Sizing Saudi

Susan P. Ashdown

Susan Ashdown lends her expertise to national project

Susan P. Ashdown, the Helen G. Canoyer Professor in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, recently visited Saudi Arabia to lend her expertise on the analysis of data collected in the SizeSaudi project, an anthropometric study currently being conducted in the Kingdom.

Led by Professor Moudi Almousa of King Saud University, the SizeSaudi national survey aims to help develop a national anthropometric data bank for Saudi adults using 3D scan technology. The project will develop a sizing system for Saudi males and females and body shape analysis.

Due to logistical problems scanning both men and women in the same study, this first stage included women only.

“I have known Professor Moudi Almousa for a couple of years,” Ashdown said. “She visited me here at Cornell when she was planning her anthropometric study, and I advised her on how to design the study. She asked me to visit her at King Saud University to assist with the analysis of the anthropometric data and creation of a size standard.”

Although the Saudi Arabian apparel market is the largest in the Middle East, there is no data or current size standards to accurately define the anthropometric size and shape of Saudi population. In recent years, there have been requests from some of potential investors in the apparel industry and consumers to provide relevant size reference material.

Urgent need for such data bank comes with the country’s newly announced 2030 Vision to diversify the economy by welcoming foreign investments and creating 35 industrial cities under the umbrella of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, where the government is encouraging the localization of many industries, including apparel.

“I have studied ready-to-wear sizing systems for 30 years, and the use of body scan data for 18 years,” said Ashdown, who worked on a similar project in Vietnam in 2009. “This project was very rewarding, working with and for Saudi women. And I enjoyed being a passenger with Dr. Moudi Almosa, one of the first women drivers in Riyadh!”

Leading apparel brands rely on data generated from projects like this to ensure sizing fits the general population of different countries across the globe.