With its tidy racks of dress shirts, trousers and sweaters, the Ministry of Supply shop on Newbury Street looks, in many ways, similar to other clothing stores. That is, except for the 10-foot-long 3-D knitting machine positioned next to the checkout counter: the one that weighs as much as a car, is outfitted with 4,000 needles and can manufacture a customized blazer in about 90 minutes. The process requires little in the way of human labor. After a customer selects the colors, cuffs and buttons of the garment, an employee programs the device to crank out a jacket to those specifications. It may sound like a novelty, but make no mistake: It is a symbol of a potentially industry-shaking wave of innovation taking hold in the apparel world. This is an experiment in the idea of mass customization, in which clothes are made for an individual’s preferences or sizes. It’s a departure from the model of selling standardized, mass-produced goods that has dominated retailing for more than a century. Ministry of Supply’s foray into this new territory is in its early days, and 3-D knitting is just one tool that could eventually be used to bring personalized garments to the masses. But if this and other nascent efforts are successful, they could set off a scramble in the fashion business to radically transform the long-standing supply chains and design methods that are used to make clothes today. Read more at The Washington Post.