Retailers change consumer clothes satisfaction
Chapter 1. Introduction
Retailers continue to change to provide consumer satisfaction and are exceeded through critical factors such as efficiency, productivity and quality (WGSN, 2011). The current market has altered the nature of the clothing industry, where competitive advantage is no longer sustainable and the emerged business paradigm of mass customisation is being hailed as the solution to problems of fit in the clothing industry (Apeagyei, 2010; Song, 2010). Since the introduction of mass produced clothing, the industry has struggled to provide well-fitting garments for the majority of the population (Ashdown, ed, 2007). Fan, et al. (2004) states that in order to design garments to present the best image of the wearer, it is necessary to understand the perceptions of beauty, body attractiveness and body image as well as how the perception of body appearance can be modified through clothing.
The measurements of human beings in relation to anthropometric data are used to develop size charts (Roebuck, 1995). There is a lack of fully direct pattern or garment construction methods, with many concessions requiring the application of proportion. The collation of anthropometric data can be time consuming and requires a substantial amount of resources, money, and expertise (Winks, 1997). Ashdown, ed (2007) states the first large scale anthropometric survey of women took place between 1939-1941 in America by O'Brien and Shelton. In the 1950s Kemsley carried out a manual survey on behalf of the British Joint Clothing Council (Fan et al., 2004). This situation was redressed in 2001-2002 when Size UK, carried out a population size-survey using 3D body scanning technology. Seventeen UK retailers took part in the survey, along with the UK government and selected academic institutions, with the aim of creating data required to develop more accurate size charts. 11,000 participants across the UK took part in the survey using 3D body scanners (Le Pechoux, 2002). 3D scanning technology is currently viewed as the answer in solving fit problems, through generating accurate data for the development of size charts, enabling a practical approach to the offer of mass customisation and also aid virtual model fit trials enhancing consumer online experiences (Simmons and Istook, 2004; Song, 2010).
Customer satisfaction is of key importance for a retailer as it often leads to brand loyalty, whereby customers will make repeat purchases. As one of the most important consumer needs regarding clothing is that of well-fitting garments, deliberation in the media among women has focused around the problem of size variation used amongst high street retailers (Apeagyei, 2008). Furthermore, sizing and fit are often used by retailers as a marketing tool and as a means of differentiating their products from competitors. This leads to consumer dissatisfaction, when they realise the garment they want to purchase does not fit their body shape and size (Winks, 1997). This could also affect the way consumers perceive themselves and therefore are less likely to purchase from that retailer in the future. Ashdown, ed (2007) states that consumers often use garment fit as a means of evaluating the quality of the garment. Beazley (1997); and Le Pechoux (2002) agree with this view and states that fit effects comfort, as well as wear life or durability of a garment.
Attractive garments will not be worn if the factors associated with good fit, comfort, design and fabric are not addressed (Glock, 2002). Fit also depends on the shape and size of the wearer, however there is little data on the correlation between consumers comfort and the fit of their clothing. The garment design will determine the features, whether it be close or loose fitting. Ease of the design or movement are added to the body measurements when the pattern is created, ensuring that the desired look and comfort level is achieved. Intrinsic cues related to fit are linked to the body measurements of the consumer. Extrinsic clues in terms of garment quality, such as price and brand are evaluated by consumers (Glock, et al., 2000).
The future of mass production sees that the dominant era of standardisation will come to an end and that mass customisation will overtake standardisation (Apeagyei, 2010). Over time, consumers would determine what, when, where and how they want their products (Pine, 1993). In today's market consumers demand for more options in shopping on personalised products is on the rise. Body scanning is helping to shift the focus of mass production to mass customisation with individualised sizing and design features and made-to-measure facility with competitive prices and faster turnaround times (Bye et al., 2006).
More emphasis on focus of research relative to what exists and what will be established i.e: fit mapping better fit of garments, mass customisatio
Chapter 2. Aim and Objectives
Evaluate variation in sizing among eight women's wear UK high street retailers and assess how shape classification, effects size provision and consumer's perceptions, of 18-35 year old consumers.
Aim is good and clear needs punctutation editing
These require greater detail
- To assess differences between sizes in eight high street retailers.
- Evaluate consumer perception and satisfaction of size and fit.
- To identify differences in body shapes of a size 12 consumer.
Chapter 3. Literature Review
3.1. Literature Review Introduction
The following discussion presents some of the underlying theories, technical aspects, and applications of shape classification to the fit and sizing provision of women's wear clothing, and the implications on consumer perceptions of size and fit.
3.1.1. The Concept of Fit as Part of Garment Quality
Fit refers to the way a garment relates to the body, whether it conforms or differs (Workman et al., 2000; Bye et al, 2006) or the relationship between the garment and the body (Ashdown, 2007). Close fitting garments are not always the best fitting garments, fit is more associated with fashion, style, or personal preferences (Le Pechoux, 2002). Appearance, comfort, design, and fabric are four main factors that determine good fit. The consumer's perception of the garment when worn refers to the appearance. However, attractive garments will not be worn if they are not comfortable. It is also important to be able to function in a garment without restricting movement or straining the seams. The features of a garment are determined by the design, creating a certain style, for example close-fitting or loose-fitting. When patterns are created, ease of movement or design ease can be added to the body measurements. This gives the best possible look, comfort can be achieved, and through this the appearance of the garment is enhanced. Crucial to good fit is the fabric. The fabric can make a difference to how the garment conforms and fits to the body (Ashdown, 2007). It is therefore clear that the inherent signs related to fit are linked to the body measurements of the consumer. Consumer's perceptions of the quality of a garment are often evaluated through the fit (Song, 2010).
