Future of Fitting



London College of Fashion, University of Arts, London







The Challenge

Having to try on clothes in store can be an inconvenience for shoppers, and equally, it is disappointing when garments bought either online or offline turn out to be the incorrect size. Retailers typically report a returns rate of 20%-40%, and a number of new digital fit innovations have proved successful in reducing this rate. That said, current virtual fit experiences have mostly been created to solve relatively minor problems, like bespoke fit for a tailor. Additionally, the accuracy and time it takes to record digital data is often similar to more traditional measuring methods, offering limited obvious benefits and the market use case needs better understanding to ensure adoption.  Furthermore, virtual fit relies on multiple vendors, with multiple solutions, and for disparate market segments. There is limited shared data, limited cross innovation, and a limited understanding of applications to the consumer or B2B market.

On a practical level, early versions of virtual fit solutions seen in retail have been intrusive, time-consuming, and expensive. Retailers often find it difficult to capture and maintain the data required by the fit application, especially due to the regularity of stock updates. Although the use of sizing tools can make the consumer more confident in their purchasing decisions, it is both difficult for the retailer to measure success as virtual fit solutions don't necessarily lead to an immediate purchase. Because there is ambiguity in measuring long-term success rates, widespread adoption is yet to be achieved.

There is significant opportunity for innovation across the virtual fit landscape, from retail to consumer, online and offline. This challenge, set in partnership with the London College of Fashion, UAL, seeks solutions that will optimise the fitting experience.

The winning solution must address one of more of the following:

  • Improving metadata to increase adoption across the sector; to enable retailers to measure the success of the tool; and demonstrate the value in continuing to capture and store data.
  • Exploring body data and identity, so that the consumer doesn't need to be re-scanned numerous times, but data can be shared and solutions optimised. This could include ways of building a personal profile, and/or enabling the user to carry the data with them, whist improving levels of security and privacy.
  • Improving accuracy through the use of new technologies and approaches, including the cloud, big data applications and algorithms for sizing recommendations; as well as physically gathering measurements utilizing new technologies such as 3D scanning cameras.
  • Providing a real-time and truly interactive virtual fit experience.
  • Scoping out wider applications and uses for virtual fit, such as health opportunities.  

The London College of Fashion, UAL has recently opened a new Digital Anthropology Lab with a suite of technology, collaborators and research experts to solve challenges and re-imagine the future of fashion and retail. The successful company will have the opportunity to trial their technology with the London College of Fashion, UAL for a minimum period of three months before being commercialized more widely. This may include access to the lab and body scanning equipment; sector knowledge and expertise; knowledge of key players to help source collaborative development and knowledge transfer; insight into tested and recorded research on current landscape of virtual fit solutions; and an established network of users, testers and partners in this space, including leading retailers who may wish to trial the successful solution. 


About London College of Fashion, UAL

London College of Fashion, UAL is a world leader in fashion design, media and business education. In boundary-pushing research: where fashion intersects with science, engineering, technology. And in enterprise: where they partner with top brands and help launch exciting new businesses.

They have been nurturing creative talent for over a century, offering courses in all things fashion. Across every subject, they encourage our students to examine the past and challenge the present and to have their own ideas. London College of Fashion, UAL gives students the skills, opportunities – and above all, the freedom – to put those ideas into practice. With their support, students find their own styles and voices. Then use them to improve the way we live, and transform the future.

Learn more: http://www.arts.ac.uk/fashion/about/


About the Digital Anthropology Lab

The Digital Anthropology Lab, London College of Fashion, UAL experiments with artefacts, communities, consumption and making in the digital space, using 3D printing, body scanning, code and electronics. They focus on an experimental approach to digital anthropology, allowing them to practically examine future ways in which digital collides with the human experience. They connect commercial partners to leading research academics and graduate students, exploring seed ideas for fashion tech.


Learn more: http://www.digital-anthropology-lab.com

Awards: 5 x £35,000

Briefing Event: 21 January

Contest Brief

Guidance for Applicants

Deadline: noon Tuesday 23 February 2016