Samer Chalfoun
The rise of robo craftsman…
Sep  7 · 8 min read


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1. Hugo Boss new strategy is revolutionising the made-to-measure suit


The label was the predominant global supplier of what then seemed an unimpeachably modern uniform for successful, modern men. It was a suit – the hallmark of the brand – cut tight, but rendered flexible with elastane and German know-how.

The confidence of the label’s name perfectly fitted the macho-filtered ambition of the time. But times have changed, the suiting index has plummeted, and thus the label’s latest outing, for A/W17, represented a total refresh: the number of suits was moderate, and most were paired with athletic-inspired zip-up sweaters with oversized ring details. Call this ‘athleisure’-inflected formalwear. Call this Boss 2.0. But in the traditionally conservative men’s fashion market, the brand has notably invested in the latest in German engineering and technology to enhance its made-to- measure collection. The line was introduced in 2011 with dedicated floors in the Frankfurt and Zurich flagship stores, and has since been a global hit. Customers can order personalised and partly handcrafted suits starting at €1,700. The quality of fit and fabrics aspires to the Savile Row benchmark. Boss is continually investing in what it calls a ‘technical centre’. It is an incommensurable collection of the latest laser and sewing technology that can meticulously mimic handcraft, but with flawless results. Boss engineers have created specific machines for almost all the tailoring steps traditionally done by hand, combining the knowledge of its seamstresses with the latest tech. This guarantees the most precise quality without losing the individual appeal. A gimp buttonhole of a Boss made-to- measure suit looks handmade, but is now created by a computer; the 180 pieces of a suit are cut by laser machines allowing pinstripes and Prince-of-Wales checks to appear seamless when the suit is put together. The lining, though, is still done by hand, for ultimate comfort. At least, until the Boss engineers have constructed the right machine. (source wallpaper 217)

2. Major shift in the kitchen industry

Since the industrial revolution, the designer and the craftsman are traditionally different roles. The designer created the templates that industrial craftsmen would replicate in the hundreds or thousands. In Italian Design industrial craftsmen were the best in the world. Italian Design  was a combination of true craftsmanship and industrial processes, while German brands focused on efficient industrial process and quality controls

The problem with craft, of course is that it’s expensive. Now German engineers have constructed the right machines to make kitchen collections of the latest laser and CNC technology that can meticulously mimic handcraft, but with flawless results. So just like German brand Hugo Boss is abandoning its plan to become a luxury brand by making state-of-the-art suits that are cut by laser machines. The new handmade kitchen is now created by a Techno craftsmen computer.


3. Borrowing from the automotive industry for answers

In automotive design, it’s common to build different models using the same chassis. Toyota (a budget brand) and Lexus (a luxury outfit) share the same platform, for example. the difference between these platforms is not in quality but in luxury. The luxury strategy aims at creating the highest brand value and pricing power by leveraging all intangible elements of singularity- i.e. time, heritage, country of origin, craftsmanship, man-made, small series, prestigious clients, etc.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare was probably not thinking of the auto industry or the kitchen industry when he wrote those famous lines, but his point is worth remembering the next time you buy a kitchen.

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