The perfect fit: How a custom size brand meets a custom size tech

Alice — Founder of PerfectDD

Let’s talk about body types. Standard and plus size, right? Wrong, there are so many more body types than these two categories! I’m narrow with a large chest. I wear size 2 / XS and 32DD bra. Many of you reading this may immediately think “boo hoo, you’re skinny with big boobs (eye roll).” I get it, but if you share a similar body type as me, the struggle is real to find clothes that fit. If the shoulder fits, the shirt pulls across my chest and if I size up to accommodate my chest, I look bigger than I am. I shared my frustrations with friends, and Thu, who has a different body type than mine, faces similar challenges! In a world full of options, why can’t we find clothes that fit?

Thu — Founder of TAILORU

I feel your agony and I sympathize, Alice! My body can be described as a pear shape — wide shoulder, small top (size S — 34AA), long torso, big bottom (size M). Ok, that sounds slightly weird, but that’s exactly my point — it shouldn’t be! If I were to listen to mainstream media and follow brand sizes, my body would not ‘fit’ an ideal image or proportion. But I take some comfort in the fact that the experience is moving from the customers fitting standard sizes to brands bringing the perfect fit to me. Very soon, they will have to conform to my standards.

Customization is the way of the future

Getting dressed should be easy. Fashion is a form of self expression and a celebration of every ‘body’.

Thankfully, consumer demands are shifting from mass and excess to seeking personalization and sustainability.

The Fashion and Apparel Industry Report prophesied that worldwide revenue expected to rise from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion by 2022 Source. This exponential growth brings a huge burden upon our planet as ill-fitting clothes becomes waste if it doesn’t make you look or feel good. More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States, and the amount has doubled over the last 20 years. Source. This amount is equivalent to putting about 7 million cars on U.S. streets. Who knows how many ozone layers that’s peeling off!

We could argue that this is just the sign of population growth, with world population hitting 8B (yes, the big B) in the near future. Of course, people would have to buy more clothes, however, the exponential waste formula is not that simple.

Besides population growth, the average person buys 60 percent more items of clothing every year and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago Source.

Mass retailers and fast fashion producers flood the market with low quality, cookie-cutter clothing that takes away from the craftsmanship of millions of artisans worldwide. We are losing the art of individuality and uniqueness.

Every time I go home to Asia, I witness yet another silk maker and embroiderer who left their craft to go work for a textile factory. Yes, everyone should be able to earn a living — but what are we doing wrong is requiring the best and most creative among us to turn into clocks of the same machine.

In 2018, I started TAILORU to provide ethically-sourced clothing made by international artisans for conscious customers in the U.S. For us, fit is an important ingredient because it infuses the love in each customer for the garment made uniquely for them. We set out to create customizable white silk shirts with embroidery, providing the perfect fit and personalization for each customer. The hope is for customers to buy less, purchasing only high quality garments that fit well and keep them for much longer. Like PerfectDD, a womenswear line for large chested women, we want our customers to have the perfect fit. And at the same time, artisans are able to preserve a craft they have perfected for generations.

Moving forward to 2020, our core mission is still to preserve the best craftsmanship and to enhance the human experience, though this time through the help of technology. We have spoken to many people and brands globally to understand how we can do this at scale and in turn create more opportunities for independent makers worldwide. One of the pioneers in this space is PerfectDD — Alice’s non-compromising vision to give every woman enhanced confidence through the perfect fit. Alas, through technology, we can offer this experience in the comfort of their homes. This may sound timely in the age of COVID-19 pandemic, however, we believe ease and convenience hold true for every modern woman with a packed diary.

TAILORU led to the inception of TAILOAR, an Augmented Reality app which allows anyone to measure themselves using their phone. No more appointments at the tailor — a simple, convenient way to capture your circumference for the perfect fit (arm length, chest, hips, etc).

The journey is as follows: Sophie sees PerfectDD and really loves the style and the empowering message that the brand exudes. She clicks on a style that she likes and is immediately led to a link to ‘Find Your Perfect Fit’. Within a few taps on the TAILOAR iPhone app, Sophie can reference her chest measurements to PerfectDD’s size chart to determine which size to buy. She can also send her measurements to PerfectDD for 1:1 customer service to help with her purchase. She receives the perfect fit a few days later.

Direct communication between the brand and the consumer is a must for a long lasting relationship. In a saturated market, service and personalization are key to creating loyalty. With the help of modern technology, communication is enhanced where data aids customer purchase and provides companies information for future design developments and inventory management.

As COVID-19 shifts businesses online and consumers remain anxious to shop in physical stores, retailers anticipate an increased demand for returns. Shoppers return 10 percent of what they buy in stores, but as much as 40 percent of what they buy online, with return rates on the higher end for fashion and apparel. Source The businesses that win will be the ones who are able to pivot quickly and adapt to the (physical and emotional) needs of customers in these ever changing times.

I am excited to partner with TAILOAR to provide personalized customer service from the convenience of their phone and mitigate wrong size returns!

And I can’t wait to help Alice and PerfectDD bring fit to every single women shape and size out there (starting with DD of course ;). We all deserve it, and together we can get there.

Throughout this trying time, if we can be of help to any of you, whether through our expertise or attentive emotional support — please do not hesitate to let us know.

Link to sites
PerfectDD is a womenswear brand for those who struggle to find fashionable styles that accommodate their DD+ chest. PerfectDD styles are classic, feminine and flirty with enough room for the ‘girls’ to feel confident and fully supported.

TAILORU is a technology platform that enables tailors and makers to do your best work. Our most recent innovation, TAILOAR, uses Augmented Reality to measure yourself comfortably at home, with a phone and not much more. Calling all tailors, makers, and fashion enthusiasts to sign up for early access

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This article is co-authored by Alice Kim. This article is also on Medium.

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