We're aiming to slow down consumption. What better way than by creating a deeper, more personal connection between humans and their possessions?
Consider fashion and customization as opposites.
The world of fashion standardizes our aesthetic to a temporary trend that is someone else's ideal. We aspire to follow their style - until its overtaken by a new trend, that is.
Karl Marx would argue, we've become alienated from our own possessions. What's more, we are doomed to aspire to an ever-repeating cycle of "newness".
Customization, on the other hand, celebrates our uniqueness and lets us participate. By contributing to the design process, we find greater connection to our possessions. The more we love our stuff, the better caretakers we will be.
See? Customizable Products + Love = Sustainable Future.
As Matthew Fox would say ... We are not consumers. We are not addicts or couch potatoes. We are not cogs in a machine. We are makers, players, actors in the widest sense, happiest participating, learning and expressing our creativity.
Everyone loves customising, right? Well, maybe not EVERYONE... supply chain managers the world over are groaning under the challenge of supplying uniquely customized products to the global market efficiently and economically.
The thing is, many smart changes required for customized products have benefits for sustainability too.
For example, customizable brands should use modular design principles to group subsets of components and maximise the number of standard components they use. They can produce an order after it is received, or at least postpone the differentiating step until late in the supply chain. These new methods reduce over-production and total waste generated by consumer goods.