There are great leaps and bounds being made in the realms of 3-D printing, and some really interesting initiatives that could lead to the dream of completely customisable clothing that you design and print for yourself. For example, Dutch designers The Post-Couture Collective are already offering clothes that can be printed out in sections and clipped together like Lego. If you don't have the wherewithal to do that, Post-Couture can send you the sections in a wide range of fabrics, including one derived from recycled Sprite bottles.
The environmental impact of this kind of thinking is profound. It's a zero-waste model: you only print what you need. If your garment is made from recyclable materials, then it almost doesn't matter if it's created for a one-off event. The fabric can go back to raw to be used again. If you're printing it yourself, then there are no transport costs. It's as local as you can get.
There are other approaches to the notion of customisable clothing. How about a pair of shoes that can be any colour you want, or feature any design? Shiftwear, a new start-up currently going down the crowd-funding route, fuses fabric into a wearable screen that wraps around the foot. They offer downloadable designs, but with this kind of platform the sky is really the limit. Animated and dynamic content works just as well as static. Think about it. Head off to the Star Wars premiere with your kicks playing Episode 4 highlights. How cool would that be?
All of this is a little way away from filtering down to the average consumer, but it's very close to market. Here at The Pier we're all about innovation, and when it comes to alternatives to the Xmas grind for new clothing that you'll only wear once, we're in full support for anything that disrupts the model.
Plus, did I mention shoes that could play movies?