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Better BRA 'FIT' quest for UK women
Nov '10
Bra retailers and universities have launched a new national association to shape the future of bra design and breast health in the UK and end the confusion over bra sizing. The Bra Retailers Association, BRA, aims to broaden understanding on best bra fit; raise awareness of breast health from puberty to old age; advise schools; provide advice on different bra styles for different body shapes; and ultimately provide a BRA 'fit assured' kitemark on approved products.

Under the commercially impartial auspices of the ASBCI, retailers will work with some of the UK's leading academics including bra fitting and design experts from De Montfort University and the breast health research group from the University of Portsmouth.

The initiative follows the ASBCI seminar 'Shaping up for lingerie' at which Karen Flude, ladies' garment technologist lingerie & swimwear with George Clothing, called for UK bra suppliers and bra design and breast health specialists to share their expertise and resources and create a national bra fit standard. The founding members of BRA are inviting any retailers, suppliers or relevant research groups not already involved to join the next forum and help shape future bra designs and fitting methods.

As Karen Flude of George Clothing explained: “We want the marketplace to be a lot less confusing for the consumer. As it stands a woman could be one size in one shop and a completely different size in another. That sort of confusion makes it much more likely she will be wearing the wrong size bra which, in turn, could affect her health and comfort.”

She added: ““It's time we worked together across the bra retailer sector to use best-practice from current research and, working with designers, come up with bras designed for women's health and comfort. We want to give something back to the consumer by improving understanding on bras.”

Malcolm Ball, chairman ASBCI, commented: “This is the first time that bra retailers have come together with a common interest. By working under the auspices of the ASBCI, competitors can work together for the greater good of the consumer and the wider industry. It is vital that BRA contains independent bodies such as the University of Portsmouth, who investigate the biomechanics of the breast, and De Montfort University, who provide the expertise on bra design, fit and construction.”

Formed in 1992 the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry, ASBCI, operates without commercial preference and plays a key technical role within the garment and textile sectors. In addition to technical conferences, forums and seminars on important issues, such as sizing, childrenswear and REACH, it organises regular technical/educational visits to companies across the supply-chain and produces highly acclaimed technical handbooks, many of which are recommended texts on fashion-related courses around the world.

It also runs half-yearly meetings and an AGM with prominent guest speakers and the UK's largest and most successful student conference and seminar programme. In order to promote greater technical understanding of essential processes within the clothing supply chain it has also formed reciprocal partnerships with the newly formed UK Fashion and Textile Association - UKFTA, Textile Institute, Society of Dyers and Colourists - SDC, and the United Kingdom Textile Laboratory Forum - UKTLF.

Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry

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