External signs such as price, brand name, retailer's reputation, product presentation and advertising can also influence consumers of the way they perceive garment quality (Glock et al., 2002; Kim et al., 2010). According to Kim et al. (2010), consumers become loyal to certain retailers because they can rely on that same retailer to deliver the same fit every time. Consumers expect a similar fit to different garments from the same retailer, and want to be able to select the same size for different styles from the same retailer (Glock et al., 2002). Sizing and fit standards are often used by retailers as a marketing tool and to differentiate their products from competitors (Workman, 1991; Apeagyei, 2010). This causes confusion about which size to choose. To ensure consistency in sizing among different styles, quality control during production is important, and is highlighted by ??? (Carr or Tyler?/?).
It is clear that fit enhances the consumer's perception of garment quality by contributing to both inherent and external characteristics of the garment, and that inherent and external factors that influence fit relate to body measurements and sizing. This is confirmed by Kinley, (2007) by stating that sizing is an essential component of garment quality assessment and evaluation of fit as a result.
Garment fit issues are costly and unsatisfying for manufacturers and retailers as well as for consumers. Despite the quality of the fabric, development, or the style, consumers are dissatisfied if the garment is of poor fit (Winks, 1997). It is therefore crucial to assess issues relating to garment fit experienced by consumers. With customer satisfaction being the main goal for the retail industry, it is clear that garment fit needs to be addressed.
3.1.2. The Consumers Problem with Fit
Finding a garment that fits can be time consuming and a frustrating task, this coming from the consumer's point of view (Kim et al., 2010). Consumers often have to try on various garments before finding one that fits. Sizing and size labelling are often used as a marketing tool to differentiate their products from competitors (Workman, 1991; Apeagyei, 2010). Consumer's perception of quality could be improved through accurate size information and therefore increase retailers competitive edge (Le Pechoux, 2002; Ashdown, 2007). However, body measurements are not provided on size label's which does not assist the consumer in finding the correct size of the garment. A study by Chun-Yoon et al., (1993) concluded that consumers prefer a size labelling system that features both pictograms and key body dimensions. Such as system would quickly communicate to the consumer the body dimensions the garment was designed for. To add to the confusion, manufacturers often use the same size designation (the number that identifies each size) for clothing that fits different body measurements (Workman, 2000; Tamburrino, 1992; Kinley, 2003; Ashdown, 2007). Down-sizing strategies are designed to flatter the self-images of consumers and are connected to each retailer's perception of its competitive advantage (Le Pechoux, 2002). Wearing a smaller size, appeals to the female consumer. This strategy supports sales by making the consumer satisfied about herself. By contributing to the consumers psychological and social well-being creates loyalty to the consumer. Women will always purchase from the store where they take the smaller size providing the other factors influencing garment quality are perceived in a positive way (Workman, 1991).
There is a lack of knowledge in consumers of which body measurements are necessary which aggravates the problem. They are unsure of how to take their own body measurements accurately or which measurements act as key indicators ofsize (Le Pechoux, 2002). It therefore seems as if a proper size labelling system and skilled sales people as well as consumers may assist the consumers in their search for well-fitting garments. However, the best size labelling and learning campaign will not ensure good fit if the garment sizes are based on out dated and inaccurate anthropometric or body measurement data. The clothing industry cannot afford to ignore the problem of fit. This is why it is important that the retail industry continuously renew standards and systems used or the manufacturing of garments, in particular with regard to the sizing of garments.reword….
3.1.3. The Retail Industries Problem with Fit
Garment fit issues are not a new occurrence. It is however highlighted by body-fitting fashions. As stated earlier, fit is not only judged in terms of how closely it relates to the body but also in terms of being the latest fashion (Ashdown, 2007). Providing garments that will fit a three dimensional body form is one of the challenges that the garment production and retail industry has to meet (Bye et al., 2006; Song, 2010; Kim et al., 2010). According to Istook, (2003) it is difficult to assess the consumer's issues with fit without a set of accurate body measurements. Body measurements form the basis for pattern construction (Workman, 1991). Pattern construction has a very important influence on the fit of the garment. Two human bodies with the same dimensions but with different attributes may each require a different pattern (Tamburrino, 1992), because the same garment will not fit individuals with similar body measurements but different proportions equally well. Body measurements must therefore be considered together with proportions to enable a decent fit for different people. The clothing industry is moving towards providing a more diverse range of choices and therefore should evaluate the basis of its sizing systems that would provide more consumers with better fit (Beazley. 1999; Ashdown, 2007). There are several benefits for retailers in providing accurate sizing systems in that consumers would have to try on less garments which in turn would reduce the number of returns. Consumers would also benefit from a better fit by having to make less alterations (Tamburrino, 1992).
