On March 26th 2011 Thailand had it’s Miss Universe event and Chanyasorn Sakornchan was crowned the winner … don’t tell me how I missed this, but I did. I accidently came across the photos today and had to kick myself having just spent 2 months in Chiang Mai! Ok the event was in Bangkok but its only a quick flight! Anyway, while looking at the photos I found something incredibly obvious that’s very important for Western designers to look at … body shape. Young Asian women generally have a small bust and hips … as such their waist (although equally smaller) doesn’t appear to exist because their body length is also very short. As such, in a one piece swimsuit they look like a cylinder … not so in a bikini however.
If you take a look at the rest of the photos there are individual shots of each of the girls and it’s clearer to see than in the group photo. This is a perfect example of how demographics plays a very important part in sizing … know your market. so many times I’ve heard of Western designers trying to sell their range in Asia without changing it to suit the Asian figure type … the photos in that link should demonstrate how short sighted this is. Then of course you have variations between countries in Asia … eg; Japanese women generally have even smaller waists, Chinese women have longer body lengths with respect to leg length, Burmese women have shorter body length and leg length than most Asian Women and Thai women have a deeper arch that makes it look like they have a bit of a tummy. OK these are all generalisations, but they are reasonable considerations when it comes to designing for a particular market!
All that said, the majority of Asian women don’t seem to know how to swim!