May 10, 2002, 12:00 AM

Customization comes to the home sewing market--and eventually to the web

Online clothing retailers are next as a Canadian company develops applications to let home seamstresses create virtual images that reflect their own measurements.


Canadian technology developer Virtually Yours Inc. is launching its Bodyskanner technology in U.S. fabric stores that it says could be ready for deployment on apparel web sites within a year.

In an approach that recalls Lands’ End’s body scanning experiment with technology vendor ImageTwin, the Bodyskanner’s step-in unit takes shoppers’ actual measurements. Virtually Yours says its scanning units, with a footprint of about 12 square feet, will be easy to bring to retail locations. Virtually Yours uses the measurements, for now, to create garment patterns that match the scanned customer’s dimensions exactly. The initial target is the home sewing market, and it’s up to the sewer to actually make the garment from the customized pattern.

Virtually Yours is developing another product, the Virtual You, that will use the scanned measurements to create a customized online model for retail applications. With manufacturer partnerships, says chief marketing office Giles Crouch, retailers could also use the scanned measurements to deliver finished custom clothing.

That application is still a year or more off, says Crouch. “We don’t think the consumer is ready to adopt the technology,” he says. “Retailers are still trying to recover from their investment in the e-commerce infrastructure they’ve put in place. By the time we’ve implemented in the home sewing market, we hope to have proven the market segment and the validity of the product.”


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