In the clothing industry the expense of fit problems may come in the form of returns, lost sales, more markdowns, unmarketable stock and dissatisfied customers (Winks, 1997; Tamburrino, 1993; Kinley, 2003). Workman, (1991) revealed that 70% of garments on markdown racks end up as markdowns because of poor fit or quality. Dissatisfied consumers to the retail industry means lost sales. Dissatisfied consumers can also harm the reputation of the retailer, resulting in great financial costs to improve their image again.
The retail industries effort to supply well-fitting garments are based on their sizing systems. Simply put, a sizing system is a set of pre-determined body sizes designated in a standard manner (Winks, 1997). A sizing system generates the size charts, which provides the measurements necessary for garment production (Kunick, 1984). Various efforts have been made to standardise sizing systems. The ideal figure influences the underlying systems for clothing apparel. Sizing systems based on ideal proportions are however too limited (Labat et al., 1990). Reword…
Chun-Yoon et al, (1993) identified two main issues with fit. These were as a result of sizing systems being based on out dated anthropometric data and the sizing systems have a lack of appropriate sizes to accommodate the full range of body shapes in the current population. Very few sizing systems accommodate differences in body proportions related to age, ethnicity, or body weight (Winks, 1997). One of the problems encountered when designing for people, especially in the United Kingdom with its multi-cultural population, is that they are different; for instance, tall or short, slim or fat, long arms, short legs, big heads, small feet, young or old (Kennedy, 2009; Mpampa et al., 2010). This could be overcome if the variation in size of a population is considered. It is however necessary to establish limits to the variability that can be accommodated (Mpampa et al., 2010), or what variation exists in the UK population. Current sizing systems are based on the principle that the difference between sizes is measurable in equal linear distances. Linear increments between sizes in a sizing system facilitate pattern making and grading. Actual human measurements, however, do not support the assumption that the difference between the principle girths is constant (Robinette, 1997). It is clear that how and where these measurements should be measured on the human body must be described in detail, to be able to make accurate assumptions and comparisons.
The selection of key dimensions to develop sizing systems offers another problem. Key dimensions are measurements that serve as predictors of the sizes of other parts of the body (Chun-Yoon, 1996). A key dimension is a body dimension that has a strong relationship with most other body dimensions that are important to the garment. Key dimensions are fundamental to the definition of body size and are used to assign an appropriately sized garment to a wearer (Winks, 1997). It is therefore critical for fit that one is exactly sure how and where these key dimensions should be measured on the human body.
Key dimensions, however, are not the only important factor in the prediction of body shape. Ashdown, (1998) developed a method from which an optimised sizing system can be inferred that uses as many body dimensions as are needed to account for the variability in the population. These sizing systems have the potential to fit the population better than sizing systems based on one or two dimensions only, as is currently the case in most instances. The goal of any sizing system is to choose subgroups of the population in such a way that a limited number of sizes would provide clothing that fit most individuals in the population, while taking into account the variability within the population (Ashdown, 1998).
Differences in body shapes and sizes are repeatedly put forward as a reason why a workable standard sizing cannot be reached (Winks, 1997). Simmons et al., (2004?) consider body shape as the missing link to achieve better fit. It is also important to keep in mind that peoples shape and proportion change over time as a result of change in nutrition, lifestyle, composition and age (Kennedy, 2009). Very few sizing systems accommodate differences in body proportions, for example as a result of age, ethnicity or body weight (Winks, 1997). It is obvious that variation between body shape must be incorporated in any system that sets out to meet the requirements of the population. The best way to provide for variation in shape is to construct separate size charts for this purpose (Kunick, 1984). The development of new technology such as three-dimensional body scanners makes it possible to take body shape into account when developing sizing systems (Workman et al., 2000). It also makes more accurate measurements a very real and achievable goal since the ultimate success of any sizing system lies with the accuracy of body measurements. Fit problems originate from out dated and inaccurate measurement data.
When designing for a target market, it is necessary to have available reliable anthropometric data, otherwise the garment may be totally unsuitable for the user (Mpampa et al., 2010). Scientific garment cutting is based upon measurements of the human form.
Roebuck, (1995); Fan et al., (2004) describe anthropometry as the science of measurement and the art of application that establishes physical geometry, mass properties and strength capabilities of the human body. Anthropometric data related to target populations are gathered to develop size charts (Hsu, 2009). Various efforts have been made to determine improved patterns and garments in the clothing industry (Apeagyei et al., 2007; Otieno et al., 2005; Song 2010). Human body shapes continue to change mainly due to the changing lifestyles, diets, migration patterns, and impact of ‘size zero' trends (Apeagyei, 2008; Chittenden, 2010). Ethnicity, age and gender are the most common differences in relation to body size and shape (Kennedy, 2009).
The differences between and among populations has an impact on clothing. Therefore regular assessments of human measurement are necessary in providing adequate fit for a full range of population and to meet the needs and expectations of the wearer providing consumer satisfaction. Measurements can be taken using several traditional tools including a tape measure, anthropometer, and weighing scales, along with modern 3D body scanning technology (Le Pechoux, 2002). Roebuck, (1995); Simmons & Istook, (2004a) further agree that knowledge and skill is required to undertake an anthropometric survey. An understanding of the anatomy along with a comprehensive knowledge of the usage of the equipment is a necessity. Inaccurate results could be produced if the measuring apparatus is misused or misunderstood.
