Many brands are now adapting varied technology and putting AI to good use to offer the perfect fit all across body types. With sizing becoming a uniform, easy to achieve apparel parameter, are we embracing the ‘same price tag’ for all sizes’?
A survey conducted few years back on British consumers pointed out that 63 per cent women shoppers returned their garments post-trial owing to sizing issues. We have moved many miles away from this and now have technologies to perfect the silhouette of garments as well. What was annoying is that for every S, M, L, XL and such size tags, there existed a dozen size variations for each brand and the same only grew worse with more brands making an entry into the market.
However, brands have now started to understand the Indian body type and customisation has become a trend owing to people adapting to slow fashion trends. Strangely, in offline retail, the technology-driven production and manufacturing diminishes the scope for altering prices across sizes. But in that case, does varying price become an obvious for ‘made to order’ or for online brands?
“I think there is definitely a shift in the retail industry when it comes to size inclusivity, where sizes go up to 3X and more. Designers have started accommodating and planning patterns mindfully and optimally to make styles that support body positivity. The industry hasn’t reached there, but we’re hoping it can be achieved soon,” mentions Mariya Khanji, Founder, NETE.IN.
NETE.IN is an online platform that curates and sells esoteric conscious fashion. The platform has been vocal about the brands/designers they handpick, which are to create consciousness amongst the consumers about clothing. In a similar vein, The Yarn Story is another online home-grown brand that believes in celebrating the ideas of inclusivity.
“We at TYS do not believe that a bigger size demands higher/hefty price. It is unfair to charge heavy based on someone’s body type. In the past few years, the whole take on pricing disparity has changed considerably and most of the designers are thoughtful about the issue. We have never refused to make bigger sizes or avoided the same. There is no extra cost for bigger sizes, there never was and there will never be. That is the promise we have kept always and shall continue to keep,” Ila Potnis, Co-founder at TYS comments.
Understanding the nuances
Chaula Shaha and Yesha Shah, Co-founders for label Chaula & Yesha acknowledge that their pricing all across designs and varying sizes is always constant and does not vary. However, they also hint that pricing across designs can vary basis size from brand to brand depending on the material they using. Few material costs are too expensive so it needs to be charged accordingly. “According to us that shouldn’t be the reason as if there is an increase in the pricing due to size, it’s very nominal, and if explained to the client, they will not mind paying,” the founders mention.
Soumodeep Dutta, Creative Head, Soumodeep Dutta Label elaborates “There is a misconception that designers charge extra for bigger size. Recently one of my clients forwarded me a small write-up where charging extra for a bigger size was compared to ‘Fat Tax’. Now I would like to explain the inside of the business. Why are they charging more for a bigger size? We all understand that bigger size needs extra fabric. Not only that, it needs extra embroidery and extra labour too. Now keeping in mind the competitive market, we have to keep the pricing correct. The pricing is a summary of the amount of fabric used, cost of embroidery, labour, etc. Now for a size that is larger than normal, all these components add to the costing. As designers, we try to accommodate small differences like XS to XXL maybe, wherein we are doing the costing for a normal M size and keeping same for all sizes. But when there is a size requirement that goes beyond our metrics, then even we have to pay almost double the cost for embroidery. The karigars take more time to complete the stitching sometimes and of course fabric used is more. Now, if the fabric is cotton or less expensive and there is no embroidery, I don’t think there is need for extra or hefty charges, unless it’s neck-to-neck costing. But if there is embroidery and pricing is tight, then extra charges make sense.”
Soumodeep explains that for bigger brands, where they have a huge margin because of their brand value, these costing changes can be accommodated. But for smaller brands/labels where they have to deliver value for money, small costing changes squeeze their profit margins. Thus you may find them asking for extra charge or avoiding to take the order, he says.
“Bigger size doesn’t demand a hefty price tag, but yes sometimes it’s more. That depends on the style we are picking. The reason for hefty price must be visible to the client so that she/he is comfortable with that. Also I would say it varies for brands and designers. Big brands and designers who might have bigger margins might be keeping the price uniform, while small labels might find it difficult to keep same pricing for all sizes. Designers who produce in bulk do not want that headache for such one piece order. There are also more chances of fitting issues in very big sizes. Though I personally feel if someone wants to place an order, we should provide our service irrespective of the extra effort we have to put. I can also be very fat and if someone rejects my order because it’s a big size, it definitely demoralises the client. Thus somewhere we have to be human too. And let equality prevail, if not in costing but at least in the smile we pass and the service we provide. We generally have the same price for all sizes. We are not into heavy embroidery, but more into light embroidery. Thus the small difference in costing that we face, we try to accommodate it without making things difficult for the client. Yet I remember there was a client who had asked for a discount, that I couldn’t accommodate because her size was very big. I would have done it if she was a size small or XS. Now you also know the reason why I couldn’t give the discount,” he adds.
Soumodeep, like many others, feels that as designers they should try their best to keep the same price for all sizes even if it’s narrowing down their profits. That keeps the customer happy. Only when there is a huge costing change that may lead to losses, the brands/labels need to explain the reason to the client and charge accordingly but not heftily.