Technology meets the tape measure.
That’s the essence of Fashion Metric, founded by Daina Burnes Linton to solve problems associated with the fitting of clothing.
Fashion Metric’s products can map consumers’ body measurements to brands’ garment data to cut down on costly returns. It can also help brands personalize the online apparel shopping experience.
Burnes Linton, who comes from a long line of master tailors stretching back to Lithuania and Germany and, more recently, Canada, has a background in engineering and data science.
She recognized the commercial potential of technology that would remove some of the risk factors inherent in measurements.
Citing the 30 percent annual return rate for online apparel, 80 percent of which is due to sizing issues, Burnes Linton said about $12 billion worth of merchandise is returned to retailers annually.
“People want to shop online, but the lack of standardization in ready-to-wear sizing is a huge problem,” she said. “With ready-to-wear sizing, S, M, L and XL, there’s no sizing standardization for patterns. It affects retailers’ margins.”
Burnes Linton, who did research at MIT and UCLA, began in 2012 to build mathematic algorithms and machine-learning technology that could identify different body types. She identified 50 different body types and collected measurements, body shapes and sizes, building up what she said is one of the largest data bases in the world.
“I wanted to predict [a consumer’s] body measurements in an automated way without actually using a measuring tape,” she said. “This recalculates a shopper’s body measurements and removes some of the risk factors inherent in measurements.
Fashion Metric’s Virtual Sizer takes core body measurement predictions and maps them to the physical specifications of a rtw garment.
Virtual Tailor, designed for custom clothiers, addresses sizing issues from a tailoring perspective. Burnes Linton said it can predict shopper’s detailed body measurements based on height, weight, bra size, shoe size and other metrics entered into the program online.
Burnes Linton said Fashion Metric’s back-end technology has been utilized by e-commerce sites such as Borrowing Magnolia, which sells wedding dresses, Pacific Issue, custom men’s shirting, and Blank Label, which produces custom chinos.
The technology can be incorporated into clients’ Web sites and used several ways. “Consumers can visit a brand’s Web site and say, ‘Show me everything in a size small’ or ‘Show me everything that would fit my body shape,’” she said.