NIFT and IIT are Helping India to Shop for the Right Size
With the help of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and 3D body scanners, the textiles ministry is developing an India-specific standardized size chart for the textiles and garment industry. The Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-Delhi) has signed an agreement with New Delhi-based deeptech startup Mirrorsize to use an AI-powered app to achieve this approach.
The Ministry of Textiles said in 2018 that NIFT would craft an Indian size chart and conduct a survey, with the project expected to be completed in a few years. India's national sizing research project cost Rs.3.1 billion, of which Rs.2.1 billion was contributed by the Ministry of Textiles and the remainder by NIFT. The charts were made for 25,000 men and women aged 15 to 65 in six cities namely New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Shillong, and Hyderabad, using computerized 3D scanners and the project is still in the works.
Mirrorsize on the other hand, is said to not use the laborious and costly 3D body scanners. Instead, it plans to deploy a 3D body measurement app that employs AI, powerful computer vision, deep learning models, and mesh processing to deliver precise body measures in real time.
"We'll start by encouraging our own students to utilize the app, hoping that the industry will step forward creating incentives for customers to utilize the app on their own choice. The app would not be available to children at IIT-Delhi. Even if potential consumers volunteer for this research, we will ensure that their data is protected”, assures Gupta.
Due to its size and cost, 3D body scanners are often only installed in shopping malls and other public locations. Anyone can utilize the app from the comfort of their own homes by simply downloading it to their smartphones.
"IIT-Delhi will employ data analytics and statistical modelling to come up with up to 60 standard sizes for all body types in India. By the end of this year, the app should be ready to use”, says Deepti Gupta, a professor at IIT-department Delhi's of textile and fibre engineering.
According to her, people often think of sizes as small, medium, large, and extra-large. However, she ascertains by saying that "our technology will come up with 50-60 extremely tailored sizes for textile and clothing producers”.
According to Gupta, one rationale for having so many sizes rather than four standard sizes is that a 'standardized size' would require approval from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Second, Indians from various geographical locations of the country have varied physical shapes. Third, clothes can be manufactured not merely to fit various body types, but also to meet the size requirements of a certain sector.
To promote the app, IIT-Delhi will need the help of the government and industry, according to Gupta who says that it does not have any outside funding.
"We'll start by encouraging our own students to utilize the app, hoping that the industry will step forward creating incentives for customers to utilize the app on their own choice". The app would not be available to children at IIT-Delhi. “We'll begin with the 25–45-year-olds. "Even if potential consumers volunteer for this research, we will ensure that their data is protected”, assures Gupta.