Written by Sharon Lim, Browzwear CEO
This post was originally published on WhichPLM

Volatility – the new norm 

The political climate and the economic instability that the world has been experiencing in recent years is resulting in growing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). Political posturing, trade protectionism, and retaliatory trade measures, intensifying natural disasters – some of which are at least partly attributable to climate change – are exacerbating an already difficult set of circumstances. These changes are affecting the business world in ways we have not seen before.

The fashion industry, which in the last 10 years has been characterized by a high level of unpredictability even in the best of days, is in a particularly precarious position. Social media and e-commerce have exposed consumers to trends / styles / news more rapidly and created more demand for wider choices & personal value shopping. These have made it challenging for retailers & brands to predict consumer preferences.

These can be influenced by any number of factors, including some as capricious as celebrities’ flavor of the month. Therefore, even the latest fashion can often have extremely short lifecycle. This makes forecasting demand with any degree of accuracy for a given period, let alone for a very short one, almost impossible.

Consequently, commercial success or failure in this industry is strongly linked to organizations’ level of agility which means it’s responsiveness and flexibility. Identifying changing trends, designing apparel that is in demand and getting it to the market before preferences change, as well as being able to deal with fluctuations in demand by scaling up and down promptly, are crucial to competitiveness and to success.

The solution: agility – rapid response

Agility increases sales. It’s that simple. While in the past the fashion industry operated by seasons, today new styles are continuously being launched. Agility affects organizations’ financial sustainability. Quick response improves the likelihood of successfully countering the unpredictability of a rapidly evolving marketplace.

An organization’s agility involves several parameters: its ability to respond quickly, either reactively or proactively, to detect changes; to exploit to the fullest the range of competencies that support efficient operation; to make the most of its available resources in a flexible manner; and to shorten lead times.

Diverse factors determine the level of agility and responsiveness. Some of the main ones are:

  • Supply chain partners

The effects of VUCA are causing organizations to rethink the way they operate with SCM partners they rely on, as they seek to minimize the risks of uncertainty and unpredictability.

Traditional outsourcing to remotely located SCMP is a cause for a longer lead time which the industry can ill-afford with today’s fast-changing environment. The fragmented workflow between design, development, manufacturing, and logistics all adds to the challenges especially when it is common that each of the roles & responsibilities is also located in different countries and managing the complexities of language, culture, rules & regulation often increases the volatility.

Furthermore, some of these countries are now more prone to suffer devastating natural disasters such as sudden flooding, which impacts on their vendors’ ability to reliably deliver their products on time. And now, the current trade tensions where tariffs that will impact the bottom line are very worrisome.

Relocate SCMP could likely also cause a problem as it will take time to source, build up new partnerships in other regions. While this delay may be temporary, it’s likely to negatively impact financial sustainability and also the ability to supply on time.

High-level process alignment, both within the organization and externally with partners, is also crucial to maintaining a responsive supply chain. And the more entities involved in the product lifecycle – from concept, through design and manufacture, to physical garments available on store shelves or in online stores – the greater the importance of smooth connectivity, as any delay in the transfer from one link of the chain to another slows down the process as a whole, and compounds the problem.

Such uncertainty means that some larger organizations are now implementing more flexible arrangements and working with a wider range of providers, often preferring small manufacturers that specialize in specific parts of the production process. For example, a certain retailer outsources labor-intensive work such as cutting & sewing, and with the help of the latest laser technology can carry out customized wash at an economic scale.

Such organizations have further optimized by providing support (logistical and technology, new workflow) to their SCMP to ensure continuous quality even with demands for tighter deadlines.

  • Inventory management

Optimizing inventory management also contributes to agility and to an organization’s overall performance. Being able to move inventory quickly through the supply chain is a critical success factor, as it prevents the need for large discounts when demand changes from forecast and avoids unwanted inventory pile up. It is no secret that a leaner & better inventory turn around often translate into a better margin for the organization.

I do believe that the industry can gradually transform from the current “Make to sell” to a “Sell and then make” model. And we have witnessed new brands and business models which support this.

Sustainability

Eliminating unnecessary inventory is also good practice from a sustainability viewpoint. This is one mission that drives the vision of BW to digitally transform the industry…. To eliminate the need for a physical until demand is validated. The fashion industry is the 2nd highest polluter of the earth and as much as possible, let’s not make until an organization knows it has been sold.

