After launching in 2016, MNDATORY had operated via concurrent Ready-to-Wear/Made-to-Order business models; releasing two seasonal fashion collections per year, alongside a perennial Made-to-Measure tailoring service for Melbourne customers. Having observed the purchasing behaviour of the MNDATORY consumer (2016 to 2018), key patterns emerged prompting the trial of a new hybrid model (Co-Creation), commencing with the collection ‘Chameleon’ in 2019. Built on MNDATORY’s distinct brand and business DNA, this concept has been further developed with the collection ‘ACRIDIDAE’ – a seasonal fashion collection featuring designer garments that facilitate customisation and personalisation on a mass-scale.
Released at the beginning of 2020, both collection and concept have been well received; leading to MNDATORY’s third consecutive nomination for the National Designer Award (Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival); whilst placing in the top 3 for the 2020 Westpac Private Bank Emerging Fashion Designer Award.
Throughout the year, ‘ACRIDIDAE’ was shown to a wide range of audiences at consumer shows such as VAMFF and Melbourne Fashion Week; providing further evidence that Co-Creation allows consumers to better engage with their products from concept and creation, through to purchase.
The concept of ‘ACRIDIDAE’ ultimately aims to decrease the environmental, operational and financial risks commonly associated with fashion collections in traditional retail/wholesale arrangements. Constituting a Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory strategy, this hybrid-model of operation means orders are only placed at need, resulting in zero stock surplus whilst minimising any fabric wastage. Upfront costs associated with collections are also reduced, with only a minimal number of garments required for in-store display. Over time, consumer insights derived from purchase transactions can also serve to inform future collections/designs, reducing the reliance on forecasting (creative trends, logistical allocations) and to increase operational efficiencies.
Given the success of its Co-Creation collections, MNDATORY is now looking to operate exclusively under this new model; whilst also introducing the same co-creative services for the Womenswear and Denim categories in its future collections.
Like ‘ACRIDIDAE’, MNDATORY will continue to release seasonal fashion collections, where every garment offers consumers the option to select from a curated/preselected range of fabrics, as well as the opportunity to incorporate personalised embroidery.
Garments are available in set sizing and all production and personalisation requirements are completed within 8 days from purchase. Customers then have a choice of delivery or collecting their garments in-store.
Clothing as a means of communication has long been acknowledged, particularly in the expression of self. Marketing theory readily recognises consumers as having a sense of ‘self’, made up of the ‘ideal self’ (who they wish to be) and the ‘actual self’ (who they actually are). Furthermore, psychology suggests that people who increasingly align their actual self to their ideal self are over time, more likely to achieve self-actualisation.
Fundamentally, ‘ACRIDIDAE’ is an example of how consumers who wish to embody the brand (ideal self), can become co-creators of their own garments in an Australian designer fashion context (actual self).