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Personalisation: a New Age for Industrial Production?

Academic research

Personalisation: a New Age for Industrial Production?

Olivier Assouly

During its history, capitalism will have known three ages of production, up until the beginning of the 20th century, it was organised around local markets where the products made were produced and distributed within a limited geographical perimeter; the second corresponds to the “massification” of the market with the unification of production and obviously consumption; finally, the last age happened in the twenties, and corresponded to the segmentation of markets in order to answer, and generate the demand of consumers. Our question concerns the possible conditions of the emergence of a new age not founded on the integration of the demand segmented into groups, in which case customisation is but an avatar of the existing segmentation of the market, but on multitudes of scattered aspirations. Customisation means either the hand-made transformation of a mass-produced product by an individual or the integration of individual aspirations in the production process. The question here is to highlight two points, both in solidarity with one another: the first deals with the historical conditions of the appearance of customisation in fashion and other consumer sectors; the second deals with the social issues at stake and the limits of the process.

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