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.