Yes, it has. The problem is that nontrivial clothing requires multidimensional fit which is impractical for mass-produced off-the-rack clothing, and marketing of mass-produced clothes is therefore driven by all kinds of things, none of which is using the well-established standardization and quantification of fit, which is used only by people making bespoke clothing or altering off-the-rack clothes for specific individuals.
Of course, unless it is paired by on-demand alteration, 3D fitting doesn't really address that problem.
But its not meant to (though the for-the-public image may be that), its to deal with the problem that taking clothes to actual fitting rooms increases handling, damage, theft losses, and the resulting policing and remerchandising is a major source of labor requirements for shops.
For the Gap, the problem this hopes to solve, or at least mitigate, is “retail employees”.
Of course the garment industry is still heavily reliant on human labor for manufacture and the model I describe would really only work if the process is basically fully automated. But it would be nice if my clothes didn’t rely on marginalized labor in Bangladesh so I’d like a fully automated source.
Anyway you’re not wrong that it’s impractical with the current way of doing things, but it seems fully automated clothing production is advancing, so perhaps in 20 years it will be possible.
It most certainly has not. Even in men's legwear where your clothing is more or less fully defined by two measurements (waist circumference and inseam length), there are lots of variations between brands for garments with the same nominal size.
I have 2 pairs of billabong board shorts that are slightly too big and fall down if I don't cinch the drawstrings extra tight. Size 34 waist.
I have another 2 pairs of o'neill shorts that fit perfectly and don't fall down even if I don't lace up the drawstring at all. Size 34 waist.
Let's not even get into women's clothing where you can have such ill-defined terms like "size zero".
It has, but, again, mass market clothing doesn’t use it. Bespoke clothing and tailoring does.
> Even in men's legwear where your clothing is more or less fully defined by two measurements (waist circumference and inseam length),
No, those are what mass-market panta tend to use as nominal size dimensions, with variations in the relation of those and other standard dimensions being brand or style variations (where there are options for some of them within a brand, typically multiple of them are collapsed together under another single axis like slim fit/classic fit/loose fit, which tends to lump ankle)
The standard measurements for men’s pants include all of:
front and back crotch length
waist to knee length
waist to ankle length
(sometimes, some of these will be estimated based on visual inspection and the other measurements.)
> there are lots of variations between brands for garments with the same nominal size.
Yes, mass market clothing nominal sizes have no consistent relationship to even the things the subset of measures they noninally represent.
> Let's not even get into women's clothing where you can have such ill-defined terms like "size zero".
The only difference between women’s dress sizes and men’s pants sizes is that the former is a one-dimensional arbitrary ordinal category and the latter is two dimensional, and pretends to a (false) correspondence to a standard length measurement.
size zero at least makes sense if it's the smallest, and they're using zero based indexing. It really gets ridiculous when they have size 00.
More casual button-downs are also very frustrating, as sleeve length and chest circumference aren't provided accurately for S vs M vs L
If you want an extra shock: measure your waist. It's not 34 inches!
This is mainly due to cheap fabrics stretching unevenly (roll to roll difference and beginning of the roll can stretch differently from the end) and if you cut them by pressing through a thick stack the ones at different spots in the stack stretch differently during the cut and thus end up different size even if "cut" to the same size.
Then after every shirt made, it's tested against the B26 - B34 (since it's probably somewhere in there) and then labelled as a fit for B29.
Then I just go shopping for B29s.
I'd argue men have about 4 primary body shapes (roughly, height:shoulders:waist:hips), within which most are +/- a bit.
Women have... a lot more.
I had this problem when I was younger with an outlier waist/inseam ratio. I was only one inseam size out of "normal" but had to catalog order my pants. I wonder how it would work now with modern supply chain efficiencies. Back then I could rely on a warehouse somewhere having my size, but just-in-time may not allow room for that.
I love the idea though. As someone who rarely finds a t-shirt where I like the fit (either too tight or too long), I'd love to just have something I could count on. I can't even rely on just getting the same size from the same store each time.
Then the clothing designer would input B29 and it would adjust all sorts of things and print out a pattern. Then the clothing designer could "test fit" the final shirt on a really cool adjustomatic mannequin made of weird pistons and balloons. Ok that last part is unlikely to happen but it sounds awesome.
Lovely idea but what do the poor fools do whose weights are going up and down? I mean I know that's not 80% of the population on a given year but there is some value to being able to buy just a few garments at a time that fit approximately correctly right now, even if they won't really in another six months.
Going in to a store would seem absolutely insane if you could just order tons of stuff in your size and it all fits and you would not have to make returns.
Some companies do try to address this to a degree with slim or athletic cuts, and yes a tailor could take you the rest of the way ‘mostly’ there, but the future of clothing is 3D scanning and printing.
The sizes vary within brands themselves.
