Fitcode founder Rian Buckley switched careers to create a product that corrects the denim sector's sizing disparities.
Rian Buckley left behind a career as a globe-trotting fashion model to address what she quickly discovered was a glaring pain point in the apparel industry: the sizing disparities that all too often make shopping a minefield for consumers who might be a size 6 in one brand of jeans and an 8 in the next.
Since its 2014 launch, her passion project—Fitcode—has helped 250,000+ consumers discover their best fit across a host of denim brands. A Fitcode for men’s denim arrived in December after Buckley’s team had crafted a successful product targeting women’s jeans.
For Buckley,who stepped away in early September 2018 from the startup she launched, it’s a particularly exciting time to be working in denim and in the fashion industry. “There’s a sea change on the horizon. Brands are embracing size inclusivity,” she said, describing it as a “top of mind” issue. “No body is a bad body, yet many brands still don’t offer a full-size run.”
According to the retired catwalker-cum-entrepreneur, inclusive sizing is “just good business” for denim brands and fashion as a whole, given that the average American woman wears a size 16 and more than two-thirds (67 percent) of American women fit into sizes 14 or higher. When you factor in the $20.4 billion value of the plus-size market, it’s “just common sense” that apparel companies would begin to serve these shoppers, especially with growth slowing or stagnant at many fashion enterprises. “I can’t wait for the industry to realize the potential of their entire consumer base,” Buckley said.
Grateful for the team of experts who’ve built an amazing product that solves a true problem in the industry, Buckley hopes the next generation of denim luminaries similarly takes a practical approach to creating new products. “Put the customer first—always,” she advised newcomers. “Stay grounded in the customer experience and ask yourself: What are they thirsting for? What are their pain points? How can you solve their problems while delighting them?”
What is your first denim memory?
“I was tall from a young age...so those new cropped flares we are seeing nowadays? Those were my reality growing up. If only I knew then that I was just a little early on the trend.”
What is your favorite pair of jeans?
“I’m currently living in Paige’s fabulous maternity line…but we’ll see after that. I may have to consult the Fitcode experts if my Fitcode changes.”