One of the first faculty members to conduct research at the FIT Center for Innovation, FIT’s latest outpost at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Amy Sperber has continued her work on the Open Source Fashion Avatars project. Thanks to support from the FIT community, Sperber has been able to continue her work and expand her catalogue of avatars. This project, which began in the Winter 2019 semester, seeks to create accurate avatars for designers and customers alike, featuring different body types from each stage of life: from teenage development to pregnancy to postmenopause. These avatars take into account the physical changes of aging and more accurately reflect the nontraditional bodies that ultimately wear the clothing designers dream up. The database of avatars could be imported into 3D fashion design software, such as CLO 3D, or Photoshop, or they could be printed directly from the website, serving as a flexible asset that could be applied in a variety of formats.
Over the last century, the fashion industry has been designing dress forms to mimic the fashion silhouette of the moment, standardized for manufacturing ease. These forms, however, fail to take into account the bodies that fall outside of this narrow spectrum. It is common practice for designers to scale up from a size 6 to a size 12; this process, however, negates the nuances of various body types. Today, there is still a lack of diverse body sizes in clothing. To encourage design for diverse body types, Sperber is creating an open-source online database of 3D avatars with realistic bodies that have belly fat, curves, and even aged appearances.