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Shape Shifters

A closer look at Euveka’s morphable mannequins

When designing for multiple body types, good designers need to design and refit their garments for each figure, allowing for the many shapes bodies take and the ways that shape changes with time or activity.

That means lots of mannequins—big, small, short, tall, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, wide-hipped, and everything in between. It would be nice to just be able to dial in the exact size and shape you’re designing for, right?

That’s exactly what Euveka’s scalable mannequin does.

Packed with mechatronic, IT, and material technology, Euveka’s mannequin uses bio-mimicry to replicate, as closely as possible, morphological diversity, such as age, geographic origin, body aging, and illness.

Under its standard soft, pin-friendly cover is a set of mechanisms that can change all kinds of measurements, quickly and seamlessly (pun intended). Shoulders, bust, chest, waist, hips, thighs, and height can be independently adjusted, as well as general girth—allowing for the realistic replication of body types from a five-foot pregnant woman to a six-foot tall athlete. Driven by a design software, the mannequin can evolve integrally or by zone, in height or in width, in less than two minutes.

All of Euveka’s mannequins come with spare covers specially designed to visualize the plumb lines of the human body, and it’s Eminéo mannequin (it’s female form) also comes with a box of silicone breast inserts ranging from A to E cups in order to model a realistic bust.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal, the founder of Euveka, says she was inspired by her mother, who could never find dresses that fit, when she created her mannequin. Starting her career as a specialist in industrial property law, she dropped out of a master’s degree at Harvard to turn to fashion. To understand if there was a market gap, she studied fashion design and interned for Lanvin’s subcontractors Lefranc Ferrant and at e-commerce site Zapa. She saw an opportunity in sizing and sampling within the industry, and in 2010, set up Euveka. And now the company is the French leader in mass customization process for the garment industry.

“The world of fashion tech is still very new,” says Bergenthal. “Our biggest challenge was not only to make changes to our first models, but also to prove to production and manufacturing directors the real economic and qualitative impact and value our mannequins could provide to their channels.”

Since its formation, Euveka has taken the industry by storm. Its mannequin project is supported by LVMH through the Station F start-up campus in Paris. In 2017 Euveka won the ANDAM Innovation Prize, and in January of last year it won an innovation award at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Not to mention Euveka has secured €3.5 million (almost $4 million) in two rounds of funding to finance the development of the mannequin, and has also participated in workshops in New York and Los Angeles to introduce its innovation to the U.S. market.

And these accolades aren’t going unnoticed by change-makers in the apparel industry. Euveka’s mannequins are aimed at designers in all sectors of the fashion industry, from custom-made haute couture to mass market and sports, so its draw is much wider than just making beautiful garments for multiple figures. It is said to be able to recreate 80 percent of female morphologies for Caucasion and Asian women (and soon men’s and children’s), with heights ranging from 1.55 to 1.80 meters, from size 8 to 18 (in European sizing), and a range of body types from 17 to 70 years old.

These mannequins also have environmental benefits by helping to reduce textile waste from unnecessary samples, which also ultimately helps to slash prototyping costs. And once the garment’s prototype is created, the mannequin is able to discover any defects, working as a quality control tool.

“Thanks to our software, we can be better, greener, and faster, while reducing mistakes and textile waste in our production,” notes Bergenthal. “Also at Euveka, our products are eco-designed, 100 percent made in France, and guaranteed without obsolescence. Our packaging is recyclable and sustainable. And our company is based on an internal and external environmental logic. So from production to recycling, we urge to minimize our carbon footprint.”

The most obvious downside is that while one Euveka mannequin can replace dozens, it can only be used for one garment at a time—five traditional mannequins, of course, could wear multiple garments, and be worked on by five designers.

Its other downside is the price. You can lease one mannequin for €3,000 ($3,425) per month, or buy one outright for €96,000 ($109,627). That may explain why their early partners are major fashion houses like Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Work is just beginning on the Euveka line, however: research and development is still ongoing, both to improve the existing model and to add new parts and shapes. And the company is planning on opening an office in New York at the beginning of 2019, and Shanghai in 2020.

“We are working on a huge R&D program, which will allow us to offer a men and children’s model, as well as parts of the body with pressure, shock, and toxicity indicators,” explains Bergenthal. “Our ambition is to create for the textile and clothing industry easy access to new production technologies and facilitate their transition into the world of digital technology and customization.”

For more information, visit www.euveka.com.

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