Customized Luxury

Fendi Turns To Digital For Bespoke Handbag Launch

by Rachel Arthur

Fendi’s Customize It handbags with Farfetch

Fendi is the latest luxury business to launch an online customization offer for its shoppers; teaming up with e-commerce platform Farfetch to provide made-to-order handbag designs.

From today, the “Customize It” service allows consumers to mix and match their own Kan I F bag and Strap You combinations – adapting the colour options, logo styles and hardware. The result sees 120 different variations for the bag, and a further 70 for the strap.

“In our era, customization is the ultimate expression of luxury for our clients. We are delighted to be launching Customize It, Fendi’s very first online customization service for our Kan I F bag and Strap You. This project came to life thanks to the partnership with Farfetch and we think it will be a unique opportunity to showcase our daring creativity and pioneer spirit in a new digital and modern way, combining our client’s needs of luxurious exclusivity with the Maison’s perfect blend of tradition and innovation,” said Pietro Beccari, president and CEO of Fendi.

The move comes at a time when customization is a hot focus for luxury brands – taking the art of craftsmanship back to its glory days where products were indeed created for the customer on a one-by-one basis. According to Deloitte, one third of shoppers today are interested in customized products, with 71% of them prepared to pay a premium accordingly.

The easiest route into this for brands is via monogramming or embroidery services, which can be seen from many of the big luxury players today including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry and Ralph Lauren.

Where it starts to get interesting is when they start offering customization with the actual bones of the product itself; something that is becoming all the more scalable today thanks to both the digital platforms enabling it and the new manufacturing techniques to then fulfil such orders.

Farfetch has been leading this train, already working with the likes of Nicholas Kirkwood on bespoke footwear for clients, as well as Opening Ceremony with UK start-up Unmade to produce custom knitwear.

“Customization is a growing trend in the luxury industry and something many of our customers really love. Working with our customization technology partner, Platforme, we’ve been able to work with a number of brands including Nicholas Kirkwood, Sergio Rossi, Dorateymur, Swear, Opening Ceremony x UMD and Toga Pulla to lead the way on this ultimate return to luxury – products that lovers of fashion can customize to their own specifications,” José Neves, CEO, founder and co-chairman of Farfetch, told Forbes.

For Fendi, shoppers can go to both and to experiment with the custom solution. Once they have chosen the combinations they want – from five leather colour options, to six different logo choices as well as varying shades of metal rings and the setup for the strap – it is only then that the item gets put into production.

As pieces are created on-demand, customisation also results in less waste or overstock for brands, therefore. This sort of efficiency makes it an appealing business case, as well as an opportunity for more sustainable production, Farfetch explained.

Once items are ordered, the actual production of the Fendi bags go back to the more traditional version of luxury with the leather goods artisans in the Maison’s atelier in Florence meticulously assembling and handcrafting each item individually.

The downside: you then have to wait 12 weeks for delivery of your custom bag. The upshot: it’s entirely unique comparable to the other version of luxury today, which let’s face it, is increasingly widespread.