There’s something about fashion apparel that inspires people. It is, perhaps, the oldest craft, art form, and profession in the world, evolving from the simple utility of animal skins to the modern, purpose-built, tech apparel of today. People are passionate about their clothes: the fit, the color, the style, and the way it compliments their form. And why not? There are so many aspects to enjoy about apparel. There is the coziness of fleece or the comfort of a tee-shirt. Fabrics that, because of the thread construction, shimmer like fluttering fall leaves. There is the bliss of finding those pants with the perfect fit that seem to effortlessly compliment the human form.
Apparel is a fundamentally physical experience, so how can we hope to improve the experience with the cold preciseness of digital technology?
Humans tend to be binary in nature: plus or minus, black or white, either/or. The reality is that there is so little in life that is totally clear cut. The truth is generally found all along the line between the extremes, and so it is with physical and digital fashion design. Fashion design is, and always will be, about how a physical garment looks and feels on the body. But the fact remains that there are certain things that are either difficult, or impossible, to do in the real world. Many of these things, however, can be extremely easy to accomplish in the digital domain.
For instance, when creating a physical garment, there is no way to instantly change its color, material, or shape. Further, it takes a massive amount of effort to rearrange a physical retail space in order to try different assortments, layouts, and fixtures. However, making these types of changes are nearly instantaneous in the digital world. And although the digital realm is very good about showing options and allowing you to make changes, it can tell you very little about how a garment feels and nothing about the quality of its construction. And it’s because of this last flaw in digital tools that many in the fashion world often throw these tools out completely.
But is there a middle ground? Is it possible to have the benefits of digital while retaining the authenticity of physical?
Many industries have moved to a digitalized concept, a digital version of tangible things has many of the same attributes of its physical counterpart, such as size, weight, bendability, stretchiness, color, texture, etc. The idea behind this is that different scenarios can be tested on it far more quickly and efficiently than having to take the time to construct and test versions physically. This is done routinely in aerospace and automotive industries where real mechanical physics are applied to digital vehicles, which are flown or driven many times before a single physical part is ever created.
So, can 3D be applied to apparel and fashion? Many companies now are using the right tools to make their fashion brands more powerful.
Designers can sketch their ideas on a 3D form to get a clear idea of how a garment will look from all angles. Garments can be simulated with actual material physics to see how they drape and fit long before fabric is ever cut. A multitude of retail assortment ideas can be tested in a digital space without having to construct and make constant changes to a physical showroom. The result? A physical garment that is truer to the designers’ intent, in less time, and with less expense, with a physical retail experience for the consumer that is more pleasing and relevant. For the brand that moves to digital, it means improved sales, increased margins, and a happier consumer.
Take a journey with Joshua Young, 3D product creation expert and a veteran of almost 20 years with Nike, who explains the limitations of existing apparel methods and how using innovative solutions for apparel is changing the game for apparel brands and consumers.
Learn more about 3D in Consumer Goods, Fashion and Retail:
- Discover My Collection: Dassault Systèmes PLM Solution for Fashion, Consumer Goods & Retail Industry
- IDC Marketscape Report: Dassault Systèmes named as a Leader in Product Innovation and PLM for Fashion & Retail Companies
- Transforming your apparel business with 3D product creation by Joshua Young, Digital Product Creation Consultant
- Digital Transformation: from Concept to Shelf, an APPAREL MAG Whitepaper