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Technology & Innovation

For Online Clothes Shoppers, A Virtual Tape Measure

A team of experts from various industries is working on software that will take your measurements via a camera or smartphone and use the data to help you find the right size when shopping online.

What’s the Latest Development?

Experts from the fashion, body-mapping, and Web design industries are working together on a Web-based system that uses body-mapping technology to provide highly accurate clothing measurements which can be used on retail sites to help a shopper find the right size of clothing. All the user has to do is take a photo of themselves, using software downloaded ahead of time, and enter their height. The software then calculates the appropriate measurements and feeds that data — not the photo; it remains confidential — back to the site, which recommends the proper size of item.

What’s the Big Idea?

Estimating the proper size and fit has always been a major problem in online shopping, resulting in extra costs and hassle. Philip Delamore of the London College of Fashion, one of the institutions participating in this project, says, “Currently, it’s common for online shoppers to order two or three different sizes of the same item of clothing at the same time, as they’re unsure which one will fit best.” Participating retail sites would include detailed information about their garments’ sizes, which the software would take into account when making recommendations. The system is expected to hit the market within the next two years.

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