Miracle sends a link to an interesting article by Jessica Seigel entitled Bent Out of Shape; it’s about the hazards and horrors of bra fitting, sizing and shopping. Buried within the text of the article is this:
Part of the reason you can’t find that bra you liked so much last year is because it doesn’t exist anymore. Today’s cookie-cutter styles are more structurally alike and discontinued faster than in the past, according to industry insiders. “We used to do two to three styles a year. Now we do nine,” says Valerie L.Heinen, who has been a designer for 30 years and now works at Lilyette, a division of Maidenform.
As conglomerates have gobbled up smaller companies, the industry’s focus has switched from fit to fashion, says Marshal Cohen, co-president of the market research firm NPD Fashionworld. “The bra consumer is very frustrated,” he says. As Cohen sees it, manufacturers are being driven by market leader Victoria’s Secret, which has managed to define, as its ads proclaim, “What is Sexy?”. Scrambling to sell seductive uplift rather than comfortable support, bra manufacturers have sometimes let such basics as lining scratchy elastic and raw edges fall by the wayside.
If you recall, I mentioned that push manufacturing is leading the downward spiral in apparel fit and sizing due to the nature of their push manufacturing model. Judging from the above quote, one can see that Victoria’s Secret (a push manufacturer) has enough weight to subvert the fit feedback loop as well. As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, push manufacturing subverts the fit feedback loop resulting in entropy of fit. Unfortunately, it seems that VS has the power to drag other bra makers down with them, dramatically increasing widespread consumer dissatisfaction. Still worse, bra makers have successfully projected fit responsibilities back to the consumer and I think that’s dishonest. If you have a problem with your product, own up to it and fix it. If you can’t fix it, you should not encourage your customers to blame themselves; that’s karmically risky.
I close with this quote:
Bra design has been called the rocket science of apparel, so who better to consult next than a rocket scientist? …So according to the engineering analysis of a man who has helped design space shuttles, personal “defects” like a thin chest wall, protruding ribs, and low-lying breasts didn’t cause my hooter hell. The bra did-and switching sizes made absolutely no difference. “Women are fed bizarre stories,” says Tyrer. “You’re told that your breasts are all different, that you have heavy tissue, light tissue. That’s snake oil. When you don’t fit their idealized set, they blame you.”