The statistics regarding return rates of online clothing purchases are pretty staggering but the reality of the importance of online shopping is such that they need to be addressed. The biggest obstacle is fit; when shopping in a store, you can try a garment on, even in several different sizes, and judge the fit before you buy. Shopping online is a crap-shoot; even if you know your usual size in garments, the garment you are looking at is not guaranteed to fit the way you like it. We had several presentations on the advances in scanning technology which can accurately scan a person's body and provide enough information to suggest what could be, technically speaking, a correct fit, but this does not account for one important variable, which is personal preference. What may be way too tight to one person could be too loose to the next, and scanning technology alone can not take these considerations into account.
True Fit is an attempt to address this issue. In alliance with a given retailer, they will partner with all the retailer's vendors; I am currently working on this project with them at Hart Schaffner Marx. I provide all the measurement data of the models which the retailer will be carrying and True Fit inputs this information into their database, which will be cross-referenced to every other garment in that category. When shopping on the retailer's web site, the shopper will be asked to input some basic body measurements, but also is asked to provide information about their favorite garment already hanging in their closet, and this is where the element of personal preference can be, to some degree, addressed.
Let's say you have a suit by brand X, in style Y, size Z. You enter this information in the dialog box on the retailer's website; it doesn't have to be a garment carried by that retailer, as long as that garment's specs have been provided by its maker at some point. True Fit will cross-reference all the data it has on all the other garments carried by that retailer and then make a suggestion of cut and size that most resemble what you have indicated that you already have and like. In initial trials it has slashed return rates enormously, which is good for customers and retailers alike, and is a very interesting development for the industry. I'll be keeping you informed on how this progresses.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
190 people from around the world attended the four day IACDE event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston. Simultaneous translation was a must.
We had factory tours of the Jospeh Abboud plant (shown) and the brand-new Southwick/ Brooks Brothers plant.
The president of the IACDE, Joachim Hensch of Hugo Boss opened a series of excellent presentations and discussions on e-retailing and digitizing fit.
Jessica Murphy, co-founder of True Fit Corporation, explained how their analysis tools could help online shoppers find correct sizing more easily.
Thierry Moncoutié of Lectra S.A. talked about 3D visualization in garment creation. We are duly chastised with the statistic that 62% of consumers are unhappy with the fit of their clothes.
Alvanon presented some of their ideas about e-retailing and mass customization of fit.
A panel discussion, moderated by Karen Alberg Grossman, Editor in Chief of MR magazine on the impact of e-retailing on brick-and-mortar retail stores. Contributing were Joseph Abboud himself, Roxy Starr, EVP of Design Development at Fast Fit 360, Jared Blank, e-commerce at Tommy Hilfiger and Raj Sareen, founder and CEO of Styku.
We started an outreach/internship program last year to sponsor and encourage young talent, with participation from U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan. This young "task force" made some interesting recommendations during their presentation to the group, so we challenged them to implement some of these changes and gave them a surprise budget of $10,000 to work with.
Networking is always an important aspect of these gatherings.
Benjamin Cohen of S. Cohen speaks with Kyle Vucko of Indochino
Anthony Sapienza with Joseph Abboud and Dragan Udovicic of Men's Wearhouse
Roxy Starr with Adriano di Quinzio of Brioni.
And our formal event is always fun. We cruised Boston harbor with dinner and a live band for dancing.
Anthony Sapienza, Me, Dr. Heino Freudenberg of Freudenberg Group, and Alan Abramowicz, co-president of Samuelsohn.
Members of the Japanese chapter in beautiful traditional dress.
The Indochino boys, Heikal Gani and Kykle Vucko with me, Enza Sturino, owner of Intermforme Interlinings and Roxy Starr.
I am thinking of putting an informal gathering together for people in Chicago who wight be interested in the group, which would include a possible way of gaining membership in the organization. If you are interested and in the Chicago are let me know. Of course, if you are located anywhere else in the world and are interested, I can certainly point you to a local chapter.
These photos were all shot by David Fox, photographer.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Just got back from my Boston trip. It was a really great time and I'll be posting in more detail soon but I thought I'd put up a few pics for now.
Lodovico Zandegu from Boglioli, Karen Alberg-Grossman from MR Magazine and me.
And before anyone yells at me for wearing a notch lapel tuxedo, my old one doesn't fit anymore so I had to take one out of stock and we didn't have any peaks in my size.
Karen moderating a panel discussion including my former Chief Creative Officer, Joseph Abboud.
McKinsey Associates discussing the effect the internet has been having on the clothing business.
The founders of Indochino, Kyle Vucko and Heikal Gani with Anthony Sapienza, CEO of Joseph Abboud Apparel, and Enza Sturino from Interforme Interlinings.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The explosion of e-commerce sites has created a dilemma of how to address fit in a virtual environment. The focus of next week's convention of the International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives will be on this subject and I am sure I will have lots to report when I get back. One thing I will bring to readers now is that the methods of measuring garments used by sites like e-bay are driven by sportswear so the terminology used and the actual methods are different than those commonly used in the tailored clothing industry, so if you are only familiar with e-bay or Styleforum conventions, you may end up confused when talking to a tailor or a manufacturer.
Below is a guide to the terms and methods typically used by tailored clothing manufacturers- some may vary slightly, like the exact level of the knee, but these are pretty much standards.