All consumers have had struggles with inconsistent sizing and fit when they buy apparel.
The problem can be particularly frustrating when purchasing clothes for teens and young women who buy junior’s apparel. This age group has widely diverse aging patterns and body types trying to fit into sizes of their favorite brands that are often using outdated standards for manufacturing.
There are some companies trying to find solutions and update standards for the industry.
Alvanon has created a new children’s clothing standard that responds to a what it says is a “seismic shift” in sizing standards for children and teens.
The apparel size and fit specialist said it took a number of steps in creating the standard. These include surveying key children’s and youth wear clients to gain feedback on current standards, each brand’s own challenges in fitting the demographic and consumer feedback.
Alvanon also analyzed internal data resources, including proprietary scan data it has gathered over the years, and the Alva Kids App database, and compared and contrasted data to current standards.
In a recent webinar, Alvanon senior consultant Emily Robertson-Hood and executive director Don Howard noted that the size, shape and stature of North American youths has changed drastically over the years and that there are new size and fit challenges facing brands today.
The new standard covers infants, toddlers and male and female ‘youths,’ defined as youngsters aged seven to 18 years old.
Last month, Alvanon launched a new cloud database offering 3-D fit standards for the global apparel industry, in a move that will enable apparel design and development teams to access to the firm’s 6,000 avatars for the first time. These included current size and fit challenges, how to leverage 3-D as the driver for a complete digital ecosystem and commercial solutions for development.
“We advise clients to revisit their sizing and fit standards every six to eight years,” Howard said. “The challenges that exist with any children’s standard include the extreme evolution of the body and stature changes that occur from birth to age 18.”
Alvanon’s study found that stature and body maturation is more accelerated than previously acknowledged, so new standards have been developed to meet this reality.
Changes in sizing standards were particularly important for school uniforms, team sports gear and “the increasing need for unisex sizing,” Robertson-Hood said. They noted that sizing by height is proving to be more accurate than age as the population evolves.
Howard added that Alvanon’s new solution includes updated fit forms, identical virtual AlvaForms for use in most 3-D platforms and garment blocks that match the fit form standard series.
Human Solutions Group is conducting a Size North America survey to build a database with an accurate representation of the population. Size North America will provide a valid image and analysis of the various target groups in fashion and automotive.
Human Solutions noted that there is anthropometric data available for children in North America. European surveys show a significant difference in body form and proportions, even for younger age groups.
“Size and fit are key factors in the buying process of fashion and apparel’s customer, and so are comfort and safety for customers of the automotive industry,” the company said.
Results will be available for participating companies on an iSize web portal to provide quick and convenient access to the results and analysis. Companies will be able to improve and update size tables, adapt fit philosophy, integrate CAD and 3D as size tables, and be more compatible to industry standards.
Michael van Genabith, president of Human Solutions, said the benefits for apparel companies is that they can increase their market share by developing clothing that will better fit their target group.
“Up to now, there is no reliable data in the market,” he said. “For example, standard U.S. clothing sizes for women were developed from a survey in the 1940s. The U.S. catalog sizes follow standards based on experience rather than on reliable data. The U.S. survey with body scanners of 2003 is already considered as outdated.”