Ralph Lauren is bringing DIY to a new level by putting part of its production process in the hands of customers. The fashion company, known for its iconic polos, revealed its flagship stores will be equipped with new textile-coloring technology that could potentially let shoppers dye shirts in-store as early as 2022.
The in-store dyeing process, still under development, would allow a customer to take one of Ralph Lauren’s blank-slate cotton tees or polos, choose a color and dye the product right in the store at the time of purchase.
The company partnered with several materials, textile and chemical companies in early 2021 to develop a more eco-friendly production process that relies on less water, energy use and harmful chemicals. That partnership resulted in the Color on Demand technology, as well as a new textile treatment called ECOFAST Pure, which uses up to 40 percent less water, 85 percent fewer chemicals and 90 percent less energy than traditional dyeing processes. Ralph Lauren has established Color on Demand with the intention of delivering the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system.
The new system could help the company better plan amid supply constraints that many retailers continue to face, allowing them to control inventory and anticipate demand for their products without having to worry about ordering details, like color.
By 2025, Ralph Lauren aims to use the Color on Demand platform in more than 80 percent of its solid cotton products. The company also announced it would open-source the dyeing process for the textile industry.