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Better bottom lines for clothing manufacturers
Feb '08
The angst that comes with the annual jeans hunt is not simply down to excessively picky females.

Researchers at AUT University have identified an international shift among clothing manufacturers toward the use of new sizing techniques based on body shape to combat ill-fitting garments.

Associate Professor Frances Joseph says huge demographic and lifestyle shifts during the past half century have resulted in changing body sizes and shapes but sizing standards and measurement techniques have not always kept pace with the changes.

“Ill-fitting garments have serious implications for customer satisfaction and for profits, so some companies are choosing to make serious investments in new technology so they can get it right,” says Joseph.

In countries such as the US, digital body scanning technologies are being employed to bring clothing measurements in line with the modern body types.

American plus-size clothing company Lane Bryant has introduced a new line of Right Fit jeans based on scans of 14,000 customers. The data collected from the scans showed that a customer with a 34 inch waist could have hips that measured anywhere from 36 inches to 47 inches — a range that a single size couldn't cover.

The company's response was to build three different fits - “straight”, “moderately curvy” and “curvy” - for each waist size.

Joseph says this sort of mass customisation will result in a new level of comfort and fit.

“Body scanning means it will be far easier for manufacturers to tailor to niche markets, so instead of offering a straight size 12, they might offer a 'youth fit' size 12 and a 'mature' size 12, reflecting the fact our bodies look very different when we're 14 years old versus when we're 44 years old.”

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