3D body scanning technology can help to achieve this by capturing the shape and size of a human body in seconds and further produce 3D body models (Sing, 2010). Anthropometric data from the scanner can be used to produce avatars and model forms. Alvanon, (2011) states that using consistent model forms can help standardise the fit of final styles being produced at different locations. Anthropometrics provide a good general picture in body specifications for brands and target population
3.2. Sizing Chart Development and Sizing Systems
Before the Size UK survey in 2001-2002 in which 3D body scanners were used, body measurement data dating as far back as 1950 were being used in pattern development and sizing for clothing. The survey results showed (shape analysis, 2011) that there has been a sizeable change in the human body overall, with both genders. For example, women the average person has increased in key dimensions, as much as an overwhelming 16cm on the waist (Apeagyei, 2010).
The objective of garment sizing is to divide standardised dimensions for the body and garments into categories, with the aim to fit the maximum number of people with the minimum number of sizes. However, size charts vary. Body measurement charts indicate sample coverage of body measurements for the designated population, using standard deviation values.
Various female body shapes have been founded in recent studies using 3D body scanning technology (Simmons et al., 2004; Connell, 2006; Apeagyei, 2008), even within specific size categories. Therefore, classifying the relationship between body size and shape is critical in the provision of improved fit of clothing. Due to the lack of industry standards on fit, sizing, and size designations, retailers have presented numbers that do not necessarily link to body measurements. This presents variation of sizing and fit among retailers and sizing communication causing consumer dissatisfaction of sizing and fit.
Systems have reflected technology needs of the consumer and focus of the clothing industry. Bye et al., (2006) states that the use of historic and current methods to measure and explore point, length, surface, shape, contour, and volume of the body can help to establish new size charts and in turn provide improved fit.
Ashdown, ed (2007) states that, the size of a subject's body and the scale of garments offer the opportunity for experimentation in design. The majority of clothing on the UK high street provides sizing labels. These labels inform the consumer about the garments, including information of size, shape, washing instructions and fabric content (Ashdown, ed, 2007). Garments on the UK high street are sized in a variety of methods. These include the generic S, M and L, one size fits all, 8, 10, 12, 14, etc…, and even European sizes such as 34, 36, 38, 40 etc… The main method is the numeric order, 8, 10, 12, 14, which is used in the USA.
Winks (1997) states this method of labelling doesn't show the dimensions of the garment, therefore a size 12 in one store maybe a size 10 in another, causing confusion and dissatisfaction among consumers. Chittenden, (2010) reported that some retailers use sizing as a marketing tool and base their sizing around ‘Vanity Sizing', a concept of labelling a larger garment with a smaller size making the consumer perceive themselves positively. Kennedy, (2009) states that vanity sizing is a clever marketing tool which taps into the consumer's psychological need to feel thinner by thinking they fit into a smaller size. Therefore it is important to consider factors in body shape, age and fit preferences, which relate to retailers sizing charts as these could be tailored to suit retailers target markets. A size 12 teenager would vary in size and shape compared to a size 12 forty year old woman.
Variation in sizing is inclusive across the UK, Europe, and the USA. The British Standards BS EN 13402 - 1: 2001 states how to take measurements and British Standards (BS EN 13402), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the European Union aim to introduce a measurement system to reduce customer ambiguity (Winks, 1997). The same sizing would be found across the UK and Europe, bringing simplicity among consumers and abolish sizing variation among retailers. Garments are currently labelled by numbers that are often unrelated to actual dimensions of the body or garment. The new labelling system would relate to three landmark measurements of the body: bust, waist, and hips. Winks (1997); Pheasant (1986) agree this would benefit the clothing industry. In spite of this the clothing industry would not necessarily conform to one standardisation of sizing as retailers use sizing to target their chosen market segments (Connell, 2006).
Sizing systems which are defined by landmark measurements such as bust, waist, and hips, would likely suit body shapes such as hourglass figures, conversely, fit and body shapes may fit these measurements differently. This impacts on customer satisfaction as body shapes are likely to vary among a single size (Bye et al., 2006, Song, 2010). Age, lifestyle, and ethnicity can also have effects on sizing and shape variation. As such a sizing standard would struggle to accommodate all consumers, and wouldn't be able to be repeated worldwide (Apeagyei, 2010).
Kennedy, (2009) through a detailed analysis of Australian standards for sizing, established that retailers have been shown to be influenced by sizing inflation. Therefore it could be argued that this is an adversely conversant attempt to adjust the average size indicated by obesity debates and the population (Kennedy, 2009). Accurate size information is beneficial to consumers as well as to manufacturers and retailers because it may improve consumer's perceptions of quality and therefore increase manufacturers or retailers competitive edge (Le Pechoux, 2002).
3.3. 3D Body Scanning Technology
How has scanning been used to address the issues of size and fit, a description of technology is not necessary
.Body scanning has developed in recent years within the clothing industry. The scanners use either laser or white light technology. The [TC] 2 body scanner was the first to be specifically developed for the clothing industry, and in recent years more brands of scanners have emerged (Simmons & Istook, 2004a).
