Blog: Leonie BarrieFitting forms

Leonie Barrie | 31 May 2006

Sometimes the best ideas are also the most simple. Take Shapely Shadow’s real flesh-like mannequins on show at this month’s IMB exhibition; for obvious reasons they attracted a lot of attention on the company’s stand but, jokes aside, a brilliantly simple way of helping lingerie and swimsuit designers see if their garments actually fit a body that not only has lumps and bumps but also has to contend with the effects of gravity too.

In other words you can see the result of the fit on the skin as if it were real. Imagine being able to see the underwire of the bra you’re fitting stick into the form. Or indentations where the straps dig into the flesh. Or panty elastic that’s too tight across the hip. If it applies pressure to the form, it will apply pressure to the customer – and anything that helps to make garments more comfortable and better-fitting has to be good news for us all.

It also strikes me that despite a plethora of new developments in 3D visualisation tools, there will always be a need for more traditional forms to help designers and manufacturers test their samples and fits. But even the old-style rigid papier maché models are being dragged into the 21st Century – and about time too. Shapely Shadow’s lifelike mannequins and also Alva Products’ fit models that use a combination of body scanning and precision manufacturing so that all forms supplied to a single customer fall within a ¼ inch tolerance are showing how it’s done.

'Real' human forms


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