It all started with a half-dressed woman on a Hong Kong bus. Around 18 months ago, Laura Coppen, sustainable and circular business developer at Hennes & Mauritz, found herself partially clothed and undertaking a 3-D body scan in the mobile laboratory run by the start-up, Unspun.
The start-up, with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong, has developed software that scans a human body, then converts that information into a paper pattern, which can then be used to make jeans that fit better. The company, which says it has the goal of reducing “global carbon emissions by at least 1 percent through automated, localized and intentional manufacturing” had already won one of H&M’s Global Change awards in 2017. In December that year, the Unspun team had converted a van into a pop-up fitting room and was driving it around some of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping areas to market the idea. Coppen was there to try it out.
“It was a strange thing at first, to be getting undressed in a bus in the middle of Hong Kong,” Coppen admitted — to do the 3-D scan, you need to be wearing fitting clothes like, for example, leggings and an undershirt.