An interview with Stephanie Mnller, Division Manager Clothing Technology at Hohenstein Institute.
How can we explain the continuing problems with fit?
Stephanie Mnller (SM): Correct measurements alone are no guarantee of a good fit. Whether a garment is considered to fit properly depends on how it looks and feels on the wearers body. Key factors here are the cut, the fabrics used and their mass per unit area and weight per piece. This is why, when testing fit, our motto is People rather than dummies.
How does an item behave when the wearer sits down or bends over?
SM: You can only judge this on a person, not on a dummy, especially where the wearer can also say at once if the garment is too tight or cuts in somewhere. Thanks to their awareness of the critical points, our experienced clothing technicians are able to ask searching questions and assess the fit of the item in typical body positions.
With this in mind, some manufacturers work with their own house models - so how does fit testing at the Hohenstein Institute still offer added value?
SM: We dont just have one or two test subjects. Our database contains some 250 people of all shapes and sizes and of all ages who pretty much match the SizeGERMANY measurements. During testing we can call on "fitting" persons from this pool. This lets us, for example, not only check whether an item in size 10 fits as it is meant to but also find out whether it has an identical cut throughout all sizes of the available range. And we dont just test the fit when the garment is new, but also following care treatments.
And where were talking about target groups - many producers now no longer define these groups by age but according to lifestyle ...
SM: A mistake where fit is concerned! Even when our measurements remain the same, our body proportions, posture and personal clothing preferences undergo major changes in the course of life. Such age-related changes need to be taken into account in terms of cut.
If the fabric affects the fit, doesnt the cut have to be tried out in relation to the fabric and possibly adjusted?
SM: Thats right. The same pattern can turn out quite differently with another material, depending on whether it is for example a stiff fabric or one that is more flowing. Our fit testing programmes therefore particularly pay off for basic items that are produced from one fabric in high volumes. We have already managed to significantly reduce the level of complaints for a number of clients. The costs of these tests paid off very quickly - and the controllers at the companies were delighted about such return on investment (ROI). Incidentally, on 28 May we are staging a free 30- minute webinar about fit optimisation.