Traditionally the solution was to get a tailor take your measurements and make a pattern for you and cut from cloth to make you a garment. Obviously, in today's day and age, that gets a bit expensive for most people.
That one is a "measure at home" affair, but I've also heard tell of ones where there's a pop up at a co-working space or whatever, and you go get measured, pick your fabrics, and get the shirts in the mail a few weeks later.
Cost-wise, it's definitely more than getting them at a department store, but it's not ridiculously more. Think like 2-3x rather than 10x.
That said, a tailor will make you pose properly and not slouch or droop your shoulder, so they would take better measurements. Presumably, SW could correct for bad posture as well.
Manufacturing at scale is currently impossible.
Tailoring is basically robotics' worst nightmare: input material with varying characteristics from batch to batch, delicate materials, multiple different motions and tasks, a non-reducible movement and orientation space (e.g. sew a hem along a curve), and a complex mapping between physical tasks and end result (different stitch on seam = different motion).
We'll get there (and if it weren't for low cost labor, would already be there for t-shirts). But it's really hard.
I also think what you’re describing could be easily solved with more measurements of clothing you’re considering.
The issue is it just doesn’t scale well abd is limited by types of garments on offer, no standardized way to share measurements with other manufacturers, and requires we redo the process or for me to ‘guess’ at adjustments if my body changes in any material ways - they only come to major cities once a quarter or so.
The GP is more referring to companies who deliberately don't conform to standards. Best example of this is women's clothing that alter sizes so they are more appealing to women who don't traditionally fit that size number.
TL;DR - "Omg I finally fit in a size 2 dress" is a huge selling point, even if its not categorically true.
But as someone who is on the shorter side with an athletic body type, almost no clothing produced today (aside from high end made in US brands) fits me at all. Vintage stuff does. No amount of standardization will get around that. I have to pay more for tailoring, getting custom made, or spending tons of time searching out boutique brands that work for my body type.
What I’m suggesting fixes it all.
This sort of thing has been being talked about for 20+ years. The problems include that you're probably never going to get to the equivalent of a tailored suit--even after taking all their measurements, tailors often will make some final adjustments. On the other hand, most people are fine with their day to day polo shirts, T-shirts, and trousers being off the rack without paying double/triple or whatever for customization.
Sort of, but it's all fake if you don't have the right QC strictness at manufacture. People like to joke about "fake size numbers" and "S/M/L" and "different style cuts", but forget about that and focus on waist and inseam measurements for a moment.
Men's pants have been labeled with waist and inseam measurements in inches forever, and, differences person to person and brand to brand entirely aside, the same brand of pants in the same style in the same color with the same size label on the same day can have different actual waist circumferences by more than half an inch so that one pair will fit _you_ and another won't fit _you_ because their assembly tolerance is higher than your fit tolerance.
I bought a suit a while back - they tailored it (pants and jacket) for <$20. This is "really expensive" if it is a $10 t-shirt, but not that bad if it is an $80 point-down shirt, and even reasonable if it is a $200 pant/jacket combo
I was mostly referring to day-to-day wear that's $10-40 or so off the rack.
I'm selfishly disappointed China's takeover of Hong Kong because it gives me very mixed feeling about getting suits from there. They do amazing work, but supporting them is, in a sense, supporting China's takeover, even if the shop had nothing to do with it.
And one can specify their body measurements all they like, but it barely helps selecting a size online or even in store.
Finding someone that is average on just four or five dimensions is extremely rare. Bucketing people into a handful of clusters and taking those averages is only a marginal improvement. Brands standardizing to those same clusters make it impossible for many people to find fitting clothes.
It’s just like shoes. For a given length, at most about 30-40% of the foot widths can be accommodated without offering multiple widths. And most shoes only come in one width.
For those who don’t know, Drapr was a YC co from last summer’s batch: https://www.ycombinator.com/companies/drapr
You wear a ridiculous looking figure-hugging suit and scan yourself with their app. Then you don't wear the suit again (unless you change shape). Version 2 of the suit looks much less silly.
Now you can order what you want and it's for your size!
It does works, but... make sure you know exactly what you want. e.g. do you want a closer fit? Looser fit?
What problem/s does 3D fitting room introduce?
When you buy clothes online, you can only see images of the clothes and see them on other people. You can't really tell how they'd look and fit on you.
When you buy clothes in a store, you can try them on but you're left with the selection of a physical store (e.g. it might not have your size, you might want a different colour).
With a virtual fitting room, you can, at least in theory, get the best of both worlds: a large selection of items and the ability to see how they fit on you.
