Every day, there are tasks once performed by humans that are taken over by computers. The mundane. The overly complicated. The time consuming. The simple. Whichever your descriptive adjective, there is no doubt machines are changing and improving the lives of teams across all industries. Taking a measurement of a physical object is one such task. AI and computer vision technologies are now used to measure objects from mountains to surgical screws. The apparel industry is no different. Innovation is creeping in and replacing one of the most time consuming, mundane tasks in the industry. Garment measuring. There is a virtual garment measuring app now available. Anyone can use it, all you need is your mobile device. No special training needed.
Problems With Measuring Clothes By Hand
Right now, at apparel companies all over the world, there are teams of people measuring apparel by hand. It’s been done this way since clothing was created. Although this is the way, we know any time the human hand is in play we open the door for error. This is of course where we get the term human error.
Stretching and Bunching
Let’s take a look at how we humans measure the waist on a pair of pants. Technical designers and quality teams lay the garment flat, line up the front and back waist, then pull the edges of the waist taught so they make a straight line. This action makes the waist easier to measure, yet this act has errors built in. Pulling or stretching cloth is cause for error. For most bottoms, when placed flat in their natural lying position, the waist will form a shallow “U” shape. It’s hard for humans to measure a non rigid object along a curve, so the norm is to alight the waist in a straight line.
This being said, with a pair of selvedge jeans, stretching and bunching issues are minimal because of the nature of the fabric. A pair of sweatpants or knit sweater on the other hand are much more error prone. We’ve seen the error tolerance at some retailers be a high as 3/4 of an inch on the half. The industry is full of scenarios like this, and we only imagine it wreaks havoc for consumers and sizing.
Measuring clothing is a necessary evil. It’s needed at all phases of the supply chain from product design to resale. The issue is it’s extremely time consuming. On average, it takes a person 4 minutes to measure an entire shirt and input the data into a computer system. That’s with a relatively simple garment and moving quickly.
No Global Standard
We’ve been in meetings with investors who have asked if measuring or garment sizing will ever be standardized across the globe. The answer is an emphatic no. The reasons are many, but this is also why there is a lot of error built into the clothes measuring process. Also, garment factories generally produce clothing for multiple brands. The same teams must learn the measure methods of the various brands and perform the tasks as fast as they can every day (we know, we’ve visited a factory in Guatemala). Do you think this process allows error to be introduced?
How Does Virtual Garment Measuring Work
Tailored is the company behind the unique virtual garment measuring system named Capture. They designed the system to assist apparel retailers with improving efficiency and accuracy when measuring. With the apparel industry valued at over $1 trillion and billions of garments manufactured each year, minutes and errors add up to real money real fast.
How Capture Measures
Capture is designed to measure a garment in its naturally lying position. With each clothing retailer assigning their own measurement style, or points of measure, Capture is also fully customizable. Points of measure can be added, adjusted or taken away as needed.
Today, business happens at warp speed. Automation is king and improving supply chain efficiency is top of mind for many c-suite execs. Capture combines modern AI and computer vision with easy to use web applications so retail and eCommerce teams can perform garment analysis quickly. Additionally, because it’s instant, teams at a warehouse in North Carolina can photograph a garment for their team in Los Angels and provide instant feedback.
How To Add Virtual Measuring Software To You Workflow
Currently Capture is offered to retailers and resellers as a simple web app (reach out to us for more info). As long as you have a mobile device that has access to the internet you can use Capture. In addition to the web app, there is a business card sized object which must appear in the photo (see below). Because the photo taker is not required to be any distance from the garment, this object gives the Capture system scale.
Big Names Have Tried It
To prove the Capture garment measuring software would be in demand, Tailored trialed early with big name companies. Levi Strauss, Abercrombie & Fitch, Goodwill, and Stitch Fix to name a few. Additionally, Tailored continues to receive emails weekly from companies all over the globe interested in utilizing the tech in their businesses.
Tailored still considers itself a young startup with a long, exciting road ahead. They are proving by trading in the old style of hand measuring for its patented method of digital measuring, teams can get back 80 percent of their time. Time is one of the most valuable resources we have, do don’t spend it on mundane, manual tasks when there are machines out there that can help.