High accuracy levels, privacy for the subject, and the integration into to other CAD systems are also benefits of this technology (Apeagyei, 2010). This technology could benefit the clothing industry to increase sampling. This in turn would improve industry sizing systems and accommodate for a wider population. Size UK is evidence that this technology could be used for mass customisation.
Body scanning is not without its challenges mostly in relation to landmarking and ethical issues (Simmons & Istook, 2003) which are also present in traditional methods . Cost of 3D body scanning technology for retailers would include the initial investment for the machinery and personal training. This could be prohibitively expensive for small businesses (Apeagyei, 2010). In contrast, Roebuck (1995) suggests smaller businesses could contract out project to specialised industries. This would eliminate the initial investment, but businesses would still need to weigh up the long term effects.
3D body scanning technology enables the quick and consistent extraction of body measurements and body shape classification for the improved customisation of fit for any number of people (Simmons & Istook, 2004). For the clothing industry, scanners provide extracted measurements and virtual pictures which are the foundation for individual pattern construction (Ashdown et al., 2007). For example the [TC]2 Nx16 3D body scanner at MMU is based on ‘white light' technology and scans the whole body in approximately 8 seconds (Bye et al. 2006). The measurements obtained using this technology is more precise and reproducible than those obtained through the traditional methods, and allows for the constant revision and validity of measurement data any time (Bye et al., 2006).
Scanning presents possibilities to provide adequate custom-fit for the use in mass customisation and production, without human body physical contact making the method accurate and non-invasive. The extensive measurements and body models provide a foundation for specifying sizing to create garments for target consumers, thereby eliminating observer error apparent in traditional methods (Simmons & Istook, 2004). In terms of mass customisation, measurements could be carried out once and the data stored could be used for new garments (Song, 2010).
Scanned data could also be integrated with CAD systems and is now possible to manipulate body sizes and shapes for 3D visualisation (Gerber, 2011). Avatars can be created which is critical to the provision of assessing adequate fit on screen. The software also allows the exportation of 3D data for garment modification and draping simulation
Simmons & Istook, (2004b) conducted a study on body measurement techniques, comparing 3D body scanning and anthropometric methods for apparel applications, which led to the development of shape sorting software, called FFIT. The program tested 222 participants and sorted the female figure from frontal views into various shape categories. The research found various body shapes categories the most common being Hourglass, Spoon, Rectangle, Oval and Triangle. No subjects fell into three categories (Inverted triangle, diamond, and top hourglass) (Connell, 2006). These fall into the letter shape categories of A, V, H, X, O (Simmons & Istook, 2004). The use of 3D body scanning can obtain body shapes, angles, and relational data points, along with the traditional linear measurements, which concluded that using both techniques would be beneficial for speed of mass production relating to size and fit of garments (Bye et al., 2006?).
The use of body scan technology and customised pattern production provides the capability to understand and ultimately serve more targeted markets in women's wear. The industry needs to understand the range of body shapes that are present within a target market. In turn this will provide retailers and product developers with a clearer understanding of body shape and its relation to size with a goal of more accurately specifying customer fit profiles. Ref??/
3.5. Body Shape Classification
Shape classification and how this effects size provision, is an area to be explored. One of the main aspects of fit is related with 3D body shape (Vuruskan & Bulgun, 2011). Further discussions researched into fit of individuals that can differ based on the specifications of body shapes, even if traditional body measurements are the same. It is therefore important to consider the shape classification of figures as this has long been an issue for retailers. Classifying groups with the most common shapes in the population could develop better fit for consumers. Body shape classifications are considered in pattern making and sizing terminologies. Geometrical figures such as triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, oval, and circle shapes are examples as well as the letter figures A, V, H, O, X (Simmons & Istook). These are based mostly on proportions of body silhouette from the front view. Another system for body shape classification is the differentiation of size chart categories with height or hip. These methods of body shape classification are all used with the aim of better fitting garments (Aldrich, 2004; Connell, 2006).refs in this about shape classification groups maybe show diagrams….and evaluate say why they use these methods, points of view etc…mention ffit simmons and istook which shapes do they classify etc…
Simmons & Istook, (2004b) theory is that optimum customisation can only occur if customisation starts from the most correctly shaped garment for each customer's figure type. A system F-Fit, identifies female figure types using 3D body scan data, which enables identification of body shapes, allowing the use of the most correctly shaped garment for customisation, ensuring customer fit satisfaction. Which body shapes do they identify??? Mention some oother shape sorting softwares say you agree more with the ffit why???
3.2. Garment Fit/The Concept of Fit as Part of Garment Quality
Garment fit is considered a fundamental element of clothing quality and customer satisfaction in the clothing industry (Song, 2010). Fan, et al., (2004) states that fit is defined in many ways, and is the most important element regarding consumer perceptions of fit and is affected by fashion, style, and many other factors (Song, 2010). Even though there are varying opinions on what constitutes good fit (Cain, 1950; Hudson, 1980; Shen & Huck, 1993; Gersak, 2002), fit is traditionally defined as a combination of five factors: ease, line, grain, balance, and set (Bye, 2006). Chamber & Wiley, (1967) define clothing fit as, clothing that conforms to the human body with adequate ease of movement, cut and manipulated in such a way that it appears to be part of the wearer. In spite of this, good fit is problematic and the way we perceive our body can have an effect on how we perceive the fit of a garment (Kennedy, 2009; Ashdown, 2007).
