for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

UK Retailers in Vanity Sizing Scandal

Whilst no-one is averse to a little flattery, you still know that the shop assistants’ opinions are a not-so-cleverly disguised sales pitch. But what about when it’s the clothes themselves that are lying to you? The Times launched a study to find out just how reliable UK clothing sizing was- and found some pretty outrageous lies across the high street.  Whilst this increase in ‘vanity sizing‘ is no great surprise, it is interesting to see just how far companies have been stretching the truth, across both womens and mens trousers.

According to the report French Connection understated the waist size of their jeans the most, with a 5.5 inch discrepancy in men’s sizes and up to 4 inches in womens, whilst Zara, Topshop, H&M and Gap were all also caught telling porky-pies. Although playing to vanity by convincing customers they are thinner may seem like a clever sales ploy, in an era of brand transparency surely lying can only harm your reputation.

Revealed: the jeans that tell a sizeable lie– The Times

Filed under: industry news,

Adidas Virtual Mirror tries shoes on for you

The ultimate in lazy shopping- Adidas have installed a virtual mirror in their new store on the Champs Elysees in Paris that enables customers to see what any shoe looks like on them simply by pointing at it on a computer screen.

Gizmag reports on the impressive technology-

‘Instead of trying on dozens of pairs, the customer simply stands in front of a virtual mirror. On his foot, he can see the shoe of choice (as long as it’s adidas) in the colour of choice. The virtual mirror was developed by researchers at the Heinrich-Hertz-Institut HHI in Berlin. Unlike a conventional mirror, it does not display a true reflection. Instead, a camera captures the customer’s feet and legs and displays them as a video scene on the monitor. The various shoe models
are inserted into this picture. “Thanks to the 3-D image processing techniques developed at the HHI, the software is so fast that it can follow the customer’s movements in real time,” says Jurgen Rurainsky, one of the virtual mirror’s developers.’

‘In contrast to the touch screen technique, the customer can navigate through the menu without touching anything at
all. All he needs to do is point at the screen with his index finger from a distance of approximately 80 centimeters.

What makes it all possible is a“finger-tracking” system: A stereo camera on the ceiling photographs the finger and calculates its spatial position and the direction in which it is pointing. The information is passed on to a software program that moves and activates the objects on the monitor.’

The system is made up of a series of amazing ideas culminating in what will definitely be a great attraction for the store, but beyond that may not do much for shoe sales. Although sneakers are now seen as fashion items and bought primarily for aesthetic attraction, the fit of a sports shoe is more varied than that of other shoes, meaning that even after selecting their favourite style customers will probably still need to try them on to ensure correct sizing- an area that the mirror cannot recreate.  And if you can’t be bothered to try shoes on when you’re in the store, you might as well just buy them online- saves a trip into town in the first place!

via Gizmag

Filed under: technology, ,


The Shop at Bluebird has donated a section of its floor space to the Digital Wellbeing Showroom, a new kind of retail environment for digital lifestyle products and services,launched as part of London Design Week.

I went along to see what exciting new things I could find, and was lucky enough to get a guided tour from Alexander Grünsteidl, one half of Digital Wellbeing Labs. He explained that the idea behind the concept was to create a technological reflection of fashion trends for an integrated lifestyle, and therefore the whole showroom will change its collection every two months with the first installation being ‘Black and White’ in a reflection of current fashions.

With a history in product design, marketing, branding and anthropology between them, Alexander and his partner Priya Prakash have recognised that the downfall of many products comes from problems within the retail experience and so are working on how to remedy this and get people intrigued and excited by electronic products by prototyping different in-store models to help grow interest and understanding through honesty and interaction. They are also passionate about helping graduate designers engage with buyers in a commercial gallery space and so are offering these products alongside those from industry names such as Philips, Hulger and Marcel Wanders.


The result is an amazing array of new technologies, home accessories, and products that cross the line into art pieces, all of which are arranged in a communicative way that involves the buyer. Personal favourites from our visit were the Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus by Plumb Design, Intempo DAB radio with interchangable artwork fascias, cable jewllery by Bless, and SMS cross-
stitched message samplers by Kate Pemberton, and that’s being selective- any of their wares would fit happily in my office!! The next showroom, due to open in November, is entitled ‘Into the Woods’ and encompasses the relationship between technology and organic lifestyles- so look out for wooden computers and much more.Img_0670_1

Digital Wellbeing Labs
The Shop at Bluebird

nb- Digital Wellbeing Labs are also working with Digital Plumbers, a company that will install and integrate any equipment to enable your digital lifestyle throughout your home in an easy to use format, a clever addition to the showroom and one we can forsee receiving a lot of business.

Filed under: products with a purpose, worth seeing, , ,