the technology to adapt to your requests.

The only products that don’t really work for fashion on demand are those that require overly complex production processes which involve a lot of hand-based sewing or printing.

Transforming Fashion on Demand With NovaTomato

At NovaTomato, we’re proud to say we’re on the cutting edge of the fashion-on-demand industry. We built our business to go beyond the basics of the print-on-demand market, and provide designers with more ways to customize their products and delight their customers.

We offer garments no other company can provide, from seamless knit solutions to all-over print sweaters and hoodies, and even polo shirts and dress shirts. What’s more, we work with the best manufacturing and printing companies in the market to constantly expand our range.

On top of that, when you work with NovaTomato on your Fashion on Demand business, you benefit from the support of a truly eco-friendly and sustainable company, committed to minimizing waste and protecting the earth. We produce quality clothes with some of the world’s most innovative materials, to minimize our carbon footprint, and yours.

Learn more about how you can discover the benefits of fashion on demand with NovaTomato, by reaching out to our team today.


Still unsure about the fashion on-demand industry?

Let’s see if we can answer some of your common questions.

Is Fast Fashion the Same as on Demand Fashion?

No, while fashion on demand can be produced relatively quickly, it’s a world away from fast fashion. Fast fashion is the name used to refer to mass-produced clothing items often created by larger retailers. The fast fashion industry is one of the least sustainable sectors of the garment world.

Is Fashion on-Demand a Good Business Idea?

For influencers, creators, and designers alike, fast fashion can represent a phenomenal business opportunity. It’s a chance to bring your ideas to life with a low-risk, low-cost business model. You can experiment with designs, produce unique pieces, and increase your revenue, all without having to worry about inventory and fulfillment.

What Are the Benefits of on-Demand Fashion?

An on-demand fashion business can have a number of benefits for everyone involved. Consumers get more unique, personalized, and sustainable items, while designers get an opportunity to launch their own business with no upfront investment or cost. You don’t need any expertise in product design to get started, and there are no expensive machines to purchase.

Plus, with fashion on demand, you can eliminate the efforts involved in managing warehouse and inventory yourself. Fashion on demand is one of the easiest and most lucrative ways to start a clothing company of your own.