Live fit models and dress forms have been commonly used together as a method for examining fit (Roebuck, 1995; Fan et al., 2004). Song, (2010) states that although fit models vary in their measurements and aren't perfectly symmetrical, they can comment on the size and fit based on perceptions of the look and feel of the garment. Although live models are commonly used in fit sessions, patternmakers or designers often use dress forms during product development as they have consistent measurements (ref?//?). However, dress forms do not accurately represent the shape of a live model and are considered as additional methods by clothing specialists (Song, 2010).
Three dimensional scan data provides body measurements which have been used to create dress forms more like the human body (Song, 2010). Formax show some pics of these
models are anthropometric mannequins, produced using three-dimensional body scans and the body shapes have been classified using a computerised system, Scanfit (Cad Modelling, 2011).
show some pics of these Alvanon,(2011) also developed model forms based on three-dimensional body scan data. Alvanon, (2011) offers a service for analysis of fit through all stages of the product development process. These model forms help determine the quality of fit, which is linked to the drape and 3D shape, which can then also be considered (Ashdown, 2007). Tukaforms are model forms that have been constructed using three-dimensional scans of fit models. Calvin Klein Jeans have used Tukaforms to review the fit offshore before shipments are made (Tukatech, 2011). Additional companies such as North Face, Bebe, Club Monaco, Chaps and Lane Bryant have developed their own dress forms based from three-dimensional scan data of their fit models, generating improved fit and reduced development costs (Tukatech, 2011 reword…).
Although these innovative dress forms can help retailers to improve clothing fit, they still may not be sufficient to account for the variation in body shapes and sizes of all consumers. With fit sessions happening in various locations around the world and most production offshore, it is difficult to produce sufficient fit and also to communicate the issues and inconsistencies of the samples back to the supplier producing the garment. It is apparent that the lack of visual tools in the clothing industry presents challenges (reference?///?/?).
Visual tools such as videotaping have been used to assess fit for clothing studies. Kohn (1998) used a videotape method to assess the fit of women's jackets for 55 to 65 year olds. Schofield, (2006) also used a videotape method to analyse the fit of pants for women aged 55 and older. The fit of the pants was evaluated by wearer responses and additionally evaluation was conducted by professionals viewing videotapes of each participant in the pants.
Video and internet communication are used by clothing companies to assess the fit of samples on fit models or dress forms from various locations. Modaris 3D Fit, a virtual sampling and visualisation technique developed by Lectra, (2011) enables the process of three dimensional sampling into the development process reducing the time spent on development and sampling. The three dimensional avatars, fit models allow users to work closely on fit assessments, taking into account the physical characteristics of the fabric, and final analysis of styles. Clothing companies can implement this technology in various locations for improved communication with offshore suppliers.
Three dimensional body scans could be implemented for analysing fit, which could address the issues involved with other image techniques. The three dimensional body scanner is able to capture, visualise, and measure the body. However, models that are scanned wearing garments could also be useful as the three dimensional images enable the analysis of stress folds, and wrinkles occurring from tight or loose fit (Ashdown, 2007). Images for fit analysis must provide good resolution. With videotapes, video and internet communications, the images are of a low quality and can be difficult to assess. Three dimensional scanners are able to provide excellent images. The scanned image can be zoomed and rotated, and enables visualisation of the depth, origin, and stress folds around the body (Ashdown, 2007).
Additionally accurate measurements can be generated by three dimensional scans both along and across the scanned surface. The threee dimensional scanner offers new possibilities to quantify and assess fit. This can be done by overlaying scans made with and without clothing (Song, 2010). Calculations can then be made on the amount of ease from the linear distances between the body scan and clothed scan. Furthermore the scans can be used to provide a detailed objective analysis of fit.
Retailers have begun to realise the benefits of three dimensional scans in classifying body shapes and size provision. In 2001, Size UK, carried out a population size-survey using a three dimensional body scanner. Seventeen UK retailers took part in the survey, along with the UK government and selected academic institutions, with the aim of creating data required to develop more accurate size charts, and for improved fit of their products (Le Pechoux, 2002). However retailers were unaware of how to collate this data or how to use it (Le Pechoux, 2002). To improve the fit of their products high street retailers could use three dimensional scan data to classify their target consumers body proportions and body shape for the revision of their sizing systems.
Three dimensional scan data could also be used for assessing fit from three dimensional clothed scans for providing a more accurate sizing system. This could be assessed through fit trials whereby participants wear the best fitting size of a product from a retailer. The participants could be scanned in the clothing and fit at critical locations could be evaluated. This could then be used to assess the retailers current sixing system, to determine the size and areas to be revised based on the results of the fit assessments (Song, 2010).
Retailers normally fit sample garments in a single size, which the fit has been based on the body shape and proportions of their chosen fit model that reflects their target market. The sample size is then graded to produce a full range of sizes for their sizing system. However the full range of sizes in the system are rarely tested, with most retailers not knowing how their sizing fits their target market. Consumer perceptions of the problems associated with fit limited.
