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Speed to market is killing quality garment fit: Study

Fit has been an on-going issue in the apparel sector for decades but with a rise in online shopping, consumers are increasingly finding it difficult to find clothing that fits the first time around. Fast fashion too has contributed to fewer fit cycles and eliminated the human element in favour of virtual fit. As Andrea Kennedy of apparel industry publisher Fashiondex, said during a Texworld USA talk 94 per cent of fashion professionals surveyed for the study agree that garment fit is a problem at retail today.

Lead times of fast fashion in some cases is just two weeks. 75 per cent of respondents pointed to fast fashion fit issues. On an average, majority of companies are fitting two samples per style to maintain stringent timeframes and the consequences are obvious; around 68 per cent of their returned garments are because of fit issues.

Two decades ago, companies were fitting as many as four samples per style and fit issues were only seen in 30 per cent of returns. The survey revealed 40 per cent companies still use a professional fit model to fit their samples, 23 per cent make someone at the company who wears the sample size try it on, and 15 per cent just try it on themselves. Though 3-D virtual fit has been getting a good amount of press in recent years, only 2 per cent of those surveyed said they are using it. Most aren’t doing size run fittings anymore. They are fitting the sample size — and finalizing before perfecting it — then scaling up and down from there for the other sizes.

One problem, is that companies are often not making, fitting and correcting their samples all in the same place which often means DHL packages back and forth and expanding delivery times. Eighty-nine per cent of those Fashiondex surveyed said they’d be interested in a service that would permit them to complete the full fit process locally.