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This Tech Tool Could Push Inclusive Sizing Forward

Could 2019 be the year size inclusivity reaches a tipping point?

Gabrielle Chou certainly thinks so. The Allure Systems chief executive has some skin in the game; the company she founded in 2017 helps fashion brands and apparel retailers affordably render styles on diverse models ranging from petite to plus. Now, she told Sourcing Journal at NRF’s Big Show, there’s simply no excuse for brands to showcase women of only one size.

Half of Allure’s headcount is involved in the R&D necessary to enable retail and brand clients to shoot garments and models separately, later combined into a complete image accurate enough to fool an untrained eye.

Allure’s technology enables clients to achieve representation in sizing online; its approach is virtually cost- and time-prohibitive for a typical photoshoot. “You can never shoot the same garment on six different girls,” Chou explains of how most brands compose their e-commerce catalogues.

Allure offers clients a setup and lighting rig that suspends a mannequin in space, allowing garments to be photographed from 360 degrees. Next, Allure employs sophisticated computer vision to combine these images with model’s photographs. Pulling off believable images is difficult, Chou said, because “you need to capture the light, the shadows, the transparencies”—a challenge that’s even greater in the intimates category where Allure serves clients like lingerie purveyor Chantelle.

Clients who choose this virtualization approach stand to reduce their content development investment by as much as 70 percent, an attractive figure that provides a compelling case for increasing size inclusivity online.

In addition, this approach accelerates the time in which garments received in-house can be up and running online, Chou noted, adding that e-commerce products could be described as “expensive” when it comes to the amount of revenue they generate.

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Typically, brands take 10 days to get new styles photographed and viewable on line, Chou explained. “With us, it’s within hours.”

The value proposition varies slightly from one apparel company to the next. Chou said brands typically are the most “keen on inclusivity,” an important topic for them whereas multibrand retailers favor the cost savings, speed and the ability to scale this solution during peak seasons like the holidays.

Allure’s technology could aid several brands and retailers that recently have forged ahead into diverse sizing, from Reformation to DL1961. Meanwhile, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty opted for inclusive sizing out of the gate when it dropped in the spring of 2018. With the average American woman’s dress size somewhere between a size 16 and 18, fashion’s slowly coming to the realization that it’s missing out on a $46-billion opportunity.