What if apparel was really aimed at consumers rather than intermediates? What if marketers discovered a population that was driven by practical needs rather than fantasy?
The NY Times notes an online site that Rent the Runway (and their blog) - an ecommerace site that allows customers to search for images that all search on age, height, weight and certain measurements - to find a model with a similar shape. Real women are used
Rent the Runway, though, is taking it a step further. Users of the site can already upload photos of themselves in the clothing — Rent the Runway rents dresses and formal accessories for a few days, at about 10 percent of the retail cost. And women can list their height, weight and chest size alongside their reviews. Now, visitors can perform find-women-like-me searches, ask questions of the other wearers, and choose to see only real-life women rather than models wearing the clothing. (While Rent the Runway will not get rid of the photographs of the models, it will push shoppers toward the real-women photographs and reviews instead.) When Rent the Runway began allowing users to upload photos a year ago, not only did more than half of the people who gave reviews volunteer their weight and bust size, but the site also found that the conversion rate for shoppers who clicked on real photos was double that of shoppers who clicked on model photos.
There are a lot of approaches as the problem of sizing as well as what looks good on a person is not easy to solve. It will be interesting to see who survives and who doesn't.