You’ve probably not heard of them (neither had I!), but I was recently introduced to Alvanon, who manufacture a whole host of fitting mannequins for the apparel industry. They’re a family company who work with the biggest retail manufacturers (whom they usually can’t say due to NDAs, but believe me, you definitely have some in your closet!), but they’re really supportive of little indie designers, too, and invited me to come and use their fit studio yesterday afternoon.
Now, being from a science background myself, I freaking love that Alvanon’s are so based in science and data analysis, and founded by a doctor who was seeing a real disconnect between actual bodies and fitting dummies. The measurements for all of their models are all based on body scans of actual women (none of this “we measured women in the 1970s and have been using it ever since” crap!), and they’ve got different forms for European, American, Asian, UK, etc body types, and you can get forms based on specific countries, too. They’ve got squishy lingerie forms with different cup sizes, men’s sizes, pregnancy bellies, various arm configurations, all the kiddies from toddlers up through tweens, and a bunch of Plus-sized forms based, again, on actual women’s bodies.