Before some years there was no concept of readymade garments only custom made clothes were there. In economically backward families, the women of the family use to stitch the garments, and families from upper class get garments stitched by the tailors. The professional fit of the garment itself suggested the class differentiation.
But now-a-days sewing clothes at home have become more of a hobby and leisure activity and people prefer readymade garments and tailor made clothes. Buying ready-to-wear garments has become more economical than getting the clothes custom stitched. Since specially made clothes require more money and time as the tailor has to individually take measurements, do the designing and stitch garments.
The major breakthrough in garment manufacturing came during the starting of 20th century. The tailors instead of making customized clothes for their customers, began to grade the sizes, i. e. a set of standard sizes that would suit maximum number of people. However due to industrialization and invent of power looms the costs of ready-made garments were minimized.
The advent of ready-made clothing decreased the class differentiation prevailed due to the clothing of the masses. Although these ready-to-wear garments were better in fitting than custom-made clothes. When the tape measures were not invented, the tailors used to keep the body measurements of individual customers through strips of parchment. This was time consuming procedure, also was difficult to maintain.
In today’s world of technological advancements, apparel firms are resorting to various computer softwares in order to offer perfect fit and designs appropriate to individual thus customized clothing could be done with ease and without much expense.
The process of getting proper fitted clothes by feeding the details of body measurements in the computer which would let us know the garments from the entire store that could fit us perfectly, is known as ‘E-fit’. There are different types of e-fit methods used by different apparel firms to offer the customized fit and designs to their customers. In some branded jeans stores the customers could choose the styles, finishes, fabrics, seam lengths and leg opening sizes, further individual measurements are fed into the computer along with these details. Then the computer reflects the jeans from the entire stock of the store that would fit the customer. Thus, one can find exact fitting jeans of their choice. This data is kept in computer records so that next time it could be retrieved without wasting time.
The latest innovation in e-fit is offering the customized clothes through the medium of 3D body scanning. Here the 3D body scanner takes the body measurements of the customer, this detail is feeded into the computer, with the assistance of a trained sales person, which allows one to select the style, design, fabrics and fitting styles. Hence the customer gets perfect fit garments. The scan data and other information are stored in the computer for future orders.
The technology behind it
Many technologies like body scanning, bar codes, laser cutters and various web applications are being used by retailers for mass customization of garments. CAD/CAM and body scanning technologies facilitates in delivering clothes of desired fit and pattern to the customer. Advent of such innovative e-fit technology helps in getting clothes with accuracy and speed.
Self measurement done for internet shopping generally is not perfect, therefore 3D body scanning solves the drawbacks of self measurement. The result of this technology is accurate and flawless. The body scanning procedure is very fast, it takes about twelve seconds. Then it is shifted to the computer where the body measurements are generated by the software. The whole procedure is hardly of one minute.
CAD/CAM technology involves pre-production designing functions. Right from surface designing to pattern making, it does all the processes. The type of information used here is digital in nature. It provides the facility to create, change, file, save and use the patterns and measurements again. However the data is to stored in particular format in this technology.
A 3D body scanner consists of various components like -3D body measurement software, customized garment design system and virtual mirror software. This system does all the process of body scanning to virtually fitting the selected garment on the 3D image which is created on the computer. Then the customer’s information is stored into the computer in an organized manner.
To get e-fit measurement, the customer steps into the body scanner, take off his clothes and wear disposable undergarments. Then the beams of light are made to fall on the customer’s body which in turn creates a 3D image with all possible body measurements from all angles. This procedure takes only few seconds. Further the customer changes back his normal clothes and shops for the desirable garments, then the chosen garment is made virtually fit on the 3D image where the customer can see whether it would suit him/her or not and could check the fitting also. The data of the 3D body scan image is stored in the database of the computer so that it could be used for reordering.
The emergence of e-fit technology has made it possible to get customized fitted and patterned garments despite of the fact that there are enormous number of combinations of body types and measurements. The pattern developed through the automated pattern development software can be combined with the body measurement generated by the 3D body scan software. However proper fitting of complicated shaped human body through e-fit is also somewhat a difficult task.
The concept of e-fit is a new one in the field of retailing and garment merchandising. This technology is in its primitive stage but has started showing positive outcome. It is being predicted that in coming years e-fit technology would change the entire scenario of customized shopping experience of the customers. It saves time and resource wastage as there is no unnecessary trials and returns of the garments.
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