THE National Consumer Institute has started the first stage of a study to find the average shape of Spanish women and help standardise the size of clothing.
And, coming in the wake of the controversy over skinny models, it is also expected to serve to promote a healthy image.
In the first stage, 300 women from Madrid, Tarancon (Cuenca) and Qartell (Valencia), who have been selected randomly, will be subjected to an anthropometric study by staff from the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia.
In presenting the study, Angeles Heras, the director general of consumer affairs, explained that the results will be announced at the end of spring and will be analysed by ministry of health and consumer affairs officials and the fashion trade.
The results will show the body shapes and sizes of Spanish women, according to age, and will be used to define standard patterns and to redefine the sizing of clothes in Spanish shops, bringing it in line with the reality of women's shapes, Heras said.
The study will later be extended to the rest of Spain. It will take a year, and will involve 8'500 women aged between 12 and 70, selected at random from all over Spain. They will be invited to take part in the study by a letter signed by health minister Elena Salgado.
The anthropometric study will be done in a cabin measuring 2x2 metres wide and three metres high, in which a vertical laser will take 130 measurements in 30 seconds. They will provide images in three dimensions. At the same time, scales situated in the base of the cabin will indicate the woman's weight.
Staff of the Biomechanic Institute of Valencia will also measure skin folds, to discover the degree of fat accumulated under the skin.
Top Spanish designer Adolfo Domínguez said that it would not be easy to standardise clothes sizes because measurements are standardised already adding that all that had to be done is change the name of the size and this won't be useful because the style will still be different.