About this project
The good news is, it takes only five measurements to determine which fit is yours: your height, weight, shoe size, bra size, and the size of your favorite pair of jeans. From there, we’ll refine with a series of questions about problems you have when you try on jeans to help guide us toward your perfect pair.
It takes around 400 different sizes to offer a perfect fit to every woman, not the 20 or so sizes that retailers are able to keep in inventory.
How do we know this is possible? Gerald Ruderman, our Chief Innovator, invented and built this system back in the mid-1990’s for a little denim company you may have heard of: Levi Strauss. However, Levi Strauss was not the right company for this model at the time, and that’s where we come in. I wouldn’t think it was possible if it hadn’t already been done.
No seriously, how does this work?
We get most of our info from your best-fitting existing pant size, height and weight. The funny thing is, taller women's pelvises aren't necessarily any wider than shorter women. Biologically it makes sense – you need to have a pelvis big enough for child birth. Tall women come in shapes impossible for a short women.
Half the women in US are under 5'4". Radical idea: It takes more than hacking off the bottom of a jean to make it fit petite proportions. The few inseams most manufacturers offer fit less than 25% of women. Tall ladies, have no fear – we can make the inseams as long as you need them.
The fit survey will ask:
What usually doesn't fit when you try on jeans? Is the waist –
* way too big * too big * about right * too small * way too small
We're repeat this question for each – waist, hip, thigh, calf, rise and inseam. This is critical in refining which size we'll send out to you.
Straight cut, mid-rise perfection
Why do we ask for bra size?
Bra size (and shoe size) help us fine-tune our fit prediction. We know a lot of women are wearing the wrong size bras, so we plan for there to be errors in reporting of bra size, and in all the other dimensions as well for that matter.
In the men's algorithm, for example, men who were within 2 inches of being 6 feet tall would exaggerate their height. In other words, there are no 5'11" men, only 6' tall men. And the men who truly were 6'0" said they were 6'1". Oh, and most men under-report their weight by 20 pounds.
This is why we are using a data set that has not only the body scans but also the self-reported measurements. We'll know whose measurement to adjust and by how much. We might even be able to tell whether you're a cat person or a dog person. ;)
Made on demand in the USA
Custom jeans are a luxury item, made by hand and cost upwards of $700. At Qcut, we’re looking to hit a sweet spot between custom and mass-produced, that will deliver the same level of fit for far less – under $200.
We can offer this level of fit because your jeans are made-on-demand in your size. There is no inventory and we sell direct to you. Your jeans are made in the USA of the highest quality, premium stretch denim.
Go ahead, take the tags off, wear your jeans, even wash them! If they're not the best-fitting pair of jeans you've ever had, you have 30 days to send them back and tell us what wasn’t right. We’ll recalculate your measurements, send you another pair, and pay for shipping both ways within the USA. We regret we are unable to offer free return shipping outside the US.
The problem with sizing as we know it
The global garment trade isn’t designed to make clothes that fit or last a long time; it’s optimized for volume and cost. It cranks out as many garments as possible, cheaply. We collectively buy more clothes than ever before, at the lowest price points in history.
But this industry has left us with a sizing system that has nothing to do with reality, and a buying model that sees all of the profit going to retailers rather than the people who make the clothes. I always knew garment workers made less than they ought to, but I didn’t realize how much less until I spent a winter working in Cambodia, a center for Southeast Asia’s sewing trade. It’s the country’s largest employment sector, but at a wage that’s barely enough for subsistence.
We need more than just a new clothing line. We need a new way of making and selling clothes. I’m looking to replace multimillion-dollar, high-volume, low-wage factories with smaller, more customizable ones that can deliver better fit, higher quality, and more equity for workers. In a typical factory, you might find a $60K machine that can sew on the back pocket of your jeans in ten seconds. I’m proposing a factory that uses a $6K machine that takes a bit longer but is more flexible: a 15-person factory that costs $500K to set up, instead of a $20 million one that employs a thousand workers and ships its products all around the world. This sort of factory is flexible enough to make jeans for women of every shape.
Stretch goal – Build our own factory
If we raise $500K, we have an investor committed to building a factory to make Qcut jeans. Having our own factory means we can control production and turn orders around in days instead of weeks.
No more tears in the dressing room
Our jeans won’t have a numbered size tag in them, because you’re not a number! A stupid tag in the back of your jeans should never again make you hate your body.
For this first production we will limit sizes to women’s traditional sizes US 0 to 18. Our patterns will not be based on the traditional sizing, but we felt this was the best way to introduce our starting range. We will offer more sizes in the future as we improve our sizing algorithm.
We will send out immaculately printed gift certificates in time for the 2014 Holidays. In January we will email a survey asking for the measurements we need to make your jeans. Have no fear, no measuring tape is needed.
How pledges help us
What we need now is to perfect the fit model that we’ll base our 400 shapes on, and that’s where you come in. We need women of all shapes to partner with us. You get a perfect pair of jeans, we get the crucial information we need to make the fit system work.
We also need funding to hire a data scientist to help turn these measurements into an algorithm that works, every time. An algorithm for sizing women has never been perfected in practice – not because it’s impossible, but because it’s hard, and it hasn’t made sense for big clothing manufacturers.
Most of all, we need partners. Women who share this vision of greater equity, local production, and better, more personalized clothes. Women who are tired of being a number that doesn’t mean anything. Because that’s what clothing is supposed to be: something that we love, that we have in common, that becomes part of our identity.
Buying clothes doesn’t have to be a cause for stress and frustration! And I need your help to change that.
Risks and challenges
We know we can do this because we’ve already done it. Gerald transformed the typical production line at Levi Strauss into a nimble make-to-order line. He optimized it to bring speedy delivery of individually made jeans to women in three countries.
Until we have our own factory we will work with experienced denim contract factories to make Qcut jeans. Our pattern maker only does denim. All day everyday he’s developing jeans for top brands. We’ve evaluated several factories in LA. There are risks but we are confident we will succeed at making your best fitting pair of jeans.
Until we fine-tune our sizing algorithm we will get the size wrong for some of you the first time. When you get your Qcut jeans, you can wear them, you can wash them and decide if they fit you better than any other pair you own. If not tell us what went wrong and return them within 30 days and we will fix our sizing and make you another pair.
We’re only offering one style and fabric to keep production complications to a minimum. As much as we’d love to give you a skinny and a boot cut, it’s just not smart for us now. We will offer lots of styles, colors and all the fun details in the future, but not until we’ve nailed this first run.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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