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Freedom from ill-fitting clothes: Inside India’s mega search for body size

Published: June 7, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

-By Pratyasha Sarkar

A year ago, when Europe wanted India to side with it in the Russia-Ukraine war, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar retorted that Europe’s problems were not the world’s problems. He was pointing out that the Eurocentric world was passé. Similarly, now India is getting liberated from another Eurocentric idea — the body sizes. The country is getting ready to tell Europe, and the US, that their body sizes are not India’s body sizes.

You realise that the universalisation of Western standards is not just an academic or diplomatic issue when you try shirt after shirt in a shop but don’t get the right fit. You come away with deep guilt about your out-of-shape body, planning to hit the gym or go on a diet. It may have never occured to you that there’s a chance the problem is not with your body but the US and the UK body sizes that your clothing brand follows even in India.

Many Asian countries such as Japan, China and South Korea have broken free of western body size charts by devising their own. Now India is on the same path. India is likely to roll out in the next three months a size chart for clothing that is specific to Indian consumers’ measurements, on the lines of the standardised sizes available in the US and the UK, ET has reported.

The Textiles Ministry launched IndiaSize project which aimed to arrive at a standard Indian size for the ready-to-wear clothing industry, on the lines of the standardized sizes available in countries such as the US and the UK. The study would result in a size chart specific to Indian consumers’ body measurements.

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