Jeans That Fit

They don't make them. They don't stock them. They simply match buyers with the right brands

By Maria M. Lameiras

Tilatti

CHRIS STRONG/ COURTESY OF CHICAGOBOOTH MAGAZINE

REMADE TO ORDER “We believe it is time that clothes were made to fit you, not the other way around,” says Liz Kammel-Tilatti, founder of ZipFit Denim.

Back when Liz Kammel-Tilatti 07C was working a high school job selling jeans at a Gap store, she could tell from watching customers that it was hard for many people—men and women—to find a good fit.

Now she’s created a business with the mission of making sure every customer gets the perfect pair. Kammel-Tilatti is the founder of ZipFit Denim (zipfitdenim.com), which uses technology to recommend the best-fit designer jeans for each customer’s unique body type, and offers free custom alterations so your jeans truly fit you like they were made for you.

The idea for the business ignited while Kammel-Tilatti was enrolled in the part-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She and her carpool buddies spent hours on the road from Indianapolis to Chicago every weekend, and she discovered they all had something in common. They hated to shop, especially for jeans.

This resonated with Kammel-Tilatti, who’d struggled for most of her life to find jeans to fit her small waist and athletic thighs. An economics and math major at Emory, she hit department stores around Chicago with a measuring tape and an Excel spreadsheet to measure hundreds of types of jeans and genes to create a fitting formula that would match body types with jeans brands.

“A lot of people have got a go-to brand, but even with premium denim, about 90 percent of our customers need alterations, and we do that as a benefit,” Kammel-Tilatti says. “We want to get the tailoring correct.”

ZipFit runs on an e-commerce and showroom model, with in-person fittings at the company’s Chicago location. ZipFit’s experts ask customers a series of questions about fitting challenges and what a customer is looking for in a pair of jeans, then offer a variety of sample brands and styles for the customer to try on.

“Once they find a pair they like, we measure for alterations in that pair and then they can pick out whatever color they want,” she says. “We don’t stock inventory, so we can get them in any color the brand makes that’s in stock.”

Customers also can get a virtual fitting online with a fit expert who uses technology and a customer’s measurements to choose the right designer brand, style, and size.

Alterations, shipping, and returns are all free, and jeans are priced at the brand’s suggested retail price, so there’s no markup for the service. And the company offers a one-year warranty on every pair of jeans they sell.

Recently, a couple of players from the Chicago Cubs dropped by the showroom and ordered pink pants after a fitting. Other famous customers include former NFL stars Deion Sanders and Troy Aikman.

“Word of mouth has been a pretty big source of growth for us. When we fit one athlete, they tell their friends,” Kammel-Tilatti says.

The company’s marketing team also reaches out to corporations to offer onsite pop-up shops for their employees.

In early June, Kammel-Tilatti received several emails from customers who work for global professional services organization EY after the company announced that its offices were going jeans-friendly.

She did some research and discovered that Mark Weinberger 83C, global chair and CEO for EY, was a fellow Emory graduate. She’s since reached out to his assistant to offer Weinberger a free fitting and pair of jeans to honor the company’s new policy.

“We carry men’s waist sizes 28 to 50 and women’s waist sizes 22 to 34 in lengths up to a 38-inch inseam, and women’s plus sizes 14 to 30,” she says. “No matter what, we can fit you. We want you to feel good and look good. We want people to feel confident in their own skin.”

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