Body Data: The Missing Link in Product Design for Apparel Brands

Learn how your product & technical designers can gain a clear understanding of the body dimensions of your target shopper.

A recent study by WAIR revealed that 45% of apparel shoppers think brand offerings are not made for their body type. The same study revealed that only 10% of shoppers feel brands are consistent with their sizing strategy. These must seem like troubling numbers, but as body experts ourselves, WAIR understands how challenging the design process can be. 

While we are certainly living in an era teeming with innovation and technology, apparel design has remained somewhat rooted in the past. This is because contemporary designers have been left to rely (mostly) on anecdotal and speculative information during the creation process due to a lack of concrete information surrounding shopper body dimensions. 

However, as technology begins to cement its position within the apparel industry, designers are slowly gaining access to the critical body data insights that have eluded them for decades.      

What Makes the Current Product Design Process Ineffective?

A product design team member looking at a wall of sketches

To truly understand why body data is the integral missing link within the apparel design process, we must first understand how a garment is made. We can summarize the process in six steps:

A product design team is presented with a direct request (in the form of a brief) from management or a client to design a specific garment or collection. The brief will include traits such as style, sizing, and budget, alongside any limitations the designers must be wary of during the creation process.

After reviewing the brief, the design team will create a mood board, a compilation of inspiring elements that represent the aesthetic behind the product's design. The mood board is a critical vessel for designers to find interlinking themes, such as patterns and colors, that would sync up perfectly for the finished product. 

Upon gathering inspiration from the mood board, the designers will hit the sketchpad, looking to bring the requested product to life visually. This can be a considerably daunting and lengthy process, as the designers must factor in all the elements mentioned within the brief into this blueprint sketch which will ultimately become the first draft of the finished product. 

The next step is where the technical design team comes in. They will create a flat (or technical) sketch of the product, which will serve as the foundation for its construction and act as the final draft of the product's base design.

Once the technical design team is confident with their flat sketch, they will use it to create a tech pack for the garment. Tech packs include information about the garment's construction, colorways, materials, pattern grading, and of course, the intended fit of the garment. Determining the fit of the garment is a continuous process as the technical design team is constantly taking in feedback from customers and internal teams to determine if their base size pattern aligns with the target shopper's body dimensions. 

After the garment's tech pack has been finalized, a physical sample will be made to gauge the in-person look and feel of the product. The sample is evaluated by management, and the garment either will be approved or revisions will be requested, which requires entirely new samples to be created. Several rounds of revisions may (and often do) take place before the design is finally given the green light.

The Critical Missing Link in Apparel Product Design

A finger pushing a gear into place

As we can see, the contemporary apparel design process requires a tremendous amount of time and resources from beginning to end, and the potential to cause egregious amounts of waste during the sampling stage is also a considerably troubling aspect. 

These issues are mainly derived from a lack of data-backed decision making. Brands lack factual data on the body types of their core shopper base and are left to rely on anecdotal and incomplete information during some of the most critical stages of the design process.

For example, rather than creating the garment's tech pack based on internal feedback, what if your brand had access to body data from over 3 million shoppers across the globe? How vital would that information be in streamlining and refining this step?

The same could be said for the sampling process. Rather than delaying time to market and creating waste every time a revision is requested, what if your design teams could create a product with a clear understanding of how it would drape and fit the shopper before ever seeing a physical sample?

These scenarios are only made possible by integrating body data insights into the design process, and WAIR is the industry leader in this very field.

Solving the Product Design Equation with WAIR

Body data is the key factor in apparel product design

In addition to providing shoppers with seamless and personalized size recommendations, modern sizing solutions like WAIR are also rewriting the book on product design. While numerous tools in the eCommerce landscape claim to hold the holy grail solution for your team, here's what makes WAIR a little bit different.

WAIR has exclusive access to the world's largest and fastest-growing 3D body scan database. Our sister company Fit3D has deployed body scanners in health and wellness facilities across the globe which capture swaths of body scan data used to power WAIR's sizing algorithms. In addition to our vast and constantly growing database of over 2.75 million body scans, WAIR also captures shopper body data during the sizing process and relays this data into powerful dashboards for further analysis by brands.

Since WAIR can determine the exact body dimensions of any site visitor who uses our solutions, our insights give brands enhanced clarity into the true nature of their shopper's bodies. These insights include but are not limited to:

  • Body dimensions of buyers vs. non-buyers
  • Body dimensions of purchasers and returners
  • How these dimensions compare to your mannequins and pattern blocks

Armed with this previously unattainable information, design teams can now create products specifically for the body dimensions of their target market, eliminating the guesswork and condensing the lengthy design process into a more straightforward and efficient procedure. 

The Importance of Body Data Cannot Be Overstated

To quote Peter Sondergaard, Executive Advisor and contemporary business mogul, "Information is the oil of the 21st century." As apparel brands work to improve product design and shape their eCommerce strategy around the bodies of their shoppers, the importance of body data cannot be overstated. 

Are you ready to unlock your brand's full potential with WAIR? Schedule a demo here, and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook for all your fashion content needs!

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