Picture a scenario where retail therapy at your favourite store is the only way to solve that first world problem you are currently going through. After racks of searching you find the perfect outfit. The colour compliments your eyes, the cut would pair with your body so well but there just one catch- when you try it on the fit is TERRIBLE. You notice it with a couple of different styles and sizes and it’s not just this brand that seems to get your body type all wrong. This is the case with most international fast fashion brands in eastern Asia. It’s funny to see because each of these brands claims to know their target customer. Well if an Indian college student is their target market (considering they’ve entered a new geographic region) wouldn’t the size have to cater to them as well?
The body type considered ‘typical’ in every region across the world differs in proportion. Take India for example- a ‘typical’ Indian girl is relatively shorter in height, would have smaller shoulders, a shorter torso, and broader hips. The majority of this market possesses a pear shaped frame and they are getting sized with proportions suitable for the more hourglass body type. This results in wider shoulders, larger arm holes, deeper V necks and extremely long legged pants, all of which will have to be altered. Understanding that brands have to take sizing into consideration is a major aspect which most brands fail at because they go by universal sizing.
It is important for up and coming brands in the market to understand the concept of sizing to be able to reach out better to the ‘real world’ demographic. Love, bonito a Singaporean based fast fashion brand, aspiring to be “the go to fast fashion women’s label for Asia” (as the co-founder Rachel Lim likes to put it), understands the importance of catering to your target market fully and completely. I had the privilege of attending a workshop given her where she highlighted the importance of knowing the target market of a brand. The brand caters of eastern Asian women from the ages of 23 to 35 with similar body types (smaller frame). They highlight the importance of fit for the customers in the sense of the proportions of the garment. They credit the success of the idea of their in-depth focus on the target market. The relationship the brand has with the customers’ needs to be so sound that even the expansion into a new geographic region doesn’t change the aesthetics. When asked about her expansion into countries like the United States she responded saying she would but only if that meant she would cater to the same Asian women demographic: “Even if I want to cater to the most stylish women in Singapore I won’t because that’s not who we are. Continue to be a big sister to our customers”
Considering the amount the world has developed since the start of the millennium its baffling that the issue of universal sizing still hasn’t been perfected yet. Technology has been revolutionising the industry and has been coming up with the technology to customise the sizing according to your body type and not that of another standard. With software’s like Bodi.me (technology that uses an individual’s data to track the perfect size in a wide range of sizes) (INGHAM, 2014) it’s not telling when this problem is another prehistoric fossil in the world of fashion. Maybe the next time you need a bit of retail therapy for that mundane crisis you’ll be able get a tailor made outfit in seconds (or maybe just one that fits well) rather than another first world problem.
- INGHAM, L. (2014, March 6). 3d body scanning: bringing perfect sizing to online clothes shopping – Factor. Retrieved from http://factor-tech.com/3d-modelling/871-3d-body-scanning-bringing-perfect-sizing-to-online-clothes-shopping/