Technology is the key

Technological advances have made their way into the fashion industry, where their favorable impact is felt and appreciated. Without a well-planned, agile & connected product lifecycle, organizations have little chance of remaining sustainable. Harnessing technology is the answer.

Some technological solutions were developed for businesses in general, to help complete tasks efficiently and effectively and to eliminate errors, and can be customized to meet an industry’s or an organization’s specific needs. These include, for example, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, asset management software and inventory optimization software. Other technological solutions were developed specifically for the fashion industry, with its unique requirements in mind.

Fashion design software that creates one continuous workflow, advanced 3D design, development, & viewing capabilities, along with other features that supports automation, efficient transfer of information for manufacturing, allows expediting not only garment design, but also shortening lead time to bring the design to life. Thanks to these technologies, the need to order samples from vendors in distant countries, often repetitiously, has become obsolete. And importantly, as earlier mentioned, the avoidance of negative environmental effects will lead to sustainability which will positively impact the fashion industry’s reputation.

The emergence of trend prediction engines, consumer analytics platforms that give organizations new insights on consumers’ demands are powerful to support an organization as it plans it’s designed.

New digital materials platforms that support the fashion industry with digital libraries and costings help organizations to connect designers to available inventory and help to optimize the agility of an organization. For example, the integration of cost in such platforms to designers tools can simplify and expedite the creation & decision making of a design.

Process alignment can now be enhanced with the use of new generation web-based software that is connecting the different entities involved in the product lifecycle, regardless of their location on the globe. The flow of information and coordination, to achieve a high level of efficiency and improve responsiveness, are now much more straightforward than before, through flexible and powerful open platform ecosystems.

Yet it is also important to note that agility in the fashion industry requires changes, first in mindsets, organizational structures and practices, and oftentimes – radical ones. This is essential at a time when the industry must transform itself from being forecast-driven to being demand-driven, and adapt its response time to rapidly changing customer preferences in order to survive.

To move away from practices that were suitable for mass production and adopt new ones that are more market sensitive and economically agile, organizations must exploit the benefits of new tools, improve systems integration and networking, and align their processes to meet the challenges ahead.

Embracing technology is definitely a way to keep their heads above the stormy waters.

  • Do you spend countless hours on blending elements, aiming for a seamless look that is simply unattainable with the tools available to you? 
  • Do you find that transitioning back and forth between Photoshop and VStitcher / Lotta, again and again and again, disrupts your creative flow? 
  • Do you feel that technical limitations are cramping your artistic vision?

Browzwear’s trailblazing technology is pushing the envelope of digital fashion design yet again. Its new August edition of VStitcher and Lotta includes a revolutionary new feature: use lower layer maps, for flawless blending at a click of a mouse. And what’s more, the result is a genuinely true-to-life look!

Browzwear’s one-of-a-kind blending tool includes ‘overlay’ and ‘multiply’ options, in addition to the traditional ‘transparency’ mode, to enable you to easily create a garment with superior blending. With this amazing new tool, you’ll be able to apply the ‘wash’ effect on jeans, logos on knitwear, etc., with seamless integration of the artwork into the material of your choice. 

Simply check the use lower layer maps checkbox to inherit the lower level maps information as you edit your garment exclusively in VStitcher and Lotta, in one continuous, user-friendly and time-saving workflow. The inherited information will be applied to your 3D design, and the artwork will appear on your screen perfectly blended into the material with its innate properties fully on display – velvet with its characteristic shine, leather with its granular texture, etc. The 3D image on your screen will literally blow you away!  

But the good news doesn’t end there! Browzwear has developed use lower layer maps as a ‘live’ feature so that the inherited information will automatically be applied to any change you make as you continue your design process in VStitcher and Lotta.

The future of blending is here! It’s time to let your creative juices flow, unimpeded by outdated technology!

For more information please visit our support site.

Vector Workflow

  • Are you tired of seeing your vector-quality artwork being pixelated when you resize it? 
  • Do you wish you didn’t have to tediously export to Adobe Illustrator to change even one single color?
  • Does the design process then leave you frustrated and deflated, instead of elated?

