Imagine walking into a clothing store and finding the garment which fits you perfectly, as opposed to trying different sizes and making-do with whatever is available in the store. Imagine it works for you regardless of your body type and height.
For a long time, Indians have suffered vis-a-vis the size of clothes, which varies from store to store. The absence of a standardised size chart for India in the ready-to-wear clothing sector has been a cause for concern for Indian shoppers.
But, all that is about to change. An Indian Express report states that in order to do away shoppers’ confusion, an India size survey — titled INDIAsize — has officially been launched Thursday. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Textiles and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), and its aim — as mentioned earlier — is to introduce a new standardised size chart for India.
The INDIAsize survey, an extensive anthropometric research study to develop a comprehensive body size chart for the Indian population, by @NIFTNewDelhi, under aegis of @TexMinIndia, was launched by Sh. U.P. Singh, Secretary (Textiles). #textiles pic.twitter.com/EmlBFwhDAo
— Ministry of Textiles (@TexMinIndia) August 27, 2021
We reached out to designers to gauge their reactions and understand what they think of this. Here’s what they said.
Designer Manish Malhotra said he is “glad” about this “positive shift in transforming the view of Indian sizing”. “This enables not only the fashion industry, but also couture consumers to be more experimental and imaginative while embracing their Indian body types. We come from a proud heritage of textiles with age-old craft and culture of work, which has played a vital role in the world of fashion globally. The INDIAsize chart will gain its own recognition, which is a good step up for our industry.”
Agreed designer Leena Singh of Ashima-Leena, who said there couldn’t have been a better initiative. “Having worked in the international market for years, we always got stuck when it came to the size chart; it differed for every country. So, to convert US, UK size into our own was a challenge. My heartiest congratulations to NIFT and the Ministry of Textiles.
“I think with this, we could take a big leap with our exports, because if we have a standard sizing, it will really help us in business, and also [take away the] confusion. It is a practical thing which should have been done long back.”
While this project was announced in February 2019, it got delayed because of the pandemic.
On her part, designer Shruti Sancheti commented saying “every continent has a size chart as body types from region to region differ”. “We have a US or a UK size chart, but nothing for the subcontinent, so it is a welcome and a much-needed move. It will help to prevent the major fitting issues which were faced when Indians had to wear a size meant for another culture and their sizes. Also it will help people to locate their sizes easily and not be confused which might help ready-to-wear business,” she told this outlet.
Aniket Satam from Pinkporcupines told this outlet that India is too diverse a country and anatomically very different. “We are indeed an emerging market. The late fashion maestro Wendell Rodricks had envisioned and curated this chart long back, and was kind enough to share with the whole fraternity. And this happened recently, and we followed these size dimensions and it worked for us greatly.”
The new sizing chart, it is understood, will have a size identification number, which will be created by mapping, categorisation and defining of the body size and type. Currently, only about 18 countries have their own sizing charts.
Prachi Saraf, founder of Vyusti, a sustainable premium handloom brand, told indianexpress.com that the biggest challenge of getting a standardised size is that every fabric fits differently. “When you wear a georgette, or when you wear a silk, the fittings for both are very different. And every body structure is also different. So, while a consumer does pick up a product in a fast-fashion store, a lot of them do not know what fabric it is and how it would look on them. And now, in the pandemic, people are purchasing online. Every fashion brand has size specifications, too.
“I think the most ideal way to get a uniform size is to first bifurcate tall, petite and regular. We should have a standardised format, so that the shopper knows if they go to a store (of any brand), they can get the same thing in their particular size — that is the first step before moving to body-specific sizes, because that is tricky,” she said.
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