Blog: Leonie BarrieEmbracing radical change in size and fit

Leonie Barrie | 16 March 2015

Fashion brands and retailers need to embrace “radical change” in their apparel sizing and fit strategies if they are to remain competitive in a changing environment, according to executives at a recent conference on the issue.

And while there’s no ‘quick fix’ to solving problems with size and fit - getting it right can save time, money and build customer loyalty.

Supermarket retailer Tesco has used 3D virtual fit and prototyping technology to cut lead times by one to two weeks on around one-third of the styles in its F&F clothing range – generating savings of between GBP20m and GBP40m (US$30-60m).

And new online Bra Fit Tool developed by Marks & Spencer has been used by 167,000 women since its launch last November, and is providing a tangible boost to sales. 

Fashion retailer H&M is to impose stricter requirements on the use of short-term, fixed duration contracts for workers at its supplier factories after acknowledging their use restricts worker rights.

Its decision follows last week’s publication of a new report claiming labour rights abuses are still rife in Cambodia’s garment factories, thanks to an inadequate and corrupt inspection system and widespread subcontracting by suppliers.

Bangladesh’s market share to the US is falling, but its apparel exports to the EU and elsewhere continues to rise. While the accepted wisdom is that the declines are the result of the Tazreen Fashion fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse, David Birnbaum suggests the data tells another story

It's no surprise that apparel imports into the US declined in January as the usual post-holiday lull this year coupled with near breaking point congestion at West Coast ports. But as shipments fell from six of the top-ten supplier countries, it was those further down the ranking - Honduras and El Salvador - that recorded stand-out performances during the month.  

The new Sri Lankan government has started negotiations with the European Union (EU) in a bid to re-secure membership of Europe’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) scheme. If successful, the move would see EU tariffs fall for Sri Lankan clothing and textile exports.

And the secretary of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) has told just-style it is unlikely that wage demands from striking clothing workers will be met.

German fashion house Hugo Boss, meanwhile, has denied claims made by union activists over its treatment of workers at a factory in Turkey.

And in other news, feedback is being sought on a new Fairtrade Textile Standard being developed to improve conditions for workers along the textile and garment supply chain; UK retailer Arcadia Group has sold its troubled department store chain BHS; and a US court has ruled that certain imported goods must comply with a stricter country of origin marking requirement when marks with a geographic reference are not properly trademarked.

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