We’ve all been there—carting dozens of jeans in different sizes and styles into a fitting room, taking wild guesses and often leaving empty-handed because what fits in one store doesn’t at the next. It’s an age-old source of frustration for shoppers everywhere.
Now, Marie-Eve Faust, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and management, has co-edited and co-authored a new book explaining how retailers determine sizing and how shaping clothing for specific markets can simplify everyone’s hunt for better-fitting apparel.
Intended as a high-level research resource, “Designing Apparel for Consumers: The Impact of Body Shape and Size,” addresses such issues as the history of sizing in America, modern body-scanning technology that yields more accurate measurements and the retail practice of producing clothing for different target markets.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the publication of Faust’s book on April 3 at 4 p.m. in the library instruction space of the Paul J. Gutman Library. Refreshments will be served. To RSVP for the event, click here.
“Designing Apparel for Consumers,” published by Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles in association with The Textile Institute, includes chapters by 14 other industry experts worldwide. “The idea was to put together a book that would talk about sizing and shape and the different target markets, since sizing can be so confusing,” Faust said.
Some of this confusion can be attributed to the history of sizing in the U.S. Until about ten years ago, the most current national size survey dated back to World War II and only included measurements from white women.
The old survey was problematic, Faust said, because research has since shown that race is a strong indicator of body size and shape patterns. New 3-D body-scanning technology has revolutionized the way designers obtain accurate measurements and identify body types.
“Designing Apparel for Consumers” evaluates how retailers use this new data to design for target markets, including children, consumers who may be older, overweight or pregnant, different ethnic groups, as well as men’s sizing needs.
By using the most up-to-date information on body shapes and sizes, Faust said retailers can identify patterns specific to certain target markets and manufacture clothing accordingly.
In the chapter she wrote on maternity clothing, Faust provides an example of how retailers use different textiles to accommodate the needs of this market. “Many choose more natural fibers such as cotton and wool blends along with a bit of elastane for comfort,” she writes.
Paying more attention to sizing “can help anyone on the supply chain, from designers to retailers,” Faust said, because providing the consumer with more information about the product fit will simplify the shopping experience and lead to more sales.
“Designing Apparel for Consumers” is available on Amazon and in the campus bookstore.