Towards more responsible purchasing practices within global supply chains


Research result magazineEU-funded scientists are developing an entire supply-side paradigm for customised clothing with integrated electronics. Customers will be able to choose both electronics and production processes that suit their levels of eco-consciousness.
Mass customisation is a term coined around 25 years ago to reflect manufacturing and marketing combining the personalisation of custom-made products with the flexibility and low cost of mass production.

Since then, many companies have sought to implement and benefit from mass-customisa- tion principles. A common example is a software core that enables the user to make certain changes for tailor-made functionality.
European researchers are extending currently available garment customisation for men's, women's and children's clothing targeting small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) with EU funding of the Micro-dress1 project.
The products of interest are garments with integrated microelectronics such as those important in the consumer health sector. Scientists are developing manufacturing techniques, screening tests and an e-supply chain management platform to include, for the first time, user-configurable functionality and user-selected level of a material's eco-friendliness.
Giving the customer the free- dom to select both the devices included (sensors, actuators and physiology monitoring devices) and the level of eco-friendliness of production processes will provide a truly customised experience.
To date, the consortium has carried out digital printing on fabrics to integrate solar cells, electrically conductive layers and lighting devices. A removable microelectronic card and jacket with motion-tracking capabilities are in the prototype phase.

Tools are being developed to estimate and predict the eco-efficiency of production, including associated air and chemical emissions associated with toxicity. The final e-supply chain platform enabling selection of functionality and level of eco-friendly production processes is currently being designed.
Micro-dress has the potential to revolutionise the garment industry, making mass customisation of garments with microelectronics integrated into the fabric a reality rather than science-fiction.

Source: CORDIS - Research Results Magazine n°19 - page 44

Contact: (the project was coordinated by the Athens Technology Centre SA, Greece)
Innovation Lab
Rizariou, 10
Tel: +30-210-6874300
(or as well offer N° 9676 in the Cordis maketplace

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