NEW DELHI

For the right fit

As the National Institute of Fashion Technology sets out to conduct the National Sizing Survey of India, designers say it is an idea whose time has come

How many times the search for the right size of a shirt or trousers in a designer retail store has left you confused and made you wonder why those in the business of garments cannot get their act together? Why does the 32 inch waist size of one label is 30 of another? The Indian apparel industry has been using tweaked versions of size charts of other countries, and manufacturers relied on their experience rather than any scientific study. To clear this confusion, National Institute of Fashion Technology, under the aegis of Ministry of Textiles, is finally undertaking an extensive research study to develop a comprehensive size chart for ready to wear industry based on body measurements of our people.

Titled INDIAsize, the National Sizing survey seeks to develop a standard size chart for the Indian apparel industry. The project will entail measuring of 25,000 male and female aged between 15 and 65 years in Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Shillong using 3D whole body scanners.

Need of the hour

With branded and designer apparel moving to smaller cities and replacing the local tailors and made to measure clothing in these towns, experts says, it is high time to conduct such a survey. According to Prof. Noopur Anand, Department of Fashion Technology, NIFT, the projected returns of the garments are in the range of 20% to 40% and is increasing with the growth of e-commerce and the major reason for the returns are poor garment fit. The survey will be conducted by use of 3D whole-body scanners. “This is a technology used for extracting body measurements through non contact method. This scanner scans a body and the data is automatically accurately extracted in less than ten seconds in one posture. Hence, it reduces the time frame of undertaking sizing surveys through manual measurements. NIFT will be procuring multiple scanners to take measurements in two years time frame.”

Designer Narendra Kumar, creative director of Amazon India, , says, “Brands hitherto used to come up with their own sizing based on experience. It was based on what customers wore in the past. They were also borrowing international stuff from outside and using the American size. Once comprehensive standard measurement is made available, then brands would be able to gauge size of the market and cater to specific body types. This would allow them to be more focussed.”

As for arriving at a standard size in a country as diverse as India, Kumar says. “There would never be an average Indian size.” “Once information is available from the survey then designers would pick up which statistic they want to target. Once they come to know that 60 per cent of country is of a particular size then they would make clothes only for them. While niche brands would make clothes for other size groups.”

Narrating woes of those involved in garment industry, Harmeet Bajaj, fashion analyst and founding Chairperson of Fashion Communication department at NIFT, says: “Due to lack of standardized sizing everybody had their own version of sizing. This creates problems largely for the online players and may result in returns. The problem is particularly applicable for Western clothing. We are a country where people have worn draped garments for centuries. Only in last few decades we have seen patterned garments that require fits. Therefore the need is now. Also e-commerce needs some size charts.” NIFT as the implementing agency will be pressing its faculty and students from various campuses. Talking about the delay in undertaking this exercise, Harmeet informs that surveys have been attempted a few times by the private sector but they all came to a naught.

Alternate recourse

Lack of survey meant designers were borrowing from international standards. Payal Jain says, “We have managed all these years following the U.S. and U.K. sizing standards but it would be most helpful to have some standard parameters for the Indian market with special consideration to cater to the Indian body types, especially in the women’s wear. This would bring some clear direction to customers who constantly struggle with generic size labels on the Indian apparel, since every brand follows their own parameters.”

Designer David Abraham, a pret specialist, has been following international sizing till now. “These may not be perfect but these measurements have been helping us to make ready to made clothes. Designers simply followed international size charts and adapted them when necessary. Also a lot of designers offered alteration services to custom fit garments.”

Bajaj says the survey will definitely help in making better quality and fit garments. “This would surely lead to growth in sales and would be beneficial for the customer.”

We are a country where people have worn draped garments for centuries. Only in last few decades we have seen patterned garments that require fitsHarmeet Bajaj

Once comprehensive standard measurement is made available, then brands would be able to gauge size of the market and cater to specific body typesNarendra Kumar

This would bring some clear direction to customers who constantly struggle with generic size labels on the Indian apparel, since every brand follows their own parametersPayal Jain

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