UCL News


Man behind clothing industry revolution to speak in Singapore

28 March 2007

The pioneer of body size technology that has enabled millions of clothes shoppers to find items that fit, Professor Philip Treleaven, UCL Department of Computer Science, will be in Singapore addressing UCL alumni in a speech on Saturday 31st March in The Blue Room at The Arts House, where he will explain how the SizeUK project has revolutionised clothes shopping in the UK.

Professor Treleaven saw how use of high-tech body scanners to measure people could help to reduce the huge numbers of clothes shoppers who complained about not being able to find clothes that fit them. During 2000-2002 Professor Treleaven was Director of the UK National Sizing Survey (SizeUK), a collaboration of academics, the UK government and major UK clothes retailers. SizeUK was the first national sizing survey in the world to use state of the art 3D body scanners as the principal means of measurement. 11,000 people were measured and 130 body measurements taken from each subject.

The survey has revolutionised the clothing industry in the UK, enabling the leading retailers to develop clothing lines that are far closer to the modern body form. SizeUK was followed by SizeUSA and SizeFrance. Thailand is starting SizeThailand, and Malaysia is planning MYSIZE. Other surveys are planned in Australia, Spain, Brazil and Mexico.

The survey found, for instance, that the average woman's waist had increased from 55cm in the 1950's to 71cm in 2000. And the weight of women had increased from 136lb in 1951 to 143.5lb today. The subsequent Size USA study found that the average weight of an American woman was 155.5lb. The study has also provided valuable information on the shape of the nations who participated for the motor and travel industries.

3D whole body scanners capture in 1-10 seconds highly accurate 3D body maps, allowing a computer to automatically extract hundreds of measurements from a scan, so eliminating manual measurement and transcription errors, allowing future re-measurement of scans, and for example greatly reducing the cost of anthropometrics surveys. A body scan produces a so-called point cloud from which a computer extracts surface details, such as measurements associated with a body landmark. Scanners produce a wealth of body measures, as well as shape, volume and skin surface area information.

"There are many significant benefits to the technology," says Professor Treleaven. "Retailers are able to use the data to provide customers with better fitting clothes, and it can also benefit other sectors, such as the transport industry. But with growing international concern over obesity, 3D whole body (surface) scanning is also poised to become a mainstream medical tool of major value. For instance, it can be used for image capture for the treatment of reconstructive surgery, prosthetics and treating eating disorders."

Professor Treleaven will be available for interview during his visit to Singapore, and members of the media will be able to attend his talk by invitation.

Notes for Editors

1. For more information, please contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL media relations office on +44 (0)207 679 9728.

2. To attend the event, which begins at 6.30 at the The Blue Room @ The Arts House (also known as the Old Parliament) please contact Mr Leonard Teo, Honorary Secretary of UCL Alumni (Singapore), email: secretary@uclas.org.