In general the shopping environment doesn't allow time for retailers to obtain fit data of consumers. This could be addressed by using three dimensional scans as a potential tool for fitting garments on target consumers. These could be placed in retail stores which would provide clothing technologists an opportunity to visualise the fit of their garments on target consumers.
3.3. Customer Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction/The Consumer's Problem with Fit
Communicating sizing to the customer
Put this here or customer sats and dis?Consumer's perceptions on external influences such as social messages of the ideal body, personal influences, body shape and physical dimensional fit can have an impact on the level of satisfaction associated with fit (Fan et al., 2004). Apeagyei, (2010) states that clothing is considered to be more than a basic human physiological need, self–image, social status, and lifestyle are many factors that influence the role of clothing. or call it consumer perceptions
How consumers classify themselves in shape against how they actually are?
There perceptions of fit…
The cost for retailers to attract new customers is expensive (Song, 2010). Therefore consumer loyalty is paramount for retailers. It is important for retailers to conduct customer research regularly. This ensures they continue to cater for their target market, and fulfil consumer expectations, to maintain brand loyalty. Poor fit and sizing inconsistencies among UK high street retailers have long been a cause of frustration for many female consumers, which leads to high levels of goods returned.
Beazley, (1997) defines target marketing as a decision based on predicting potential customer requirements through identifying the most common figure shapes. The clothing industry has a direct connection with how consumers perceive themselves (Connell, 2007). Individuals who have a negative view about their body would have an effect on how they perceive the fit of a garment and whether they are satisfied. Therefore it is difficult to differentiate between poor fit and poor self-image (Connell, 2007). Consumers perceptions of how they classify their shape against how they actually are, is an area to be addressed to achieve customer satisfaction.
Connell, (2006) researched into developing a set of scales for assessing female body shapes as visualised in body scans. Results developed a body shape sorting tool that could be applied through software to analyse body scan data.
Chittenden & Warren, (2010) further discuss that the inconsistency in sizing across styles and brands effects the perception in the consumer's minds. This leads to confusion among customers, and therefore retailers suffer higher return rates, reduced loyalty, and ultimately lower sales and profits (Le Pechoux, 2002).
3.4. The UK Retail Industry's Problem with Fit
Anthropometric measurements of people using body scans can determine where the measurement was taken and also the size and shape of the person. Scans can be used in CAD, to reduce guess work in body surface measurements. Fit mapping becomes possible, fit mapping is the study of how the body and the design interact, this is done by overlaying images of the person with and without clothes, to determine the gap or spaces inbetween, the spaces can be colour coded to allow rapid shape comparisons. From this you can go back and extract any measurement without recalling your customer, so scans can be used for things you haven't thought of yet.
It is apparent that body measurements and the relationship between them change with changing lifestyles, health, dietary habits, and growing population diversity. Subsequently the association between garment sizes and body measurements also change all the time. As a result, regular sizing surveys and analysis of measurements need to be conducted for the improvement of size provision. Body scanning technology continues to assist theory and better understanding of factors regarding human body measurement, size, shape, and body categorisation. For example body shape classification of different body shapes, testing of garments on body shapes for target market, in the validation and revision of a sizing system, and virtual analysis for sample making. Critical elements of ease, line, balance, set and grain can further be evaluated for improved garment size and fit.
Efficient sizing is crucial in garment production and requires validity and reliability of sizing systems through the use of anthropometric data. Variations in body shape and size can be assessed and grouped for targeted market consumers, which has become a driving force for retailers and manufacturers. Determining garment sizing is important for standardisation, labelling and stock management as size charts are a useful marketing tool and asset for clothing retailers.
3D body scanning is a valuable tool in capturing body size and shaoe, and serves to shift the focus of clothing provision from mass production to mass customisation. The scanner data enables retailers to rapidly collect 3D data on there target consumers for the provision of specified sizing and individualised garments. Body scanners will allow consumers to benefit from a modern form of custom tailoring through advanced design, production processes and the integration of related software.
Mass produced clothing will also be improved as a result of applying body scanning technology. Sizing systems can be adjusted for retailers through the use of anthropometric data captured by body scanners. 3D body scanning technology is currently viewed as the panacea for clothing provision for manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
Chapter 4. Methodology
This study aims to explore the issue of variation in sizing among UK high street retailers. A number of primary and secondary data collection methods will be employed in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of sizing issues within the eight retailers that will be selected.
4.1. Primary Research
Semi-structured, face to face interviews will be conducted in order to assess consumer's opinions (Kumar, 2005; Neuman, 2011). This will enable the researcher to evaluate consumer perceptions of size and fit in various UK high street retail stores. From this, the researcher will establish consumer perceptions of sizing variation. The researcher will also obtain and measure generic garments from eight UK high street retailers and compare the measurements, which will ascertain variations in garment measurements. The possibility of achieving good fit for different body shapes will also be tested which will determine body shapes within a single size.
