Fashion's Fit Problem is Causing a Huge Waste Problem

Hello, amor!

One of the biggest problems in the fashion industry due to mass production is the problem of fit. 

All these letters and numbers are supposed to help the consumer identify what size they are, but it creates more confusion more than anything for the buyer. This is because a brand gets to decide the “standardization” of their sizing. 

However, according to Tanya Dove, author of Fashion Design: A Technical Foundation “Fit, proper fit, is not about size or measurements; it is all about shape.” We add that, in addition to shape, it is also about height and preference. Petites like me add hem length to our challenges. (Credits to Style Yourself Confident for the image below from the post on styling for the petite body shape)

When clothes are made to order, there are many measurement points that are included in production to ensure a great fit. Taking these points into account ensures that the garment is made according to the right body shape, bust size, and height of the customer. With mass production, it is not possible to produce clothes for every possible permutation because these brands need to standardize garment shape to achieve economies of scale. What’s more, fast fashion brands spend less time on sampling. In addition, each person’s preference is different when it comes to how they want their clothes to fit. Due to personal style, some consumers may prefer clothes that are an exact fit to their bodies, while others may want an oversized fit. 

All in all these factors have resulted in clothes that do not fit us. 

But consumers are willing to take a chance of the item not fitting, because they can return the items anyway, no problem. It should go back to inventory, right?

That's what I thought too. Then I learned that the problem with returns is that the store typically doesn’t put the returned item up for sale again. Instead it either ends up at the bottom of the stockpile, is sold cheaply to discounters, or is sent to the landfill. The whole process contributes greatly to the carbon footprint of fashion brands. And even if brands don’t take back the returns, the consumer will not wear the item and will most likely toss it anyway. 

Therefore, the problem of fit is a problem of waste. 

Who is paying the price for this? 

"Returns are very painful for all parties — customers, retailers, the planet," Optoro cofounder and president Adam Vitarello

  • Consumers - if they keep the item, they will have to spend on alteration
  • Businesses - when they need to spend on returns. About 25% of purchases are returned and out of these returns, about 70% are due to wrong size and fit. Optoro estimates that it now costs a company 66% of the price of a product to process a return, an increase of 7% over last year. That cost includes transportation, processing, discounting, and liquidation. 
  • The Environment - The fashion industry collectively produces over 100 million tons of textile waste per year. In the U.S. alone, clothing returns create more annual carbon dioxide emissions than 3 million cars. Optoro estimates that the shipping of returns emits 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, while 5 billion pounds of returned goods end up in the landfill every year, creating another 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions. 

At Armore, we want to help address the problem of fit.

We start with classic pieces that are flattering. Next we will give our clients the option to specify certain measurements to be adjusted when they pre-order. It will involve measuring yourself but there are now many resources to help with this, including this video How to Measure Yourself for Online Shopping from BlueprintDIY. 

We call it Pre-Production Alteration where:

Design + Pre-Orders + Pre-Production Alteration


Fit + Sustainability + Inclusivity

We are tweaking an existing standard template to accommodate smaller waists, shorter hemlines, shorter sleeves, and the find the perfect fit for you. 

If you want to learn more about this process, send us an email or DM. We’d love to customize our clothes for you so that they fit perfectly. 

And if you haven't already, sign for our newsletter for invites to exlusive events such as fitting parties for a sneak peek of new drops. 





Featured photo by Liza Summer on Pexels
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