Online Retailer of the Week: UnitedStyles

UnitedStyles 3D view

After letting users create their own clothing, UnitedStyles gives them a 3D preview.

Whether or not you’re in the market for new clothes, UnitedStyles is an awesome site — for shopping, playing around, or entertaining your own designer daydreams.  The retailer provides an easy-to-use, totally clear platform for creating one’s own (women’s) clothing.

Predicated on the idea that “people are buying for the experience,” the site walks its audience through cut, color, print, and size.  Still in beta — the site just launched this week — the business so far offers four dress styles and one top.  For each style, users can dictate how the trim and sleeves should look, and with some, the neckline, from a few pre-set options.  Myriad color choices are on hand for applying to each part of the garment.  And when it comes to prints, while those are also pre-selected by the site, the numerous options can be shrunk or expanded to look entirely different depending on their scale.

Shoppers-turned-designers have numerous color choices from which to choose.

What’s fun about the site, and where we see it having real legs, is how it makes the self-design process accessible.  The custom-made garments are reasonably priced, from $50 to $100.  Customers aren’t hindered by their location, as shipping is a flat $20 for an international courier anywhere in the world (the fabric is printed on digital textile printers and subsequently stitched together at the company’s factory in China).  Sizing runs from XS to XL, based on measurements at global chains like H&M and Zara, so figuring out the correct size to order shouldn’t be hard.

Getting started on the clothing customization process is easy with UnitedStyles.

And the site’s small stuff is charming and well done.  Current dress cuts are named for global cities (that’s the “Paris” pictured above).  3D garment previews, which buyers can access at the end of the design process, load smoothly.  If you want to send in your measurements to have a dress cut to order, you can do that, too, for a mere $30.  That seems like a low fee to us for bespoke tailoring.  And whether you choose pre-fab sizing or the made-to-measure option, if the garment doesn’t fit, it can be returned and re-made, for free.

At the site’s outset, the design-to-delivery turnaround time is about a month, but UnitedStyles is hoping to cut it down to a week as business picks up.  And we certainly hope the business takes off — beyond the general appeal of bespoke clothing, we love that the process is so affordable and accessible.  This could represent a great start to the end of wasteful clothing production, since the company creates one item for every item ordered, which means no excess inventory.  Though that won’t make the flash sale sites happy, less leftover stock and more customized clothing are ultimately good things.