Sizing up Indians
Sizing up Indians

India is set to have its own clothing size chart by 2021. National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is undertaking a National Sizing Survey of India to develop an India size chart for ready-to-wear clothes based on the body measurements and specifications of Indians. 

So far only 14 countries across the world have so far successfully completed national sizing surveys and these include the US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, Thailand, South Korea, China and Australia. Once the India size chart is developed, all brands selling in India will have to carry the India size label on all garments. This is a two-year exercise and no children will be measured. 

This is the first time a scientific exercise is being undertaken and anthropometric data from a sample in the age group of 15-65 year is being used to create a database of measurements. Kolkata (East), Mumbai (West), New Delhi (North), Bengaluru (South), Shillong (North-East)  and Hyderabad (Central) are the cities in which the researchers will be using 3D whole-body scanners to develop the size chart with the help of volunteers. 

There is one more aspect to this. There is, in realty no size zero in the world. Zero in the US is size 4 in the UK. As for Indian, please don't mention it as the salesman would have a puzzled look on his face. To those who wonder what this fuss is all about, well, returns and rejections in the garments segment are to the tune of 20 per cent to 40 per cent due to wrong-size. The growth of e-commerce only increases such rejections and returns. 

This is not good for the trade and if it has to grow, it has to know the size perfectly. India does not have its own standardized clothing size chart for ready-to-wear clothes and uses altered versions of such charts used by other nations. Is this really serious to be taken note of remedied? Well, sizing issues are really bothersome. 

These are not just limited to fashion and apparel. The absence of size chart, for example, might lead to a slab in your modular kitchen a bit lower and a latch on a door, a bit higher. Absence of size could have repercussions on safety issues too. A fireman given a wrong suit due to absence country-specific sizing, could find handicapped in discharging his duties. This is not about just garments alone. Right size will address everything from specialised sportswear to prosthetic legs, from forensics to fashion. 

The key challenge will be in defining and identifying statistically relevant sample size and in further ensuring that the data collection is from the relevant sample. Security forces, medicine, automotive and aerospace industries, furniture and workplace design to animation games...the sectors benefiting by the right size are many. 

Let us get sized up without any politicking. This is in the national interest. Hope Mamata Didi does not ban this exercise in Kolkata! Because, size matters. Everywhere. And knowing the size matters even more.