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Qcut wants to make you the perfect pair of jeans using data and algorithms

Qcut wants to make you the perfect pair of jeans using data and algorithms

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It's puzzling how difficult it can be to find a pair of jeans that fits you properly — and that seems to be particularly true for women. That's why a new company that's launching with a Kickstarter campaign today is hoping to find women the perfect fit using nothing but some information they already know along with a few algorithms, rather than having them try on a dozen pairs first.

"Women's bodies change in all sorts of very predictable ways."

Called Qcut, the project comes from a former Mozilla designer who's partnered with a veteran of the fashion industry. Qcut is hoping to make jeans that'll come in around 400 different sizes, one of which it should be able to automatically determine as the proper fit for any woman who buys a pair. Qcut says it can do that using just five numbers, which you likely already know: your normal pants size, your height, your weight, your shoe size, and your bra size.

"Women's bodies change in all sorts of very predictable ways based on height," Qcut CEO Crystal Beasley says. For instance, "If you have two women that are 5'10", the one that has the bigger shoe will have a longer leg."

It sounds strange that those five data points are enough, but Beasley points out that Qcut is just taking someone's existing pant size and running with it. "It does seem crazy, right? Just on the face of it," Beasley says. "But if you think of it, we start where other manufacturers stop." Qcut is effectively taking your pants size and then altering the shape based on how it believes it'll end up landing on your body.

The way that it comes up with those alterations isn't explicitly new either. There have been algorithms for determining proper fit based on measurements like these for over a decade, including some that appeared in patent filings that Qcut's innovation chief worked on at other fashion companies. Beasley says that Qcut just needs to take those algorithms and update them for modern body shapes. It plans to take body scans of 5,000 women and analyze them for the new data it needs.

Qcut believes this model won't work with traditional storefronts

If these ideas and processes sound like an obvious application of existing knowledge, that's because in many ways they are, Beasley explains. The problem is that tailoring sizes this way isn't usually economical — particularly not for the average clothing retailer that needs to deal with store space. The difference for Qcut is that with Kickstarter and later an online storefront, Beasley thinks it's possible to finally make it all work.

That said, Qcut's ambitious plan will only work if it can hits an appropriate scale. It's looking for $75,000 to get off the ground, but the real goal is to build a production factory of its own — and that'll take upward of $500,000. Qcut also has the much bigger dream of eventually offering sizing services for other small designers, allowing them to easily ensure perfect fits for their customers, though that's all dependent on how well the operation can scale in the first place.

On Kickstarter, Qcut is selling jeans for around $130, but they'll likely go up to $170 once the campaign ends. That means you'll really have to value a perfect fit over searching around for one that's good enough — but that's certainly not outside the range people have shown they're willing to pay for a good pair of jeans.