No more!

Browzwear is continuing to revolutionize digital fashion design by harnessing the power of vector technology and placing it in your hands. No more pixelation, reduced resolution and loss of quality! Our end-to-end vector workflow enables you to design and edit your artwork size and color in vector-level resolution in VStitcher and Lotta. And you no longer have to switch to Adobe Illustrator to do so!

Reaping the benefits of vector technology means, for example, that the small logo that you have on the front of your sportswear T-shirt or tank top can now be greatly enlarged and positioned on the back as well, at the same high resolution. Or that you can enlarge the image of the small teddy bear that you have on a child’s pajama bottoms and also place it on the pajama top, covering the entire front. Thanks to Browzwear’s use of vector technology, large artwork remains sharp and crisp, and does justice to your garment! 

And with the innovative software and user-friendly features, you can also edit the colors as part of your workflow. All it takes is a few clicks of the mouse. Exporting to Adobe Illustrator for each change and then importing back to VStitcher and Lotta to see the result in a 360, 3D view, is no longer necessary. 

You can now save so much time, and achieve results that are superior by far to what you have been forced to settle for in the past!

And that’s not all – working exclusively in vector format means that detailed color separation information is available and can be communicated externally, ensuring that the color of the physical garment perfectly matches the color you envisioned.

Thanks to Browzwear, the power of vector technology is now at your fingertips. We invite you to use it, enjoy its multiple benefits, and let your creativity lead the way!

For more information please visit our support site.

VStitcher and Lotta August Edition banner

We have been listening to you – our customers – and our developers have been hard at work on delivering the functionality you have been asking for. 

As always, the focus is on making 3D apparel design and development easier, faster, and with less waste.

There are some amazing new features in this release, and we know that you are going to love them!  

Here are some of the 2019 August Edition highlights:

  • Slash and Spread – a super easy-to-use feature that includes real-time feedback and the ability to adjust the pattern as you go.
  • New and innovative fit adjustment capabilities, delivering finely detailed fit corrections with features such as stitch tension release and 3D stitching enhancements.
  • New integrated vector artwork support, smoothing the digital design workflow even further.
  • Introducing a new file format – BW. This new format makes it a snap to share files, and includes a preview image so it’s easier to find the file you are looking for. Don’t worry about your existing files, because VSP and VSGX are still 100% usable, and we will continue to support them.

These features really ramp up the power and convenience of doing your garment fitting in 3D. The new 2019  August Edition will make you love your work more than ever.

Browzwear users are welcome to download the updated version: https://browzwear.com/services/members-area/

 

How to Virtually Design Your Own Clothes

Have you ever dreamed of wearing one-of-a-kind clothes that truly reflect your inner self? Garments that physically match the image you have in your mind? Have you looked for technological solutions that would help you showcase your talent in fashion design? Solutions that would allow you to spend more time exploring where your creativity takes you?

With Browzwear’s technologically advanced, user-friendly fashion design solutions, your dreams can now come true!

Browzwear’s virtual 3D fashion software 

Browzwear is continuing to lead the virtual fashion design revolution. With its latest edition of VStitcher and Lotta software, you now have highly sophisticated yet easy-to-use tools at your fingertips, to help you virtually design your own clothes. What has taken you hours to do in the past, will now take minutes!

These are the main technologically advanced features that we have developed for you, the virtual fashion designer:

Intuitive interfaces

  • Jump in! In no time at all, you’ll feel like a pro. Our intuitive interfaces will guide you through the 3D clothing design process, smoothly taking you from one step to the next, until you see your finished garment on the screen, exactly as you envisioned it.

Materials library 

  • Select a material from an existing library that is rich with options, and change the material at a click of a button until you find the one you’re happiest with. To help you make the optimal choice, the library includes comprehensive information on each material, also specifying its physical properties. 
  • As you progress, you can also create and add your own library for easy access in the future.

Adding trims and artworks 

  • Select trims and add artworks, and position them on the garment by simply dragging and dropping them where they are the most flattering. 
  • You can group your artworks and trims to move them all together, while still retaining the ability to interact with each one separately, if you wish; for example, to scale one or more, but not others.