Data collection methods will be conducted to obtain qualitative research data (Walliman, 2006). Semi-structured face to face interviews will be constructed to best address the objectives. A semi-structured interview process will enable the researcher to formulate a frame of questions both structured and raised whereby the participants could express their thoughts and knowledge into the questions asked (Kumar, 2005). Interview methods will give the researcher a detailed understanding of consumer's perceptions of size and fit available to them on the UK high street
The structure and types of questions asked will be important in obtaining the right information to be explored (Oppenheim, 2001). Therefore the design of the interview should be planned carefully. The interview and types of questions likely to be asked will be presented to interviewees to make them aware of the nature and principle of the research (Blumberg, 2008). The interviewee will feel more comfortable if the interviewer informs them of the process.
Both open and closed ended questions conducted to gather the required data. Open ended questions will allow the interviewees to express themselves (Bryman, 2008; Nueman, 2011). This will produce in-depth material about consumer's perceptions. Close ended questions could be conducted generating answers to specific questions such as asking the interviewee their body shape. The aims and objectives of the study will be explored by the interviews forming a logical progression (Kumar, 2005).
4.1.2. Interview Limitations
Interviews are often time consuming, therefore a plan should be created to accommodate the researcher and interviewees. The interviewees should also be made aware of the recommended time to complete the interviews. Dictaphones and video recordings could be used to record the interviews in an appropriate environment.
4.2. Garment Measurements
Need to determine what measurements and how will I ensure that they are all accurate a way or means by which they are all measured the same techniques how do I determine the hips etc…????
Comparative research will be conducted in order to assess variances in the eight UK women's wear high street retailers (Nueman, 2011). Measurements will be obtained of three basic wardrobe garments:
- Basic shirt
- Formal pair of trousers
- Basic dress
The measurements will then be compared. The high street retailers selected for this study are: Dorothy Perkins, H&M, New Look, River Island, Zara, Topshop, Next, and Warehouse. These retailers have been selected as their target consumers fit the age criteria of the study aimed at 18-35 year olds, and are classified as some of the UK's leading high street retailers, and are competitors of each other (Mintel, 2010). This will obtain data to compare of similar calibre. To determine the degree of variation the garments will be measured at landmark points, the bust, waist, and hip and this number of specimens will be used to highlight the variation in a consistent manner (Fink, 2003). Other measurements will be obtained to support and compare the variation. Physical differences in the dimensions of garments in particular the landmark points, are likely to arise from this research, which will also need to be compared to published size charts from the retailers. However this will not address consumer perceptions of size and fit or assess differences in body shapes within one size. Therefore fit assessments will need to be conducted.
4.3. Fit Assessments
Peebles,(ref??) it is useful to measure everyone, so the range of variability of a human attribute is usually predicted by measuring a random selection of people representative of the group we intend to design for (the target population) reword…
Fit trials will be carried out to determine differences in body shapes within a single size. Other researchers have applied these methods for similar studies (Simmons & Istook, 2004a). The trials will consist of ten participants individually trying on garments from eight separate women's wear UK high street retailers. Ten participants all sized 12will take part in the assessment, trying on the basic shirts, trousers, and dresses. Surveys will then be made on how they rated the fit of the garments, which will explore the participant's perceptions, and satisfaction, of the sizing and fit. A qualitative assessment will also be carried out to assess body shape and size with regard to the garments and their fit (Silverman, 2010). From these results the retailers will be assessed on overall satisfaction with the garment.
It is important to consider ethical issues regarding privacy of the participants involved in the assessment, therefore candidates would be photographed in the garments from the chin downwards, to conceal identities and remain anonymous.
4.3.1. Fit Assessment Limitations
Participants could be bias towards certain garments if the labels of the retailer are shown (Ashdown, 2007). In order to minimise preconceptions, participants would be asked to assess the garments primarily on how they perceived the fit, without relating this to previous experiences. Phenomenology is a method of obtaining qualitative research that examines the lived experiences of humans (Roger, 2008). The researcher could take a phenomenological approach, assessing and rating the fit of the garments from a qualitative point of view without any prejudice.
4.4. Secondary Research
A review of literature was conducted in order to establish variation in sizing among women's wear UK high street retailers and how differences in body shape classification has an impact on size provision and consumers perceptions. The literature review contains an analysis of previous studies in the area of size and fit. Information was attained from books, journals, newspapers, databases, and previous related papers. Secondary scan data of 100 women can be provided to support the work of identifying shape classifications. This information supports the objectives outlined.
4.5. Ethical Issues
In the verbal method of interviews, ethical issues will need to be addressed. The researcher will have an impact on the responses. Therefore it is important to address anonymity and confidentiality of the interviewees and the researcher. Informed consent of the interviewees is necessary and also ethical clearance obligations need to be accepted. It is also important to consider personal safety when carrying out the interviews. Before conducting the interview it is important to introduce the session and gain consent. On completion of the interview it is also important to affirm confidentiality and remind interviewees of how the information will be used.
When carrying out fit trials it is important to consider the ethical issues that may arise. Invasion of privacy is an issue that is important to consider in relation to the environment as well as to the participants taking part in the fit trial. Gaining consent from participants is crucial to addressing the problems, and assures confidentiality.
Chapter 5. Research
Chapter 6. Discussion
Chapter 7. Conclusion
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