3D Won’t Replace Traditional Fashion Design (It Will Make it Better)

By Lauriane
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dressmaking still life - pink measure tape, pins, thimble, shears on fabrics

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?

black-and-white-modelHumans 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.


joshua-black-whiteDesigners 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:

3D Design and Validation for CTO Products (eBook)

By Matthew
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Customizing products to customer requirements helps manufacturers differentiate and drive higher margins. Creating variants of a single, global product to meet local needs and preferences helps them get to market fast on a global scale. But offering multiple product variants in either of these scenarios creates a tremendous amount of complexity. This complexity results in overburdened engineers, slow quote response times, and costly mistakes. What if companies could take advantage of configured products without having to invest so much time and effort in designing custom-engineered orders?  Or put so much time and energy into creating a quote with a reasonable level of confidence? Or suffer from errors?

As discussed in the new eBook from Tech-Clarity‘s founder and President, Jim Brown, 3D Design and Validation for Configure-to-Order, there are ways to make life easier at order time.  The eBook shares best practices uncovered by Tech-Clarity’s research and practical experiences from GE Power’s Jeff Erno. The answer is to shift as much design and validation as possible “left,” or earlier in the product development process. This helps resolve a lot of the headaches that happen when quotes or orders require engineering effort to estimate costs, create designs, and prepare manufacturing documentation.

CTO-imageThe eBook discusses the value of a configure-to-order (CTO) approach. While there are many products that have to be produced using engineer-to-order (ETO) techniques, and many more that have some elements of ETO, companies that can move the bulk of the workload earlier in the process can create an advantage by responding more rapidly to customers. They also give themselves better insight into costs so they can develop more accurate, confident quotes.

CTO comes with its own complications, of course. One approach that companies use to configure products to order, for example, is creating multiple CAD assemblies in advance. Unfortunately, this is very time-consuming and makes incorporating changes a nightmare. Instead, companies can design across configurations using an approach called the “150% BOM” or “max case” design. This includes all possible combinations in a single CAD model. With the right ability to filter based on configuration options, this can help companies reduce design and validation complexity without having to create a library full of assemblies. Our research also suggests that using a modular design approach leads to better results, and makes this “shift left” easier.

CTO-J-BrownIn addition to designing in a configured context, there are other things manufacturers can do to reduce time and effort when it matters most – when the customer is waiting. Our research shows that rules-based design, design automation, and configurators help manufacturers achieve better financial performance. As the eBook concludes, “Using the right processes and 3D configuration technology, manufacturers can improve efficiency, streamline order processes, reduce errors, and develop accurate quotes much more quickly.”

CTO-J-ErnoManufacturers of “to order” products should investigate the ability to shift design left and leverage automation to streamline quotes, orders, and manufacturing.  While not all products are CTO candidates, and many will have “specials” that require engineering at order time, a shift left can result valuable quote and order performance improvements.

Read the eBook, 3D Design and Validation for Configure-to-Order to find out more about how manufacturers can leverage best practices and technology to improve CTO results.

Shifting Design Process: The Cassiopeia Camera Experience

By Estelle
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Understanding the needs of multidisciplinary creative teams

This Article has been written by Teshia Treuhaft and originally appeared at Core 77

The evolution of design as a professional practice is one regularly impacted by developments in other fields. As designers, we often sit squarely between disciplines, streamlining and humanizing products for greater usability and appeal in the end result.

Never has the requirement to work between disciplines been as important as it is today. As industrial design becomes increasingly interwoven with service design, user experience design, engineering, manufacturing and more—designers must act as the bonding agent for teams producing innovative products.

In an effort to further understand these emerging hybrid teams of designers, managers and engineers, companies are going as far as studying the trend of co-creation to optimize for social ideation and more collaboration. Likewise, with the speed of technology and pace of product development, having tools and solutions that allow companies to build faster is proving a greater advantage than ever before.

