Universal Standard's mission is to create elevated essentials for everyone, and to represent underrepresented people and bodies in fashion. The brand's basics range and jeans are offered in sizes 00 to 40, making Universal Standard one of the most size inclusive brands on the market. Now, Universal Standard launched the innovative See It In Your Size tool on its site, which quickly sorts denim and shows you every pair of jeans the brand makes on models who wear your exact size. With the simple click of a button, the Universal Standard site becomes a bespoke experience and acts like your very own denim closet. It'll change how you shop for jeans.
The tool's functionality is incredibly impressive. It assists you with choosing the right pair and, according to brand co-founder Alex Waldman, it can help you build a better wardrobe.
"If you see everything in your size, you can plan better," Waldman tells Bustle during a phone interview. "Knowing how difficult it is to find representation in different sizes, we thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to see the full range of sizes and not guess? Wouldn't it be great to see yourself in that piece of clothing?'"
Giving customers the option to see how the jeans look on a real person who is the same size was quite the undertaking. But it was well worth it. "Shooting everything in every single size was hard," Waldman says, noting that locating fit models for all sizes proved challenging since many are not represented by agencies.
In order to show how their jeans look in real life and to a broad spectrum of women, the Universal Standard team knew it had to adopt a unique approach.
"We had to provide the comfort of a traditional perspective, where you see [jeans] on different models," Waldman shares about how to shop jeans on the site. "What we changed is that you now see models of all sizes mixed in together. You see a size 2 and a size 14 and a size 24. It's a mixture and representation that's in the real world."
From there, shoppers can choose a particular pair that they like, click on See It In Your Size, and view it on a model who is their size. Or they can opt to see their size across the full range of jeans.
Beyond denim, Waldman notes that the brand's goal is "to make sure a size 26 woman has the size quality and style options that a size 6 has always had." It's not a simple matter of making a piece of clothing bigger either. Not. Even. Close.
Designers don't simply add more fabric or lengthen a seam. All elements, such as the fit, cut, shape, and style, have to be considered.
"There are so many technical aspects," Waldman shares, noting that there are cost increases, as well. "Many companies use a formula to grade up but that's like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. By time you get to eighth copy, you can no longer read what's on the page. That grading formula doesn't work."
Instead, Universal Standard follows a system called "micrograding," which assesses the difference between size jumps and adjusts accordingly.
Extended sizing and the See It In Your Size tool are a part of the brand's ethos, which Waldman says is "democratizing, unifying, and embracing size." But it goes above and beyond that. "What's really important is the quality and style of the pieces you are bringing to all consumers, and making them feel respected," Waldman states. "We believe they have great taste — regardless of their size."
Universal Standard is thrilled to bring a new way of thinking to fashion and to disrupt the basics category, which takes time, effort, and a financial investment.
"People have been resting on their laurels for way too long," Waldman says. "It's always been this way, so that's how it's going to be? We approached it in the opposite way. Let's break it and make something better."