At Mys Tyler, we believe the key to achieving the trifecta of great fit, style, and convenience is showing women clothing on bodies like theirs. So, in 2020, we created a FIT Algorithm for our app, and began building a diverse community so women of all heights, shapes, sizes, and ages could discover like-bodied creators and clothing they could feel confident would fit. The Mys Tyler app has since been downloaded by 300,000 women globally, validating the demand for body-relevant fashion.
While we built Mys Tyler as a functional platform to help women find clothes that fit, we have since realised we are helping to solve a bigger, more emotional issue – representation and relevance. As our community has grown, we’ve heard narratives echoed regarding the struggles to find clothes that fit, negative shopping experiences, lack of representation leading to feelings of irrelevance and, increasingly, the link between wearing clothing you like and feeling body confident.
This led us to commission a study of 1,000 Australian women to dive deeper into these issues and explore opportunities to improve the shopping experience.
As billions of dollars are invested in reducing e-commerce friction, and as social commerce becomes more shoppable, retail needs to focus on its sustainable competitive advantage – the physical experience. Our research uncovered a number of opportunities for retailers to create a feel-good experience for women.
Retail is still the main source of fashion inspiration
When it comes to seeking fashion inspiration, it appears many women are taking their search digital, with 33 per cent of respondents seeking inspiration through social media and only 12 per cent turning to fashion magazines. The good news for retailers is that the majority of women (55 per cent) say that their main source of fashion inspiration is retail.
Inspiration needs to be accessible to more women
With most women turning to retail to find inspiration, it was surprising that 74 per cent of women expressed that they felt under-represented by in-store advertising and 28 per cent said that shopping for clothes was usually a negative experience for them. This is a huge opportunity for retailers to change how they connect with women and to convert the traffic that’s already coming in.
The research shows that, generally speaking, women didn’t feel ‘seen’ by the fashion industry; they felt under-represented across size, age, height, ethnicity, and abilities. As a result, a staggering 1 in 2 women found that clothes didn’t meet their expectations after looking at them on a model. It’s no wonder that most women (82 per cent) have recently struggled to find clothes that fit, given they are being shown clothes that won’t fit them.
Women are highly motivated to seek out clothes that fit and make them feel good – 89 per cent said their confidence is improved by wearing an outfit they feel good in – yet only 15 per cent wear outfits that make them feel confident every day. This presents a significant opportunity for retailers.
Representation is one of the keys to a better shopping experience
In the survey, 91 per cent of women wanted to see clothes worn on a diverse range of models, and on models who look like them, over traditional models. Nearly 8 in 10 (78 per cent) stated they feel more relevant, better about their bodies, and/or inspired to try new styles when they see women in the fashion industry who look similar to them.
Fashion has gone through a huge transition as a result of Covid-19, accelerating the adoption of channels outside of retail; concurrently, culture is changing and consumers want to shop from, and see themselves represented in, brands with aligned values that they feel are catering to them. We all need to get dressed every day, and we want to feel good about what we are wearing. As a result, there will always be a market for fashion, but the winners will be those who make women feel seen, represented and served. We believe the path to achieving this is to show clothing on a diverse range of bodies, considering height, shape, size, ethnicity, ability, and age.
Sarah Neill is CEO and founder of fashion app Mys Tyler.