By Lloyd Alter, TreeHugger
Like the famous dog: on the internet, nobody knows you’re short. But I am, and have a lot of trouble buying clothing; almost nobody stocks my size. This may not be a problem for long; body scanners have been installed in 70 malls in the US that measure your dimensions and then tell you which shop has clothing that fits, and which size and styles will fit best.
“The Intellifit Virtual Fitting Room is a high-accuracy scanner utilizing low-emitting radio waves to capture 200,000 points of data on a fully clothed individual in less than 20 seconds. It includes a high-volume transaction server to store a customer’s shopping profile and body measurement information.”
Right now they are using it to bring people into the mall, but ultimately this might actually kill the place. Think of all the inventory in a Gap store, the stack of jeans made in Bangladesh or Vietnam in so many different sizes that pretty much sit there until the season is over and they get discounted. What if, instead, I picked my style and sent my dimensions to a local shop that manufactured them to order, to exactly my size? It’s the end of inventory and waste.
According to the Financial Times, it could be a revolution.
“We’re right on the cusp,” says Andy Dunn of Bonobos, an online clothing store. “All the ingredients are in the pot, but no one’s cooked it up yet into a disruptive force.”
For those who are not enthusiastic about getting zapped with microwaves in a body scanner in a mall, a German startup, UpCloud, claims that they can do it with the webcam on your computer.
So why is this green? There is so much waste in the clothing industry, so much inventory needed to cover the range of sizes. While one could take measurements conventionally with a tape measure, that can be a bit subjective and possibly less accurate. Surely with this kind of data, it would make sense to set up mass customization, so that, like back in the day of custom tailors, our clothes are made to order and on demand. And I can finally get a pair of pants that fit.
Photo Credit: Unique Solutions