Alvanon is the largest maker of mannequin body forms in the world. The Manhattan-based company uses a device called AlvaScan to create these forms — which are then used to create clothing sizes. "We are so diverse that in any given size, there are probably four or six different body types that are represented," says the company's president, Ed Gribbin.
This technology sounds more sophisticated than what I stepped into at the travelling Graham & Gunn booth at Costco. (AlvaScan says they're using millimeter-wave scanners; the Graham & Gunn booth uses visible light.)
AlvaScan's webpage shows a Levi's booth in China. Weren't they doing something like this in the States a while back?
I wasn't overly impressed by the Graham & Gunn booth partly because it became clear that their measuring staff--they supplement the machine scan with some hand measuring--were not particularly skilled. (I took bedfull_o_books, who does this sort of thing for theatre, and she stepped in when staff failed to take my chest measurement correctly.)
If AlvaScan does all of its scanning by machine that would be interesting. I can't speak to how things go from dress form to actual person--I'm sure bedfull can, but she's across an ocean from me right now--but my guess is that body movement would make a big difference.