The frustration of ordering a dress online and not being able to do up the zip when it arrives, despite buying items in that size a gazillion times before, is one we know only too well.
But inconsistent sizing may become a thing of the past thanks to a new UK survey aiming to profile real body shapes and make clothes “more reflective” of real women and men – and you can take part.
Some of the UK’s biggest fashion retailers, Next, ASOS, Tesco’s F&F, Monsoon Accessorize, New Look and River Island have partnered with the University of Hertfordshire on the project. Researchers will use 3D technology to analyse photos of around 30,000 people, then report the results back to the retailers.
The study aims to make shopping easier for consumers. Every year, 50% of shoppers return fashion items they purchased online and much of this due to incorrect fit and sizing, according to Mintel’s 2017 Online Fashion UK Report.
Men and women over 18 years old can take part in the survey by downloading the new ShapeGB app available on any iOS device. The app simply requires some basic personal information and two photographs taken on an iPhone or iPad, which are subsequently deleted.
The app measures the body outlines anonymously from the photographs taken and assesses the weight distribution of seven body volumes – both arms, both legs, chest, pelvis and the abdomen. The images are then combined and used to create 3D scientific data. These measurements are added to a secure national database to enable retailers to improve sizing specification and create clothing that is more reflective of UK consumers’ body shapes.
“For far too long the fashion industry has dictated how consumers should look and women in particular have felt that this industry is perpetuating poor body image,” Tony Rosella, principal lecturer and programme leader at the university, said.
“Those who do not fit this stereotype, such as plus sizes, have been at a disadvantage due to limited fashion choices and badly fitting design. Whilst many people are already speaking out and advocating a more inclusive approach to fashion, until now, not much has been done to address and cater for the wide variety in body shapes.”