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Accurate children's clothing size app to boost EU competitiveness

EU-funded researchers have developed an innovative app that gives accurate sizing guides for children, benefiting both consumers and EU-based clothing companies.

Buying clothes for children can be a quagmire. Sizing is often inaccurate, especially since it is frequently categorised according to the age of the child, even though children of the same age are very often different heights. The problem is particularly acute for online sales of children's clothing, and for family members and friends who may wish to buy clothes but find picking the right size difficult. But one EU-funded project is on track to finding a solution. KIDSIZE has developed an app for smartphones and tablets that can take highly precise 3D measurements of a child. By taking a couple of photos of the child, the app can provide 30 measurements with just a 0.5 - 1 cm error factor. This compares to an error factor of 2-5 cm made when using a conventional tape measure. ‘KIDSIZE will help children's clothing companies to sell more by clearing up sizing concerns both online and in the shop itself – to the mutual advantage of the buyer and the clothing companies,’ explained Alfredo Ballester, the technical manager of the KIDSIZE project. ‘Moreover, it will help to cut down the expenses involved in product returns for the companies, and the hassle for the buyers and children.’ Increasing competitiveness KIDSIZE holds promising potential for boosting competitiveness in the EU's children's clothing sector. The project estimates that implementing its technology could save European clothing companies around EUR 130.5 million within five years. ‘KIDSIZE works with companies that provide high quality children's clothes, which is most European small and medium-sized children's clothing enterprises. Meanwhile, it will be distributed by wide-reaching European associations like Children's Fashion Europe, Nova CHILD and ASEPRI. We hope that an accurate sizing tool used by European brands will give the sector a significant competitive advantage,’ Ballester continued. The KIDSIZE app works alongside the project's Size Allocation Engine. Based on the dimensions calculated by the app, the engine gives the user two sizing recommendations – the right size for wearing the garment straight away, and the best fit to allow room for the child to grow. The app works for children aged 3 to 12 years and it also provides special paediatric measurements for babies less than three years old. ‘Our project results show that KIDSIZE provides the right sizing recommendations 80 - 90 % of the time. This outperforms age or height-based recommendations which are right only 45 - 55 % of the time,’ Ballester says. Next steps The project, which finished in March 2016, took the technology through its development, testing and demonstration phases. This included the creation of a demonstration shop which included the popular clothing brands Bóboli and Sucre d'Orge. The app has been made available via Google Play in Europe for beta testers. ‘The next steps are making the app compatible with other mobile operating systems like iOS and Windows, refining the app to make it failure-proof and eventually rolling-out its use to a large number of manufacturers and brands,’ Ballester concluded. For more information please see: KIDSIZE project website

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