 

In order to research the way teams work from the inside out, Dassault Systèmes put together a creative team to design the Cassiopeia Camera Experience. Cassiopeia is a concept for a connected camera that has the functionality of a digital SLR, and allows the user to sketch over photos and scan objects or textures. The team took Cassiopeia from inspiration phase to design validation, allowing Dassault Systèmes to gather first-hand knowledge of the needs of each team member and design solutions that directly enhance social ideation and creative design among the group.

Cassiopeia Camera Experience

Using this research, it becomes clear as the project progresses through different phases, that the requirements of each contributor change and communication between parties gains complexity. While each phase builds on the next, a well equipped team will be able to regularly come together during each phase for design validation.

We decided to take a deeper look at development of the Cassiopeia project for unique insight into the inner workings of a team—one that is not only building a product but a holistic experience.

Inspiration Phase

The inspiration phase of any product demands input from a number of key players inside and outside the company. This is often done by compiling references in the form of articles, visuals, sketches and more. A product manager typically leads this phase, however every member of the team can provide valuable input at this fledgling stage.

Team gathers references and inspiration to define key functions of the product

Communication at the inspiration phase must support amassing source material and then distillation until a key concept emerges. The inspiration phase is particularly important for connected devices like Cassiopeia. In this case, the design team faces not only the task of designing the camera, but also the connected functionality. The complex use cases and physicality of the product must be developed in tandem during this phase for a unified end user experience.

Ideation Phase

Once the inspiration is clear to the team, the work of narrowing the idea down to a discrete set of requirements is the next step. This ideation phase moves the product from discussion of the concept into a physical form for the first time. For this phase, creative designers are tasked to visualize the product for the team, iterate together and repeat.

Rough sketches gives the product a form factor that can discussed and refined at later stages

Sketching in this phase is essential. It allows the team to understand possible variations and begin to make decisions about a number of factors. During ideation, the ergonomic and functional aspects of Cassiopeia merge for the first time into a rough form factor that can be communicated to the team.

Concept Design Phase

Once the product is visualized for the first time using the 3D sketches, the next step is to model the product at scale. An industrial designer will typically model the product in 3D, testing and refining design variations from the ideation phase.

An industrial designer adds scale and refines features of device. 

With Cassiopeia, this is the phase where shapes begins to emerge and the conversation about the product shifts from conceptual to physical. The goals of the design must be clarified and communicated clearly so that the product can seamlessly transition from a design into a physical object that can be considered from a manufacturability standpoint.

Detail Design Phase

Once the industrial designer has taken the design from concept sketch to 3D model, a design engineer takes the model and considers it from engineering and manufacturing perspective. This shift from design of the device to engineering of the device is a careful balance to retain as much of the original concept for the form factor as possible.

Foresight during the detail design phase offers ease of manufacturing and greater success in the final product.

This is a key matter of communication between the engineer and designer in order to deliver a product that not only is aesthetically aligned with the inspiration – but also can be manufactured. For Cassiopeia, this requires a seemingly subtle but highly important refinement of surfaces and geometry.

Design Validation Phase

In the final step, the team must simulate the product in order to engage in discussion and finalize the design. Design validation occurs both in the final steps and at regular intervals during the development. There are two main forms this validation takes, led by a visual experience designer and a physical prototyper. A visual experience designer will create a number of detailed renders, while the physical prototyper will develop physical 3D models.

Visualizing decisions is essential to engage key players inside and outside the team

For Cassiopeia this is a key phase as the camera has a number of complex parts, surfaces and functions. Regular design validation throughout the process gives access to all members of the team to make decisions about the final product. When collaboration is managed well, the multidisciplinary team will arrive at the validation phase having shared expertise at each step of the design process. As a result, the final prototype is a true reflection of their shared vision and is reached more quickly than ever before.

The development process of any electronic device is challenging for teams looking to innovate in their respective spheres. As consumer’s expectations increase for well-designed objects that provide comprehensive product experiences, the ability of teams to collaborate and move quickly will be increasingly valuable. The extent to which teams can effectively collaborate will be a defining factor for success – both for the team and the products they create.

To read more about Dassault Systèmes Solutions and Social Ideation and Creative Design, check out their website and webinar.



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