Under Armour digitises size range for 3D avatar fleet
US sportswear giant Under Armour has teamed up with apparel size and fit specialist Alvanon to digitise its fit forms to create a range of 3D digital avatars across sizes running from an infant 0 to men's 5XL.
The new avatars replicate its proprietary fits and represent the full spectrum of "real" bodies across men's, women's and kids – and are helping the sportswear firm to make better product, with improved sizing and standardisation.
Many companies, including Under Armour, have turned to 3D virtualisation to significantly reduce the time and cost of product design and development, and minimise physical sampling.
However, "when we fit product on fit forms across the size scale, it does not always follow a mathematical equation of traditional grading," explains Jami Dunbar, vice president, apparel and accessories development and supply chain operations at Under Armour.
The sportswear brand worked with Alvanon to understand and define those nuances and embody them in its avatars.
"One of the things working in volume allowed us to do is consider a lot of different body shapes," Dunbar says. "Now we can move confidently in 3D to fit bodies."
Tracy Rickert, senior consultant at Alvanon, adds: "Under Armour had been using 3D in its core size for some time and this was the next progression of how we can develop that on a full-size range and make sure that we are really fitting everyone in the market exceptionally well.
"Today's consumers expect apparel to fit and look good on them at every size. That's where 3D can help. Whether you're using ASTM parametric or custom we believe these virtual assets (standard avatar size sets) will help brands and retailers resolve their sizing issues much faster."
UA was also an "instrumental" beta partner in Alvanon's recent development of the Alvanon Body Platform, which allows brands and retailers to access and share their 3D fit and core body standards with supply chain partners.
Launched in January, the cloud database offers 3D fit standards for the global apparel industry and enables apparel design and development teams to access the firm's 6,000 avatars for the first time.
"3D is definitely changing our industry; everyone in retail is starting to touch the technology," says Dunbar. "And the beautiful thing about it is that there's a great deal of collaboration across brands. Everyone protects their IP, but we all know working together is the way forward, and the way we're all going to be able to visualise and make great product."