Aston involved in National Childrenswear Survey

3D body scan study
Representation of 11-year-old boy in 1978 compared to 11-year-old in 2010

19 March 2012

Aston University is working with major high street retailers in a project to upgrade measurements in children’s clothing. Shape GB is the first ever national sizing survey using 3D body scanners and is now in phase two, measuring boys and girls aged 0-4.

The part public funded study involving Universities, retailers and specialists in 3D measurement announced key findings from the first phase in April 2011, highlighting changes in children since 1978 and how body shape has changed since then. 

The sponsoring retailers, Next, Monsoon, Shop Direct and George at ASDA have started to improve and upgrade their own measurements using the data from Phase 1, which measured children aged 4-17 years old. The next phase of Shape GB, the measurement of babies and toddlers is the first comprehensive measurement for over 30 years and sponsored by M&S and Tesco. All retailers involved in the researchwill work in collaboration on implementation of the Shape GB data from both phases for the retail industry and beyond.

Boys and girls aged 0-4 years old will be measured across England, Scotland and Wales, to obtain a representative sample of Great Britain. Over 20,000 manual measurements will be collected for Phase 2, managed by Select Research,which will provide data on over 600 babies and toddlers. The scope of the new anonymous data set will offer opportunities for further insight on changes in children’s body shape for clothing manufacturers, retailers, sports scientists, academics and for ongoing development of the new obesity measurement; the Body Volume Index in due course.

Richard Barnes, MD of Select Research and Project Director for Shape GB explained the significance of the new data: “There are national healthcare studies, which measure height, weight and waist circumference of babies and children, but these alone do not tell the full story. Body shapes of young children change very quickly as they grow and so leg length, chest width and the combination of numerous measurements can offer insight into how clothes can be manufactured more accurately. This also offers us a better understanding of what these changes in body shape really mean in other areas of life”.

The first phase of measurement for Shape GB will take place in Birmingham, Cardiff, West London and Edinburgh. For more information and for parents to register their children to take part, please visit

For further media information contact Kreesha Pattani, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or

Notes to editors:

About Shape GB:

Shape GB is the first National Childrenswear Survey to measure children and the first using 3D body scanners, creating automated and accurate measurements for 4-17 year olds. Measurement of 0-4 year old boys and girls will be undertaken manually and Shape GB is the first comprehensive measurement survey on children since the privately commissioned Childrenswear Survey by M&S in 2000 and the publicly available British Standard (BS 7231: Part 1 & Part 2: 1990).which was based on data collected in 1978.

The collaborating organisations in the UK on Shape GB are: Aston University, George at ASDA, University of Hull, University of Hertfordshire, Loughborough University, M&S, Manchester Metropolitan University, Monsoon, Next, Select Research, Shop Direct Group and Tesco.

The six retailers sponsoring Shape GB account for 39% of the UK childrenswear market in value terms and 47% of the UK childrenswear market in volume terms. *

* Kantar Worldpanel – For the time period of 52 weeks w/e 25th December 2011 (compared to 52 weeks w/e 26th December 2010)