Central element of tomorrow's fashion economy is the consumer's individual 3D body profile
Swiss tech start-up Meepl is offering free access to its smartphone-enabled, 3D body scanning technology for fashion SMEs impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. CEO Ferdinand Metzier elaborates.
What has been the response to the free offer so far?
Since we announced Meepl is offering free access to its made-to-measure technology we have seen a 400 per cent increase in enquiries. Out of these, we have been appointed by seven businesses with another eight brands about to sign on the dotted line. We also have several demos scheduled over the next couple of days too; so, there is definitely lots of interest which is encouraging.
The current expectation from the businesses we are speaking to is that Meepl is their only alternative to keep them in operation since they cannot interact with their customers. Our platform enables them to remotely acquire their customer's body measurements which their business relies on and traditionally would have been done manually. The retail industry is going through its biggest shift in a long time. For businesses to survive in a future scenario, they are going to have to accept they will need to adapt and harness the technologies that will help them thrive such as Meepl.
Any plans to extend it beyond the UK?
This offer is valid worldwide.
Please tell us about the software? How easy or difficult is it for consumers to use?
The Meepl app creates an almost 100 per cent accurate body image using only two pictures within seconds. By using visual computing and deep neural networks, the two images will obtain 50+ measurements of the body instantly. These measurements will also take into account body height and will use the latest body reconstruction algorithms to create a perfect duplicate of the users' body. For online tailors, Meepl is the enabling technology to make their job scalable and for the end-users it is a convenient way to get their measurements professionally within the comfort of their homes. Additional services of the Meepl technology extend to size recommendations and in the very near future a virtual dressing room experience.
What is the rate of accuracy?
With our body scanning technology, we can achieve accuracies around 2cm STDEV (standard deviation) for torso circumferences and 1.5-2cm STDEV for length measurements. The STDEV differs slightly from measurement to measurement. If we look at users manually taking their own measurements, studies show that STDEV of these measurements are beyond 3cm STDEV and in some cases not even possible to take without help (e.g. arm length).
How do you think tech can really future-proof retail?
The current fashion industry is facing challenges on many different levels. First, it produces for the mass market and lacks industry-wide sizing standards. Second, it operates non-sustainable and poorly digitised production value chains with production where labour is the cheapest. Last, consumer shopping behaviour is changing. With this in mind, technology has only started to affect the fashion industry. New business models will arise and automation of cloth manufacturing will change the industry, mass customisation and digital design processes will become the standard, and virtual dressing rooms will improve online shopping experiences.
This technology in a sense promotes and encourages more shopping. Sustainability and circularity talk, in a sense, is just the opposite - less consumption, recycling. So how do you connect with that?
At Meepl, we believe that a central element of tomorrow's fashion economy is the consumer's individual 3D body profile. Combining smartphone-based body scanning with novel 3D design and production technologies will be the key to overcoming the fashion industry's challenges. Smartphone-based body scanning will enable to match supply with demand and produce customised garments on an individual basis. Production will be closely tied to digital clothing design. A piece of clothing the designer has just created digitally is available for a personal try-on experience in the online shop within hours, eliminating unsustainable sampling practices. Virtual dressing room technology enables everyone to visually experience the look and fit of digital clothing on the personal body, increasing consumer buying confidence while resulting in fewer returns. This means less environmental damage in the form of packaging waste, water pollution and CO2 emissions.
A portion of this interview was first published in the June 2020 edition of the print magazine.
Published on: 06/07/2020
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