After going shopping with my wife recently, I came up with a dream for how the experience of clothes shopping would be in the future and a virtual fitting room fits into that vision:
- You digitize your body (e.g. by visiting a store with a body scanner)
- You browse a catalog, on a computer or phone at home or perhaps on some kind of AR mirror in a store (this is where the virtual fitting room fits in)
- You have the items you like the most delivered either to your home or to the store
- You try them on for a final check
- You keep the ones you like and return the ones you don't (either by post if you're at home or just hand them back if you're in-store)
Depending on the specifications available to the retailer, the virtual fitting could also do analysis of the garment and your body to tell you how good a fit it is. The CAD packages available for patternmaking have stress analysis which can show where the garment is too tight or too loose and that could be displayed to the customer based on their own measurements.
The same concept could also be used to eliminate sizes from the customer's mind. The store could use the customer's measurements and the technical details of the garment to automatically supply the best-fitting size.
1) Sizing - ordering multiple sizes so you get the right one is not a sustainable or environmentally friendly way of purchasing clothes online.
2) Perception - looking at a good-looking, slim person trying on clothes is not representative of most people. I've seen plenty of clothes look good on a mannequin look awful on me. Wish I could say vice-versa, but the mannequins don't talk back.
If I were ordering custom sized cloths then maybe this would be useful. Neat for sure. But I am not seeing the usefulness because of the wild inconsistencies in most cloths.
So all in all the male clothes models usually look like just a fraction of a fraction of the population and that fraction is all outliers in no way representative of a typical shopper.
These products need to be shipped to the U.S., usually by boat, where freight trucks haul them to warehouses before another set of freight trucks deliver product to storefronts which have giant parking lots next to them so customers can drive their gas cars to park in them. Let's not talk about all the unsold waste.
I'm open to options.
Is every garment custom made, or selected from inventory?
Nasty PII leaks
This is only half of the equation, and I find a lot of people are ignoring - mainly because it seems intractable.
As important as how an item of clothing looks on my body, is how it feels on my body. Does it constrict when I move. Am I able to sit, stand, and walk comfortably in it?
Some times a piece of clothing can look perfect, if I am standing rigidly like a mannequin, but it is highly uncomfortable with any movement.
I am the ex-CTO and co-founder of a company that does 3D-scan-based fit, specifically ML-based morphology extraction from 3D data of people (www.treedys.com , not a YC company ;-) ).
A lot of the points raised here in the comments are very valid: there is absolutely no consensus on standardisation of "fit"... but even if there was: "fit" is a very complicated concept that means different things to people in different settings. Furthermore there is often no consensus even inside big clothing companies as to which grading system (this is the "fit catalog" so to speak) is to be used for a specific collection / year / style etc... and those companies that do have this kind of thing standardised are often fighting with internal staff that grew up in a non-digital era to keep the documentation up to date, make sure the right files are shared, push people towards using digital design tools consistently etc...
But this does not mean - by any stretch - that the current system cannot be improved! There are many things that can be done with morphological data that are not immediately obvious in terms of improving fit for individual end users. Comparing "tshirt measurements" VS "human measurements" is the obvious starting point, but this is not actually the best way to make real-life recommendations, and there are many better systems that are possible once you have high quality metrics!
Here is one for example: what about completely disregarding the "extracted body measurements in inches", and just building a flywheel where you take people's entire set of say 250 measurements as a vector, and use this data point along with a set of items they have bought (for themselves) and not returned. Once you have this kind of data for, say, 5000 people and 50 SKUs of items of clothing... you can build a very granular recommendation system, based on morphology, which will take into account many aspects of "fit" that are not immediately obvious in the measurements...
One thing is for sure: the big incumbents in fashion retail have felt the sting of shifting to an online-first world. In 2020 the total dollar amount of merchandise returned from online retail doubled (https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/428-billion-merc...).
Literally: double the volume in one year. This was especially impactful in online fashion, where returns have always been a giant cost and a limiting factor to expansion ... but up until 2020 fashion retailers had been delaying action while desperately trying to modernise other aspects of their businesses, and morphology data felt like "too big of a problem for now.
Now, in 2021, with a few big players like Amazon taking the lead in "morphology-based fit" the situation is changing... and even the slowest fashion brands are starting to realise that not having a fit / morphology strategy in 2021 is starting to look like an automotive manufacturer NOT having an EV strategy in 2012 when Tesla was releasing the model S...
We're feeling it: after hanging on by the skin of our teeth for 6 years building deep tech solutions ( 3D ML to map a naked body on messy point cloud data of a clothed person for example, that was a tough nut to crack!), we're suddenly getting a lot more inbound from people we could not get on phone for a 5-minute conversation 2 years ago. And we finally have our first public-facing deployments in-store, using the full capture-to-ML stack (all developed in-house) that we have been crafting all this time! It feels good to finally get a product out and start getting the feedback loop going after so long.
All of this to say: congrats to Drapr, They made a great product and their timing was excellent! Let's hope this helps GAP achieve it's sustainability goals and reduce returns and waste, because in the end this will be the major benefit to all of us :) But in any case: morphology-based-fit is now "an idea whose time has come", and we can expect a lot of cool new things to come from this over the next few years!