Ralph Lauren Will Let You Dye Your Own Polos

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  • Ralph Lauren said its NY flagship stores is getting colour-dye technology that could let customers dye their own clothes by next year.
  • The project was initially developed to improve the iconic apparel company’s environmental footprint in the manufacturing process.

Ralph Lauren, known for its iconic polos, revealed its flagship stores will be equipped with new textile-colouring technology that could potentially let shoppers dye shirts in-store as early as next year, a partner with Ralph Lauren on the technology said. The details of the in-store dyeing process, which are still largely unknown and under development, would allow a customer take one of Ralph Lauren’s blank-slate cotton tees or polos, choose a colour, and have its Colour on Demand technology dye the product in-store right before purchase.

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Earlier this year, Ralph Lauren said it partnered with several materials, textile, and chemical companies, including Dow, to develop a more eco-friendly production process that relies on less water, energy use, and harmful chemicals. The companies announced a new system in March called “Colour on Demand,” including a new textile treatment called ECOFAST Pure, which uses up to 40% less water, 85% fewer chemicals, and 90% less energy than traditional dyeing processes.

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Ralph Lauren said that it is aiming to use Colour on Demand in more than 80% of the company’s solid colour cotton products by 2025. The company also announced earlier this month it would open-source the dyeing process for the textile industry.

Giving the consumer some creative agency in the production process “has always been a powerful thing,” Simeon Siegel, retail analyst at BMO Capital Markets, says. “Bringing the consumer into the story has always been a winning proposition.” According to him, experiential retail will become increasingly important as retailers attempt to balance e-commerce with their brick-and-mortar models.

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