What dress size are you? 12? 14? 16? Or all of the above, depending on what shop you happen to be in and which item you happen to be trying on? Inconsistent sizing is nothing new, but continues to be one of the biggest hurdles when trying to find a new outfit. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to take three different sizes of the same trousers into the changing room with you, rendering the six-item limit totally useless.
Dodgy clothes sizes are not only a pain in the neck for consumers, they are also damaging to business. A recent report by Barclaycard says that shoppers return a whopping £7bn worth of purchases every year, with the number-one reason given for returning clothes being down to inconsistent sizing across brands. The report also says that a quarter of retailers have seen a rise in returns in-store and online over the last two years, with fashion retailers among those who have seen the highest number of returns.
However, things might be set to change. A new app, called ShapeGB, aims to capture the true measurements of the UK in a bid to realign clothing sizes. In association with the University of Hertfordshire and several high-street retailers, including ASOS, Monsoon, Next, New Look and River Island, ShapeGB will collect the measurements of 30,000 men and women nationwide, which will then be passed on to the retailers involved. From here, said retailers will be able to glean a better understanding of what consumers actually look like and, in theory, provide the clothes to fit that.
Inconsistent sizing is nothing new, but continues to be one of the biggest hurdles when trying to find a new outfit
The app can be downloaded from Apple’s App store for free and instructs the user to take one photograph of themselves from the front and one from the side (you might need a friend to help). Measurements are then taken from the photographs.
It sounds simple. Which, of course, begs the question: why haven’t we been able to do something like this before? Advancements in technology are proving to be instrumental in the never-ending quest of finding clothes that fit properly. Last month saw the launch of Japanese brand Zozosuit, the first made-to-measure fast-fashion company. Using a specially designed bodysuit and with the help of a smartphone, Zozosuit will make a digital avatar of your body that can then be used to fit clothes on. It is set to launch at the end of the month.
With H&M having recently announced that it will be adjusting its UK sizes, following increased customer demand, the matter of clothing sizes has never been higher on the fashion agenda. Could the ShapeGB app provide the overhaul that we so desperately need? I guess we’ll have to download it and see.