Fitting is one of the important criteria for consumers in their buying decision. Every garment manufacturer have target segment with certain demographic characteristics, defining consumer profile. For getting the best fit and size dimensions, manufacturer spends big chunks of money. Best range of sizing can be a key success factor for manufacturers. To implement this many companies are using advanced technologies and strategies to device sizing systems and sizing categories.
Following are the issues central to the sizing problem:
Collecting data on age, body structure and ethnicity: Data can be colleted by sample survey method that can represent the population as a whole. Selection of sample is very crucial as these are bases to arrive at conclusions. Various statistical tools can help in getting range and variation of sizes found in people. Now-a-days companies are better equipped with technologies such as automated measurement and 3D body scanning. These tools facilitate more effective and affordable data collection for garment manufacturing companies.
Demographic Data: Data such as age, income, education, lifestyle and socio-economic status are also important factors affecting sizing, but unfortunately very few manufacturers work on such data.
Idea about fittings: Patternmakers, graders, designers and customers themselves- all have different perceptions about the best fit. Designer has his idea about match between size of outfit and body dimension that will give the perfect look. Patternmakers seek to maintain this look over a range of bodies. Customers have their personal preferences and perceptions about which size gives a better look and feel of comfort. The effectiveness of sizing system is highly dependent on skills of patternmakers and graders in identifying, defining and manufacturing the type of fit appropriate for the target market. Some of the tools and strategies to facilitate this are target body scanner, market surveys, wear testing, and virtual fit assessment.
Style, design, and material as well as production methods used: Each style defines the relationship between body and size. Each new style of outfit that is produced is aimed to fit range of bodies in an acceptable manner. Some style like a baggy one can fit many bodies with marginal difference. The design of a garment also influences fitting, especially when design is complex.
Materials with stretching characteristics can fit a wider range of body.
Various stages in production significantly affect the final specifications of a garment. Wrong selection of fabrics, shrinkage, defects in machinery, errors in marker making and cutting, and inaccurate sewing can lead to distort the expected size. For such problems production management need can make use SQC (Statistical Quality Control) Techniques and emphasize on quality control and consistency.
Size labels: Communication of clothing sizes is also one of the crucial issues. Many times it is seen that consumers get confused with the sizes. They are not able correlate the numbers with body measurement, so they prefer taking trials of various sizes of same item. The reason behind this is non standardization of label sizes among manufacturers. To get rid of this problem, manufacturers are using terms such as slim, classic, relaxed fit. This problem more complex for women’s clothing then men’s. Women’s clothing is generally labeled using size numbers that do not relate to any particular dimension of the body or garment. Men’s sizing normally corresponds to body measurements.