Have you ever observed how, when you buy clothes, not all sizes fit as easily or as well as they should? Sure, a UK size 6 might be the equivalent for a US size 8, but neither fit properly on every type of Indian body, primarily because these sizes do not reflect the realities of Indian body types—which are very different from other body types in the world. To deal with this very issue, the Ministry of Textiles has recently launched the India Size project, in collaboration with NIFT, Delhi and DesignSmith, to conduct the National Sizing Survey of India.
The project, which was launched at Delhi’s Select CityWalk Mall in Saket, is going to collect sizing samples from more than 25,000 people across India. The samples will then be used in a study to create a specific-to-India size chart, according to actual Indian body types. The study, which is expected to be concluded by 2022, is revolutionary because, for the first time, it will standardise apparel sizes for the Indian fashion market based on Indian data.
“We do not have clothes according to our sizes,” Vikram Sharma, the director of DesignSmith, told Business World in an interview at the launch. “India has no size chart. The clothes come in the ‘UK’ and ‘US’ sizes. This often leads to ill-fitting of clothes.” Sharma points out that 14 countries have their own size charts, but the US and UK ones are most commonly used by global apparel brands. Once the survey and study is completed, India will have its own size chart, true to its own people.
“The survey is being conducted at six cities across India: Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Shillong. Due to geographical diversity, we need data from across the country,” he said. “We currently have remote and walk-in surveys. Select City mall has the walk-in survey. Anyone can come and get measured here. But we will be introducing a mobile survey too. A minibus will carry the scanner and go across the country to collect data,” Sharma added.
Walk-in surveys for India Size are being conducted in six cities across India. Image courtesy: NIFT, New Delhi
The urgency of a survey like this is immense in India, because the textile and apparel industry employs the largest sector of people after the agriculture industry. This sector is also responsible for almost 13 per cent of industrial production in India, and contributes to 12 per cent of our total exports earnings. “Due to ill-fitting clothes, almost 25 to 30 per cent of all the clothes that are bought are returned to the sellers,” the director general of NIFT, Delhi, said at a press conference. “India Size will help us overcome that.”
“It makes sense for the international manufacturers to use this size chart because it will be targeted to the Indian population. The sales will be better, and the returns will be lesser. International manufacturers who are targeting Indian customers, this is the data that they should be using,” Nupur Anand, the project head of India Size, revealed at the same conference.
“Along with this survey, the government is taking initiatives like Production Linked Initiative (PLI) and Mega Textile Parks to give a boost to the sector,” Upendra Prasad Singh, secretary, Ministry of Textiles, told Business World. “India imports most of the textile machinery used in the country. We are trying to encourage their production too in India, so that we can reduce the imports. All this, coming together, will provide a fillip to the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.”