A pop-up store by Adidas has opened at Bikini Berlin – but it’s not just your regular kind of store. Under the motto “Knit For You”, you can design your own customised sports sweater made of merino wool and then have it made right before your eyes. I took a closer look for you and can already reveal that I’m really impressed by the whole experience...
Before you can begin with the design, you have to register. You get a little booklet with a QR code, under which all details of the design process are saved, to ensure that the finished product can be assigned to you at the end. Once you’ve completed that part, it’s time for the creative fun to begin: the designing. In this case, designing doesn’t just mean choosing a visual to be printed on your sweater. It’s a whole lot more interesting than that! Inside the store there’s a small, dark “virtual reality” room with a square marked on the floor in the middle, which you have to stand in. Once you’re standing in the marked area, you’ll have a template projected onto your body. Depending on where you’re standing in the square, this template will change. You can also slowly move your right arm over your upper body to change it yourself. And moving your other arm over your upper body allows you to delete part of the design. You have a total of 60 seconds in which you can move freely around the marked-out square. During this time, one design every second will be saved, meaning that you will have a total of 300 to choose from at the end. The more you move, the more diverse these designs will be.
This is just the first step, now you have to browse the 300 options on the computer to find your favourite design and the one that you will choose for your sweater. Using a control dial you can go through all the designs and print out your favourites as photos to help you make your decision. I printed out the three prototypes that I liked best and placed them next to one another on the table. This helped me to make a decision relatively quickly. And you can also have the number of the minute in which you made your decision integrated into the design. There’s also a countdown of the minutes that have passed since the store opened. I decided to do this, which is why my sweater features the number 20901. And this will also be different for everybody.
But creating the design isn’t the only highlight at the Adidas “Knit For You” store. What I personally found really impressive was the body scanner. You can also have your sweater knitted in “Body Fit”, i.e. to fit your exact measurements. Of course you can also simply opt for the sizes S, M or L, but if they don’t fit you perfectly, you should take advantage of the “Body Fit” offer. And that’s what I did, as I wasn’t too happy with the S or the M.
So I entered the body scanner, in which you have to stand very still for five seconds, dressed only in your underwear. During these five seconds, the body scanner takes your measurements. For example, the length of your arms and your upper body, the length between your shoulders and of course also your waist. Based on these measurements, the sweater is then tailored precisely to your figure. For me, this meant my sweater was slightly longer, as were the sleeves, because my measurements were somewhere between S and M. As soon as I picked up my sweater I tried it on and I really love how it fits me.
So once you have your design and know which size you want to have your sweater in, all the details will be saved in the QR code of your little booklet. These details are then passed on to the knitting machines and your individual sweater is created. All of this happens at the pop-up box itself. Within just a few hours your sweater will be ready and can be collected from the store – or you can have it sent to you by post. The knitting machines carry out the rough work, and in-store seamstresses are on hand for the precision finishing, such as turning up the hem and sewing it down.
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you which colours the sweater is available in: the current choice is between black, grey and coral red. But the colour palette will be changing approx. every three weeks so there’ll be plenty of new variations to choose from.
Overall it was a great experience. I think it’s a brilliant idea because you end up with a totally unique, bespoke sweater that you were involved in making. At 250 euros, it doesn’t come cheap, but the whole experience, the uniqueness and the high quality of the sweater definitely justify the price in my eyes. It’s not a mass-produced product, after all, but one that is ‘Made in Germany’ – or made in Berlin to be precise.
So why not visit Bikini Berlin and check out the Adidas pop-up store? You’ll be able to see the sweaters and the creation process for yourself and also watch the knitting machines at work!