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Digital Tailoring Process: No measurements, no sizes; clothing simply designed & patterned specifically for your body.
The following slides are edited from a Pecha Kucha Night presentation in Rome during the Makerfaire Europe 2013.10.04 by Elizabeth and Luis Fraguada.
How many people wear clothing on a daily basis? How many people wear custom clothing made specifically for them? While the answer to the first question might be more or less affirmed by many, an affirmative answer to the second question might be reserved for a select few. This is because in the Western world, custom tailored garments are no longer the norm. Custom clothing is expensive, takes time to produce, and few people have the skill to produce clothing for themselves. In some Eastern countries this is not always the case and ‘off the rack’ clothing is more expensive than tailored clothing. That being said, the fact that most people wear clothes on a daily basis means this topic is worth exploring.
Once upon a time in the 1800’s, people had all of their clothing made for them, either by someone in their family or a local tailor. The industrial revolution drastically changed textile manufacturing and eventually serialized production promising efficiency in time and economy. In the early 1810’s, ‘ready-to-wear’ clothing (aka ‘off-the-rack’ or ‘off-the-peg’) became available for men, and later for women’s fashions.
But it is the humble sewing machine that really enabled this shift in how people acquired garments. Today there is much discussion about the new DIY revolution, fueled by the consumer, designer, and creator merging into one figure. 3D printing is touted as a big played in this revolution, allowing the creation of plastic and resin objects right on our desktops. But the sewing machine was the original game changer, enabling the production of standardized garments in mass.
Today, most ready to wear clothing is made by the millions in places such as this. Again, the promise of the revolution was efficiency in time and economy. Standardization would rule over customization.
And what of standardization? Since the industrial revolution several standard garment sizing systems have been attempted with little success. Above is an image from the EN 13402, the European standard for body sizing based on averaged measurements of human bodies.
Unfortunately, none of these standards have stuck, and each fashion house or brand chooses their own definition of sizes. In an illustration created by the New York Times, it can be seen that for the same type of garment, supposedly of the same size, different interpretations exist. What Dolce & Gabbana represent as a size 8 is different than H&M, and so on.
Furthermore, certain brands have introduced ‘vanity sizing’ in an attempt to cater to their client’s emotions. Brands will change the size numeration to something smaller with the hopes that if the client sees that they are a size smaller in their brand, they will feel better, and continue to be a patron. In some brands, what was a size 8 in 1950 is now a size 00. The actual dimensions of the body that size is meant to fit has not changed, just the numeric representation of that size.
Others had different visions of what the future will hold for the garment industry. Villemard in 1910 envisioned a tailor utilizing new technology to properly fit a client and quickly create suitable garments.