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created over 2 years ago | Tagged: fashion, design, technology, experience, authenticity, customizable, story, jeans, e-commerce, outfits, indi,


The future of shopping means every garment--and shopping experience--can be customized to fit both your body and your thirst for discovery.

I’ve seen this scenario before, but I will not name names. A woman with a delightful and sensible figure, who looks quite gorgeous from any angle, cranes her neck around to the mirror and asks, to nobody in particular, “Does this make my ass look big?”

You look around. Actually, she is asking you. There really is only one reasonable answer to that question--but it isn't the truth.

Alas, here is the problem with shopping. It’s uniquely personal, yet the massive mainstream retailers have to be totally impersonal and personal at the same time. So what you often get is messaging--advertising that convinces you of what is actually untrue, and jeans or outfits that really don’t quite fit. The brand slogan and the ad campaign are supposed to convince you that you are in love with something that you're not. But, lacking other options, you settle.

This is the video that Ali Fenn, head of marketing for the custom-jeans outfit INDi, sent me after our conversation about customized shopping and fitting experiences for women in the jeans category.

Retailers currently depend on fit models--perfectly proportioned women between sizes 2 and 6--who are supposed to represent everywoman (even though the average size woman in the U.S. wears a size 14) to get an idea of how clothes will fit and drape on real bodies.

"Jeans shopping is tough; 70% of women and 40% of men say they wish they had jeans that fit," says Fenn. "It’s also emotional for people. People have their own body issues. There’s something about being able to go through this process online in a way that you wouldn’t go through in a brick-and-mortar."

Fenn isn’t critical of the big shops, but she says that the opportunity exists to change the current model, if people can grow comfortable with scanning technology and what’s new.

The evolution would be, eventually, a highly personal fitting room in your own apartment, set up with basic software and a Kinect by Microsoft, for example.