Guest Blog by Andy McGlashan, Principal Consultant at Blom.
‘High Hip’, ‘Hem Line’ and ‘Crotch Point’ are all terms which have been distinctly absent from my career in the Geospatial industry until now. Yet they are all terms which over the past year I have had to learn and use without breaking down into schoolboy tittering when talking about one of Blom’s new endeavours.
A simple question: Ask your wife, girlfriend, mum, sister or better half if the clothes they are wearing fit. I guarantee the majority of women will either say no, they were hard to find or were very expensive. Or all of the above!
The reason: Most garments, especially those available from the high street, are based upon a single model size and then simply scaled up or down to generate all the other sizes. When put like this it becomes obvious that unless all women are based upon that single model and scaled up, or down, then the garments will not fit. As we all know every woman is unique! Everyone’s body shape is different and therefore the only way to get a truly fitting garment is to make it bespoke.
So how do you make a unique garment for a unique individual that fits you ask?
The answer: Until recently the only method was to go to a tailor and pay for a bespoke garment; an expensive option, which the majority of us will never enjoy. However, with the advance in scanning technology it is now possible to create a 3D model of a person’s body accurately, rapidly and without standing naked while a couple of strangers run what looks like a contraption from a Star Trek film around you. Couple this with the ability to work with dense 3D point clouds, automation of 3D to 2D CAD techniques and digital pattern cutting systems and you have a cheap alternative to a tailor. This is not a replacement for the skill and experience of a tailor, but a method of providing standard garment designs that fit an individual without the cost of a tailor.
So why have I had to grow up and unlearn my schoolboy habits? Blom have partnered with a company called Tailored For You to win a UK government backed Technology Strategy Board fund to automate the production of a series of garment patterns from 3D body scans and I get to manage the development.
The aim is to provide a service where a woman can get her body scanned, pick a garment design she likes, the pattern is then automatically created, sent to the manufacturer, returned two weeks later and it fits. No trying on different sizes and no trawling around the shops on a Saturday afternoon looking for the size that does not fit; hooray say the male readers!
The benefits are not just providing a quick and easy method of creating women’s garments that fit. Stores will no longer have to stock multiple samples of every type and size of garment. All they need is a sample garment and a scanning booth, drastically reducing floor space costs; a significant cost in any high street store, which are in decline . With the rise in internet shopping, which has been embraced by UK consumers more than any other country in Europe, all that is required is an online order process where you upload your body scan with your garment selection and payment details.
The project, which launched in March, will over the course of the next fifteen month’s develop the process to create a series of standard garment designs from 3D scanned body models. During that time we will be targeting garments that form the basics of any women’s wardrobe – so I am told:
- Straight Skirt
- Smart Trousers
- Smart Jacket
Over the fifteen months I will be posting a series of updates on the progress and maybe even the odd video illustrating some of the complexities of working with 3D body models and generating garments and 2D patterns from them.
So to the final question: Have I grown up and stopped sniggering every time I talk about curves? Of course not, where would be the fun in that.