Union minister of textiles Smriti Irani announced on Sunday that the country would soon have its own standard clothing measurement chart under the Size India project. Mint looks at the need for an India-specific size chart and how the move will help retail brands.

What’s the need for Size India initiative?

The Size India initiative is an effort to establish a standardized size chart for clothing in India. Both international and homegrown brands operating in the country have so far used measurements from the US or the UK for garments, such as “Small", “Medium" and “Large"; only a few brands used their own size charts. However, the differential sizing standards caused confusion for Indian body types, which have significant anthropometric differences with Western standards in terms of height, weight or specific measurements of body parts such as the shoulders and bust.

Is the initiative the first of its kind in India?

The Size India project is not new. In February 2018, the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) announced that it would start the process of creating a standardized size chart for the Indian population. NIFT began the project with a funding of 30 crore from the ministry of textiles. The research team at NIFT surveyed the body measurements of 25,000 people aged between 15 and 65 across six cities—Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Shillong—taking into account a cross-section of the population along the length and breadth of India. It measured the types using 3D whole-body scanners.

Which countries have their own size charts?

The UK and the US have their own standardized sizes, while Germany and Spain use the European size chart. China, Australia and Mexico also have their own measurements.

How long will the project take and why?

Irani did not announce a specific timeline to pass the resolution for the project to be implemented. In 2018, NIFT said the project was likely to be completed by 2021, given its ambitious scale. Earlier, PTI reported that Noopur Anand, faculty member at NIFT Delhi and principal investigator of the project, said that approximately 120 elements such as height, weight, waist size, hip size and bust size would be included in the survey. The size chart will also include detailed dimensions that will apply to clothing separates. 

How will this move help retail brands?

So far, brands offering customized measurements for garments had limited potential to cater to India’s large population. The Size India initiative will help streamline the process and make it possible for brands to assign sizes to garments specifically addressing the differences. An India-specific measurement chart will make it possible for brands to not only apply accurate sizes to clothing, but also modify their production patterns to create sizes that are more suitable for Indian body specifications.

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