Process of Developing fit

What is the size range of my brand?

Brands are a lot like people. They each have an aesthetic that matches a consumer's stylistic taste. Fit that they are usually really great at executing, and quality to value rate is in balance. As a consumer, it is important to know why a brand offers a certain amount of sizes available to consumers. For example, you are a company who wants to develop a brand that covers a size range that may need to be covered in the market. What are some essential questions you need to answer.......


  1. What is the size range I want to make?

  2. How much does it cost to execute R+D for sizes?

  3. What is the process to defining fit for basics?

  4. Is there a competitive need for the new brand?


The questions listed above are essential for the business plan. They are going to build into financials. So lets review each one of these questions and consider what the work looks like for each one.


Sizing and Finacials

I can usually know exactly how much I need to order to have the highest rate of sell-through. For example, bra companies see a high sell-through in bras with a small ribcage and larger cup. For example a 34DD has a larger need than a 36B. I know I may need to order 8% of my units in a 34DD out 17 sizes. Whereas I may order only 2% of my inventory in a 36B.


The charts below show the sizes carried within a sector or subdivision of the company.





Inform Consumers on why you only offer certain sizes.

Consumers are unaware of the work behind sizing and are frustrated by the size inclusivity of a brand. So being able to inform customers of why you limit sizes and a plan for growing the range is essential. It's also essential to inform the consumer of why you limit products in a size range. This helps create a transparent relationship with consumers while protecting you from attacking forms of media. If I know why a starter company hasn't offered a full-size range, I am more apt to visit them overtime to see new sizes.


The next area that also creates fit is the knee structures. The angling of the leg are really important for how a pattern is balanced. It also can be an essential aspect of what textiles are picked and how the pattern needs to be cut. For example, denim that has a looser weave may see torque problems when sewn together and fitted. By drafting patterns and using the potential production textile, we are better able to create directions that will impact the end product. This is a trial and error process.

Developing sizes relies on the process your team uses to define fit. Usually, the brand fit process is based on measuring many people, images of body collected, 3D scans, and more. This is then used to define style/fit groups. For example, a brand like the GAP was known for chinos and denim fit. They focused pattern makers and technical designers on pant fit. After measuring large groups of people they would look at the rise, inseams, hip structure, and leg structure. Findings and data would then be used to set up distinct fit needs.

Part of the reason is that Americans have not had a proper increase in pay to compensate for the increased price of consumables. Let's face it, not all people can afford a designer pair of jeans. This is why target market research is so essential. will have a different structure. The opposite of sway-back tilt would be an anterior tilt. The anterior has a longer back rise and shorter front rise.



The next area that also creates fit is the knee structures. The angling of the leg are really important for how a pattern is balanced. It also can be an essential aspect to what textiles are picked and how the pattern needs to be cut. For example, denim that has a looser weave may see torque problems when sewn together and fitted. By drafting patterns and using the potential production textile, we are better able to create directions that will impact the end product. This is a trial and error process.



If a company measures people in all size fit groups, we have a better ability to know how we should buy inventory. This process requires many hours of data collection, pattern drafting for blocks, and refitting potential ideas. In the end, it is costly to create a great fit and extend size ranges as needed. A form for one size is anywhere from $500-$1200. Developing a pattern and grading that is successful can be a few thousand dollars. This is why knowing the range is an essential part of business planning for any company. Thinking that it is an easy 1 step process is something to avoid thinking. Fit investment usually will always be a return of investment to your brand.

Part of the reason is that Americans have not had a proper increase in pay to compensate for increased price of consumables. Let's face it, not all people can afford a designer pair of jeans. This is why target market research is so essential.


What is a block?


Blocks are an essential part of pattern drafting. We use them to create other products withing that fit range. For example, I may use a curvy block we developed for a pant. With summer coming we want to create a pair of shorts with the same fit. I will use the blocks to make the hip and rise sit the same, then adjust the legs to reflect the needs of the style.

Pattern drafting is full sets of body information that will mathematically fulfill the needs of fit, and esthetics. It is an algebraic and geometry-based process. If a pattern is poorly done or executed in a sloppy manner, then the fit will be bad. Everything begins with a pattern.



Why is pattern drafting expensive?

Pattern drafting is full sets of mathematically questions developed to meet fit, and esthetic needs. It is a algebraic and geometry-based process. If a pattern is poorly done or executed in a sloppy manner, then the fit will be bad. Everything begins with a pattern.



Tacking Inventory benefits size and fit needs

The image below shows the inventory of a company that is moderate in size. They have been in the market for decades, but they don't go crazy with an inventory. The product is quality-driven, but also fits really well. This is how they breakdown inventory by style and size. The charts below help define where our money is going to perform the best.






In the chart, we want to look at what taking up less than 3% of inventory but has a number of SKU on file. Petite Jackets has 23 styles on hand and is selling less than 3% of my overall inventory. This may let a merchandiser know that we need to narrow the styles available in this group. Plus skirts are another area that can have a few styles cut. Overtime these charts serve companies when they need to adjust budgets and spend less money, but have a higher ROI. Growing slowly provides this type of data. In this case the company has 7% of the sales of merchandise sitting at a full loss of income. It can always be smaller by making the right choice on fit, size range, and styles.


Overall the fit you want to provide consumers is a marker of quality. It is one of the # 1 reasons for returns, and a highly controllable activity that companies can adjust. The more we share with consumers the better. Feedback will also be more direct as they understand some struggles. We must also be asking consumers to share their bodies with us to achieve better fit over time.


If you have questions on fit please reach out.




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