Several years ago I was at a mall near Atlanta and they had a glass booth near the food court and with some high energy guys/gals offering body scans to help you shop for clothes. At that point in time I didn’t know much about 3D scanning, but it was free, so I figured what the heck. It was done by a company called Me-Ality on what is called a Me-Ality Size-Matching Station. I just stood still for a few seconds while the machine scanned 200,000 points on my body and then spit out a printout full of information. For starters it nailed my waist and inseam, but what it also did was give me a list of specific styles and cuts that would look best on me from over 150 brands. I went to a couple of stores, grabbed the styles it suggested and headed to the fitting rooms. Its picks were perfect and I walked out that day with a couple of new pairs of jeans I wasn’t exactly shopping for because the fit was too good to pass up.
We’ve all had that experience, we get 5 pairs of jeans in the same color and same size, but only one looks great. That’s because two numbers like “size 34×34 jeans” for men or one number like “size 8 dress” for women can’t account for all the differences in proportions and dimensions people of the same “size” might have. The ability to be matched on more than 1-2 numbers sounds like a win-win-win for the consumer, clothing maker and Me-Ality!
Imagine getting that perfect fit in that difficult item in minutes rather than hours. For women it might be a dress, jeans or pair of shoes or for men maybe a suit coat or jeans. The NY Times recently wrote about the frustrations of women trying to find the perfect bra and a company having to create a 15 point algorithm to assure a good fit. I imagine a future where you won’t need to answer 15 questions, you’ll just be scanned and a few seconds later you’re ready to shop knowing just what to look for. Perhaps a virtual fitting room lets your avatar try on outfits so you know how they’ll look and what size you need without setting foot in an actual fitting room. You’ll then be able to order online with confidence knowing that it’ll fit perfectly when it arrives. For men, who might not enjoy “the hunt” as much as women, we can get in and get out of the suit shop as easily as a trip to the hardware store. 3D scanning in fashion has a huge future with trailblazers like Me-Ality already showcasing exciting applications, but it’s only the beginning!