Getting the right fit…
While one often thinks of style, trend and color as the main focus when it comes to clothing, a recent event in London put the spotlight on fit. "World Class Wisdom on Fashion Sizing and Fit” was held by ASBCI (Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry) and sponsored by Lectra. Industry experts discussed their challenges, solutions and future plans, all around the topic of fit.
Alan Wragg, from Tesco’s clothing brand F&F
The event brought together leading UK fashion and clothing businesses, including Tesco, Debenhams, and Marks & Spencer, to name just a few. The speakers and audience agreed that consistent sizing and fit in clothing increases customer loyalty and satisfaction; on the other hand, if customers are not happy with fit consistency, they are likely to take their business elsewhere.
Alan Wragg, from Tesco’s F&F clothing brand, gave an interesting speech on how F&F uses virtual fit with Lectra’s virtual prototyping technology to improve efficiency, shorten lead times and, in turn, increase profits. He provided some startling statistics on the benefits of 3D virtual prototyping for his brand, saying using it had meant a 4-8% increase in net margin for the group because of shorter lead times, and savings of between $30 and $60 million dollars (as recorded by Just Style).
The general feeling throughout the day was that all fashion retailers need to be fully aware of the advantages that virtual prototyping and sampling can offer and to realize the kind of savings it can bring by not only reducing sampling costs, but also making process cleaner and faster through the efficiency of working digitally.
One key point discussed during the event was the increased popularity of online shopping, and the cost and quantity of online returns. It was clear that that consistent sizing was a key initiative on everyone’s agenda to help reduce online returns.
The advice from the industry experts to the education sector was that fashion schools should encourage students to specialize early so that they differentiate themselves with specific skills. The importance of learning both manual pattern cutting skills, as well as mastering the latest digital technology—3D virtual prototyping in particular—was also emphasized.
Other topics covered during the day were the difficulties of lingerie sizing and fit; key requirements for made to measure; providing fit for mass production; and latest intelligence on the plus-size sector.
"The Fit Factor was an outstanding ASBCI conference, one of our most popular to date. Our speakers all provided a new view on fit from a range of different industry sectors and perspectives, and it was clear the delegates thoroughly enjoyed the experience." -Dr Julie King, Head of Fashion at University of Northampton, Event Director at ASBCI