Amy Sperber: Fashion Avatars: a Database for Diverse Bodies


Amy Sperber: Fashion Avatars: a Database for Diverse Bodies
Contributor Names
Sperber, Amy
Four faculty received release time under the Center for Innovation Research Release Time Program, which was established last year to provide two semesters of release time for classroom faculty to pursue innovative research projects at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; they began working on-site in Spring 2020, but had to continue their efforts remotely. They will be presenting their research on the following topics: Keith Ellenbogen - Ocean Visualization: Discovering New York; Alexander Nagel - Antiquities Among Us: A Collaboration on the Fate of Brooklyn Navy Yard's First Old-World Museum Collections; Theanne Schiros - Materials Science-Led Design for Innovation in Sustainability; Amy Sperber - Fashion Avatars: a Database for Diverse Bodies.
In addition to these presentations, attendees learned more about the Innovation Center at FIT, including how to apply for release time. We will also be joined by Lucia DeRespinis, Executive Director of the Office of Grants & Sponsored Programs, who will be sharing insight on working with their office to secure grants.
One of the first faculty members to conduct research at the FIT Center for Innovation, FIT's latest outpost at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Amy Sperber has continued her work on the Open Source Fashion Avatars project. Thanks to support from the FIT community, Sperber has been able to continue her work and expand her catalogue of avatars. This project, which began in the Winter 2019 semester, seeks to create accurate avatars for designers and customers alike, featuring different body types from each stage of life: from teenage development to pregnancy to postmenopause. These avatars take into account the physical changes of aging and more accurately reflect the nontraditional bodies that ultimately wear the clothing designers dream up. The database of avatars could be imported into 3D fashion design software, such as CLO 3D, or Photoshop, or they could be printed directly from the website, serving as a flexible asset that could be applied in a variety of formats.
Over the last century, the fashion industry has been designing dress forms to mimic the fashion silhouette of the moment, standardized for manufacturing ease. These forms, however, fail to take into account the bodies that fall outside of this narrow spectrum. It is common practice for designers to scale up from a size 6 to a size 12; this process, however, negates the nuances of various body types. Today, there is still a lack of diverse body sizes in clothing. To encourage design for diverse body types, Sperber is creating an open-source online database of 3D avatars with realistic bodies that have belly fat, curves, and even aged appearances.
Amy Sperber is a multidisciplinary fashion designer focused on innovative technical approaches and design thinking, aimed at creating sustainable systems and creative solutions in clothing. She holds her BFA and MFA in Fashion Design from FIT and teaches in the undergraduate Fashion Design program.
Moving Image
Avatars (Virtual reality)
Clothing and dress
Body image
Human body in popular culture
Human body--Social aspects
Fashion merchandising
Fashion--Social aspects
New York Naval Shipyard
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Center for Innovation Research Release Time Program


FIT Faculty and Staff Work


Fashion Institute of Technology. (2020, December 1). Amy Sperber: Fashion Avatars: a Database for Diverse Bodies [Video]. Archive on Demand.
Fashion Institute of Technology. "Amy Sperber: Fashion Avatars: a Database for Diverse Bodies." Archive on Demand, 1 Dec. 2020,
Fashion Institute of Technology, "Amy Sperber: Fashion Avatars: a Database for Diverse Bodies," Archive on Demand, December 1, 2020, video,