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OMG, someone did research! - Input Junkie
May 28th, 2013
11:22 am


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OMG, someone did research!
Cornell students do statistical study of actual fat women's bodies.
For their Product Development class, Cornell apparel design sophomores Brandon Wen and Laura Zwanziger decided to create a clothing collection designed especially for plus-size women after their research revealed an overlooked market.
Fat women have been screaming about this for decades. I wonder how much research it took. I'm glad the students did the project, but I'm curious about how they found out.

So I read the article-- here's how they found out: "They noticed a huge opportunity after their market research showed that plus-size women hold 28 percent of purchasing power for apparel and accessories, but their spending only accounts for 17 percent of purchases, according to Zwanziger." This misses that a lot of the clothes for fat women are also of inferior style and material, but hey, it's good that the crude financial fact got noticed. Back to reading the article in order.
But they faced an early barrier: So few clothes are made exclusively for larger women that there’s a scarcity of full-figured mannequins available, and the few that exist resemble crudely scaled-up versions of thinner women of Barbie-like proportions. Undeterred, the students built their own plus-size dress form.

Under the guidance of Susan Ashdown, the Helen G. Canoyer Professor in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) in the College of Human Ecology, they analyzed thousands of 3-D body scans of women to define a prototype body size and shape. The team matched it to a single scan of a pear-shaped, size-24 woman from the FSAD department’s 3-D body scanner and used it to develop a pattern for the shape and contours of their mannequin. Next they used the department’s laser cutter to slice half-inch think pieces of foam and stacked and glued the layers to create their model, a half-scale dress form that allows designers to develop prototype garment patterns that can later be replicated at full scale.
The tech presumably made this possible to do as a student project, but manufacturers could have done the research the same way they did it for thinner women.

At Balticon, a friend told me he used to believe that people in business were at least interested in finding out the truth, even if they weren't going to act on it. I forget how he phrased his more accurate view of the world, but I think it would be fair to say that people in business are as willing to engage in not paying attention as anyone else is. I need to ask him whether he thinks people in government are much different.

Link found here.

Formatting point. Blockquote at dreamwidth is so enthusiastic about adding a line that if I want exactly one blank line after the quoted material, I have to put the beginning of the next line immediately after the close tag. This will not make proofreading easier.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1009287.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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[User Picture]
Date:May 28th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
Ah. This is one of those magical "power of the market" things where people generalize backwards from markets usually behaving in a certain way to them doing so because people always act rationally, isn't it?

In reality, the reason markets behave more or less rationally is darwinian -- people who behave rationally will generally outcompete those who don't, so the remaining result will resemble the more rational choices, not the less rational choices.

But assuming all the rational things will happen presumes that everything is tried -- whereas in fact there are only a finite number of people and a finite amount of money -- and a lot of groupthink that even more limits the number of ideas that get real trials in a market.

IOW, sure, the numbers imply that if enough money chased the plus-size market, it would find opportunity. But that means nothing if the money does not, in fact, go in that direction.
[User Picture]
Date:May 28th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'll forward this to my daughter. (Though she finds really stylish clothes; she got the shopping gene that bypassed me.)
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