The Need of a sizing system for Kenya: case Studies of females at the University of Nairobi and Nairobi Textiles
Otina, Millicent A.
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Tailors in Kenya often use the traditional method of taking body measurements to make clothes. This method is often too slow to cater for the entire female population in the country or for the export market. As a result, there is heavy reliance on imported clothes to meet the numerous clothing needs of females in Kenya. On the contrary, imported clothes are made with standard measurements suited for the European and Asian people. Due to difference in figure types of the African body with the other races, many consumers have had to take the newly purchased garments to the local tailors for alterations. Misfit, therefore, is a growing concern as consumers are not happy with garments that do not provide good and desirable fit. The MSEs; to which many tailors belong, face many challenges some of which include limited access to markets and financial services, inadequate business skills, limited linkages with' large enterprises and limited access to information. These obstacles results to low productivity, poor quality and limited product diversity, which lead to low competitive ability in both local and external markets. This study was conducted to establish a sizing system for Kenya, identify methods of body measurements used by local tailors, causes of misfit and body shapes that exist among females in Nairobi. The outcome is to recommend effective methods to help reduce misfit among females in Kenya and stimulate further research in identifying body shape categories among females in Kenya. A sizing system for the Kenyan female population would increase output among local tailors within the MSEs. It would also enable them to provide better quality of fit for their consumers both globally and locally. There is also greater satisfaction in sewing when fitting problems are eliminated or, at least, minimized. Two pilot studies were conducted to find-out if there was misfit among females in Kenya and identify the methods of body measurements used by local tailors in making garments. It was then established that there was indeed misfit in clothing among females in Kenya and that no standard sizing system exists in Kenya. As a result of misfit, many females had to take back garments to the already overwhelmed local tailors for adjustment before wearing or discard some clothes.