Alvanon has joined up the dots of its European body scan data

Alvanon has joined up the dots of its European body scan data

Retailers looking to expand across European markets are being provided with 'one size fits all' mannequins designed from scanning data collated across the region by sizing company Alvanon, whose clients include George, Lacoste, Levi's and Nike.

"We're the first people to put together a comprehensive overview of the European market from a body shape standpoint, and present it back as practical tools that anyone can use," Alvanon president Ed Gribbin tells just-style.

Scanning Europe
Alvanon's new EU standard fit mannequins are based on the company's 3D body scans of 50,000 people aged between 20 and 40 across France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK, together with data it has collected on 17 other markets.

Its latest studies have resulted in the design of a 'modified hour-glass' mannequin in men's sizes UK 36 (EU 46) to 46 and women's sizes 8 to 18 to cover the whole European market. Alvanon will also release EU forms up to women's size 30 this July.

"If you look back at size studies, each one was done on a specific country," Gribbin says. "While they offered a snapshot of individual countries, many of these retailers and brands were selling in a more diverse market.

"So if you're a brand selling across markets and you're based in France, are you going to let that French standard influence how you're selling things across Europe?"

Creating a standard shape
While scanning data gave Alvanon an outline for how its European forms would look, the company also had to analyse the current sizing approach of the continent's apparel retailers.

Gribbin says: "We wanted to see what the market was doing. We understand that you can't ask a brand to radically change their fit standard and expect to keep any customers. Fit is the primary reason for people to go back to their brand.

"We wanted to give the industry a way to move towards a more demographic European standard that will fit a higher percentage of people but still be very commercial, but not a radical change for most.

"We took the standard hour-glass shape that most people have and we modified it with one eye towards this compendium of data."

Alvanon currently builds 80-90% of its mannequins on a proprietary basis for specific brands. However, Gribbin tells just-style that its move towards standard industry solutions could lead to these representing half of its business within two years.

"If you're a small budding designer or a big global hypermarket, you can take advantage of this," he adds.

Janice Wang, co-founder and chief executive, is the daughter of Alvanon's founder Dr Kenneth Wang. She tells just-style there will always be customers who want to keep their own brand DNA and target fit, with much of the fashion industry remaining proprietary about fit.

"For some people this [pan-European fit] would not be right at all. We tailor-make our solution because we have to," Wang says.

Nevertheless, Alvanon has honed in on the need for international retailers to appeal to a wide cross-section of shoppers.

As Wang points out, the one size, or shape, model might not fit all, but a significant number of brands and retailers are asking Alvanon for that to be the case.