M.-E. Faust and S. Carrier, "Three Dimensional (3D) Body Scanner for Apparel Shoppers Would Make Commerce Easier", in Proc. of 1st Int. Conf. on 3D Body Scanning Technologies, Lugano, Switzerland, 2010, pp. 68-76, http://dx.doi.org/10.15221/10.068.
Three Dimensional (3D) Body Scanner for Apparel Shoppers Would Make Commerce Easier
Marie-Eve FAUST 1, Serge CARRIER 2
1 Fashion Merchandising, School of Business Administration, Philadelphia University, USA;
2 Département de management et de technologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
If a 5',8", 115 lbs woman, a 5',6", 135 lbs woman and a 5',9", 125 lbs woman all claim to wear a size 8 then what are the measurements of the garment they purchase?
In the ancient regime measurements, all things differed from one place to another. Besides the livre poids-de-marc, that was the most consistent in time, the toise (linear measurement) Toise de France, Toise de Chalet, Toise du Perou or de l'Academie varied over time. Moreover each King, Duke and Mont Seigneur, had their own measurements for an aune, a pied (foot) and a pouce (thumb). Everyone used what was most appropriate according to the circumstances and their need. This lasted until the end of the Eighteen Century when Louis XVI convened les Etats Generaux. One of the critical issues written by French citizens in the Cahier de doleances was uniformity of weight and measures.
" Qu'il n'y ait plus sur le territoire deux poids et deux mesures. " ... " Variété de mesures et leurs dénominations bizarre jettent nécessairement de la confusion dans nos idées, de l'embarras dans le commerce. " [...]... différence des choses sous l'uniformité des noms. " " La différence des poids et des mesures est cause qu'on nous dupe ".
People were convinced the suppression of diversity in measures would facilitate commerce between buyers and sellers. The Academie des sciences made "table raze" and decided that measurement uniformity would be based on something that was not arbitrary, thus ephemera. From that day, measurements were based on something universal, invariable and eternal: the meridian, measured by triangulation which served as the basis for what is today known as the meter.
This unit of measurement was extraordinary for linear measurements. It helped commercialization by ensuring that each piece of land be, from thereon, calculated in the same units.
But how can this measure apply to a three dimensional human body? How do these measures translate to produce garment matching these measurements? More importantly how can these measurements be conveyed in size labels?
A number of our previous papers present an overview of research conducted on women's body measurements, using data extracted from the latest national survey in the U.S.A., performed using a 3D body scanner. We demonstrated that the body scanning technology was accurate (if imprecise for a few specific parts of the body) and that women may be classified according to their body shape and size measurements. We further showed that even when classified, it is almost impossible to arrive at a manageable number of sizes when taking into consideration the whole spectrum of measurements and shapes.
These observations led us to conclude that manufacturers and retailers should stop using standard "numbered size labels" or "small, medium, large", and worst, use vanity sizing. We further believe apparel manufacturers and retailers should work with technology such as 3D body scanners. They could then either (1) use 3D body data measurements along with other technologies, software, or solutions to cut and sew garments specifically matching individuals' data (mass customization) or (2) use an individual's measurements to identify the standard sized garment that would suit them best. 3D body scanners (at least the one from [TC]2) are accurate, and, nowadays, relatively accessible. Contrary to the existing labeling system which uses standardized sizes, the 3D body scanner enables the seller to direct consumers toward garments that should fit their silhouette and size. Used in combination with visualization and communication technologies it could even allow for the socialization component so important in the shopping experience. Mass customization would reduce returns and waste of time as well as increase consumer satisfaction. Some of our previous research has demonstrated that being scanned and experiencing virtual visualization are part of a shopping experience that consumers are ready to experiment.
Yet even if we now have the most reliable measuring tools, communicating sizing information still needs to be improved. Manufacturers, retailers, consumers and academics must sit together and agree on a new size label.
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