Sensors and sensibility: Hong Kong-based Gay Giano 3D Tailor to offer previews of final cuts using suitable hi-tech software

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 6:52pm

A Hong Kong-based tailor is attempting to breathe fresh life into this traditional industry by expanding its 3D-measuring technology with new software that gives customers sneak previews of how their handmade suits will look when finished.

Gay Giano 3D Tailor uses 14 infrared sensors to scan a customer’s body and provide 120 precise measurements. It is now working with an Israeli firm to develop software that will show a 3D rendering of the suits within 15 minutes.

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“What we really want to achieve here is to create a better record. We’re constantly refining our patterns, our measurements, algorithm,” said Matthew Lee, the firm’s business development director.

“It used to [just] be in the tailor’s head, and we’re trying to put that onto the computer.”

Many of the city’s famous tailors actually come from Shanghai and its surrounding regions, which include cities like Suzhou famous for their silk. But the shops in Hong Kong often deal in Italian fabrics, and Gay Giano is no exception.

The store has been using 3D measuring technology since it opened in November 2014. Its tailors are now working with the Israeli software company to create an accurate rendition of the fabrics used by taking into account the tension and weight of the materials to show the correct drape.

Lee said similar technology is used by designers to create off-the-peg clothing, but he believes this is the first time such software will be used for individual pieces.

The company has invested US$100,000 on the scanning technology and the software needed to render the designs. It expects to introduce the software in the second quarter of this year.

Lee hopes this will help prevent the skills and knowledge built up by Hong Kong’s traditional tailors over the decades from becoming lost in time. He said their number may already have dropped to just 200 as the industry fails to attract young talents.

While the technology slashes measuring times from 10 minutes to mere seconds, and obviates the need for a real tailor at this stage, the company’s staff must stay on the ball and check there are no errors.

Customers then select their fabric and the desired cut from the store, which is based in Hong Kong’s busy Tsim Sha Tsui area, before their measurements are sent to the tailors to work their magic.

Alan Chan, a customer who works in the toy industry, describes himself as tech savvy. He said he was intrigued by the shop’s 3D measuring technology and is now waiting for his second suit to be completed.

“The suit that was made on the first fitting already fitted quite well, so I was able to focus more on discussing the design with Matthew,” he said, adding that the balance of detail and the right fit was a winning combination.

Gay Giano is not the only store in Hong Kong that uses 3D measuring technology to provide a better fit. British lingerie brand Rigby and Peller , for example, uses similar scanners mounted behind its changing room mirrors to measure a customer’s bra size.

But Lee said his company is now developing technology that will allow it to measure customers for clothes without even requiring a personal meeting, in a bid to further expand its presence beyond its brick-and-mortar store.