About StringKing Apparel
At StringKing, we’ve always been dedicated to practicing inclusivity in every area of our business, promoting equity in our industry more broadly, and sharing our passion for the sports we love. Through StringKing’s Make The Game Initiative and our former Buy 1 Give 1 program, we strive to make lacrosse accessible to underserved communities by providing lacrosse gear to those who may not be able to afford it otherwise. We have also partnered with organizations like the US Lacrosse Diversity & Inclusion program and dozens of others organizations and individuals working at local and international levels to make things better.
StringKing Apparel is no different.
Our aim is to help everyone purchase perfect-fitting clothes no matter their body type. We strive to offer high quality products at reasonable prices through a process that is fast and simple. We want to improve confidence in people’s day to day lives by providing clothing they feel confident in.
Our competitors have an approximate 4 week delivery time and only sell high end products like suits and dress shirts. The majority of our competitors also have their garments manufactured abroad. StringKing apparel breaks this mold: our apparel is made within a day or two right here at our headquarters in Los Angeles.
When we first started, we thought that in order for our custom fit system to work, people would need to take physical measurements of themselves. We quickly found this process did not render accuracy in fit.
So, we tried a new approach. We purchased a large dataset of human body scans with an accompanying questionnaire. We put our math educations to use and used a combination of statistics and machine learning to use the questionnaire data to predict human body measurements. We found that our algorithm was much more accurate than self-reported measurements and resulted in better-fitting clothes. In fact, our algorithm predicts body dimensions within 3% error on average.
We have spent three years working on our apparel technology. We have created our own garment design software, body dimension prediction algorithm, automated manufacturing robotics, and garment sewing operation. Our technologies give us some significant advantages over competitors.
Customers only need to answer a questionnaire. They don’t need to take photos of themselves, have a friend measure them, or go to store to get measured.
We have lowered our costs enough that we can sell reasonably low-cost garments.
We have an approximate 24hr production time versus competitors’ 3-4 week production time.
While we currently only offer men’s t-shirts, we have a lot of other garments and women’s apparel in development. As our system grows, we will be adding high end products like winter jackets. As we develop these new items, it is even more important that our garments fit as well as possible. So, our current focus is on improving and scaling our technology to new garments in development.
Every individual’s set of beliefs about their bodies is personal.
We acknowledge that some of the questions in our fitting questionnaire may be personal and understand that subjects pertaining to physical appearance, shape, and size can be especially fraught for individuals who have experienced any form of discrimination or victimization due to their physical appearance. We also recognize certain groups and communities have been and continue to be targeted for their race, gender, and other identities.
We assure you any information we request regarding gender, ethnic descent, or other identity-related items on the questionnaire is done so solely and exclusively for the purpose of ensuring your apparel fits you and your body as perfectly as possible.
So why are we asking about ethnicity?
When we launched our custom apparel line, our immediate priority was establishing a process that would enable us to produce extremely well-fitting custom apparel for everyone. In our initial body prediction algorithm, we included metrics like height, weight, gender, and age. We decided against including “ethnicity” as one of our predictors because it didn’t seem relevant. We thought, why would we give customers the option to add their ethnicity when buying a t-shirt? What does ethnicity have to do with a t-shirt?
However, as we went through round after round of fit testing, we noticed that we were failing to consistently fit every individual correctly. We specifically noticed that we were fitting white people better than people of color.
We were falling short of our standards for a significant portion of our customers, and took this very seriously. We incorporated the “ethnicity” variable into the algorithm immediately noticed our margin of error decreased significantly. The people we had been failing to fit correctly were much happier with the improved fit. That happiness is what we are all about. We want to spread that feeling to as many people as possible.
Mathematically this made sense. Our dataset was a random sampling of people across the United States, meaning that most of the people scanned in our dataset were white. Without “ethnicity” as a predictor, our models were skewed to fit the majority white ethnic group. When we added “ethnicity” as a predictor, we significantly reduced this bias in fit.
Encouraged by the positive impact of this metric, we immediately incorporated it into our questionnaire without fully considering the historical use of physiological pseudoscience to perpetuate racism and oppression in the United States. We were mortified to learn that our attempt to fit all kinds of people better had been associated with this ugly history. We failed to explain what we typically extrapolate from this data and, and perhaps more importantly, we did not clarify what we do not intend to extrapolate from this data.
We apologize for any pain or offense we have caused by incorporating ethnicity into our questionnaire without offering any context or clarity. We accept full responsibility for this uncharacteristically insensitive error in judgment. We are currently working with members of the community and with trained research specialists to make our questionnaire and data systems culturally competent and reflective of our real values.
We also want to make it clear that “ethnicity” has and always will be optional information provided by our customers. Any customer that does not wish to provide this information is encouraged to not provide it. And again, we assure you any information we request is solely and exclusively for the purpose ensuring that your apparel fits you and your body as perfectly as possible.
Please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or concerns. We are always looking to get more feedback on these issues, and are happy to address any questions.