California Educator

August / September 2018

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Sohn, right, with Stephanie Langford, who models the suit she made using body scanning technology. Digital avatars show what you'd look like in specific outfits. perceptions of their body shape in relation to virtual garments. She and fellow researchers Jessica Ridgway of Florida State University and Jean Parsons of Univer- sity of Missouri created avatars for 15 women to see whether their body shapes affected their opinions of virtual dresses. Instead, they were surprised to discover that the majority of women could not correctly identify their body shape. For example, none of the participants identified them- selves as being pear-shaped, although the researchers categorized one-third of them as having this body type. e three co-authored a paper titled "Creating a More Ideal Self rough the Use of Clothing: An Exploratory Study of Women's Perceptions of Optical Illusion Gar- ments," which was published in the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal last year. Before the study, Sohn assumed most women under- s t o o d a n d a c c e p t e d t h e i r b o d y shap e s. In fact, mo st w ith p ear - shaped figures described themselves as having an hourglass or skinny body type. What about men? Do they also need digital avatars and custom- ized clothing? " My re s e a r c h h a s f o c u s e d o n women, because previous studies have shown that women experience more clothing fit issues than men," replies Sohn. "It was found that most men are more satisfied with their bodies and have less of a fit issue." Sohn thinks that in the not too distant future, when an outfit looks stunning on a digital avatar, the con- sumer will have it "printed" from 3-D printers directly onto fabric. "It's very exciting to think about. I think there's a big potential for that market." body scanning technology while an exchange student at the University of Texas at Austin, noting its ability to "help us understand human body type and shape, which is the first step to produce apparel." After obtaining advanced degrees at the University of Minnesota, Sohn became an award-winning design educator. She sees computer-based sizing as a throwback to a time when people went to tailors for fittings, so clothing could be created especially for them. Stephanie Langford, a June CSULB graduate, created a tailored jacket and pants based on her body scan; they fit her perfectly. She plans on wearing them for job interviews. "It helps that all of the students have used the [body scanner] in tailoring class so we can adjust sewing patterns to fit our own measure- ments," says Lang ford. "Everybody wants to go in and buy something that fits perfectly off the racks, but that is seldom possible." Most women don't know their own shape, says Sohn. "is makes it difficult to identify garments that will help them look their best." She knows this for a fact because she helped direct a study of women's " Clothing avatars will make online shopping more fun and help women make better choices." — MyungHee Sohn, California Faculty Association 17 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 018

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