360° 3D view

  • The garment you are designing is viewed in a window on your screen in 3D, and can be displayed from any angle you choose.
  • The 3D view also allows viewing the draping of the different materials, to help you select the one that works best for you.

True-to-life rendering

  • Browzwear takes rendering to a new level with its exceptionally realistic visualization of velvet, metallic, glitter, PVC and other materials. It enables you to perfectly match the garment you see on the screen to the image in your mind. How cool is that!

Real-time viewing

  • Any change in the selection of materials, seams, artworks, etc., and any alteration you make, appears on your screen instantaneously, allowing you to continue designing without wasting precious time.

Achieving optimal fit

  • The combination of all the advanced features ensures that achieving optimal fit is clicks away. When selecting the right material, artwork, trims and all other elements, and with a 3D view of the garment throughout the design process, you can’t miss!
  • Browzwear software does even more! For example, you can check if a sleeve is at the appropriate length by viewing it not only on a straight arm, but also when the elbow is bent. 

Colorways workspace

  • In this dedicated workspace, you can now create, manage and adjust colorways effortlessly and quickly. Changes that you make – whether in materials, physical properties, trims or other parameters – are updated at a click in other colorways you are working on.

Creating a virtual catalog

  • With Browzwear’s VStitcher and Lotta virtual 3D fashion software with enhanced visualization and multiple state-of-the-art features, creating a virtual catalog of your self-designed fashion is a breeze!

Creating patterns

  • Creating patterns the old way – manually – is such a drag… so you’ll be happy to find that with Browzwear software this task is now also much easier and less time consuming!

Now is the time to let your imagination run free, to tap into your inner creativity and sources of inspiration, and translate your vision into reality. With Browzwear’s trailblazing software, virtually creating unique fashion and displaying your talent for the world to see has never been easier and more enjoyable!

In our last post, we introduced the new Colorways workspace. In this post, we’ll provide details about the new Physical-Based Rendering (PBR) material system integration for state-of-the-art material renderings. The new integration is native to VStitcher and Lotta and delivers more realistic ray-trace output, as well as real-time output in our 3D window. 

 

PBR makes material renders more robust, enabling a realistic look of materials in real-time 3D including metallics, velvet, glitter, and many more. PBR materials were originally developed by Disney and are used in professional pipelines for films and animation. We are proud to be the first apparel-focused software to integrate this advanced and robust material system.

The new integration enables improved output in the 3D window and when rendering. Users will also enjoy more material maps detailed in the Context view for each material type, as well as the addition of Browzwear PBR FBX format as an option when exporting 3D objects. Users are also free to access and use a selection of high quality PBR materials in the Browzwear online asset library.

 

For our full documentation about PBR, visit our Help Center.

Just when you thought we couldn’t have done it better… We went ahead and tipped the scales. Some of our most exciting and useful enhancements from the April 2019 update of VStitcher and Lotta, are the upgraded features we incorporated into our Group, Lock and Hide tools. It’s everything you’ve known and loved about grouping, locking and hiding…plus a little more oomph!

All Together Now, 1-2-3

The April 2019 edition added new capabilities and a robust Group feature. Now, you can group internal elements together and perform actions on all the elements together as a group. The following objects can be grouped for easy manipulation: artwork, trims, internal lines, and pieces that are all attached to one base piece. Read more about Grouping Elements in the Support section.

Lock it up!

It’s now easier than ever to lock elements, protecting them from accidental changes. Once locked, the elements cannot be selected or stitched, which protects the element from being accidentally edited or changed. There are several ways to lock elements, and you can read more about it in the Support section.

I Can See Clearly Now

With enhanced “Hide” options, see your garments more easily by seamlessly hiding elements in the 2D window or the 3D window or both. Group all your measurement rulers, lock them and then hide them so you can continue designing freely without any clutter, and confident that your measurement rulers are safe from unintentional edits.  For more detailed information on the updated features, check out the Support section.

Working across all colorways has never been easier and quicker. With the new, improved workflow, what used to take hours, now takes only minutes!

Browzwear is proud to introduce Colorways – a dedicated intuitive workspace for creating, managing and adjusting colorways, with multiple new features developed to optimally respond to designer needs. With this latest innovative technological tool, Browzwear is continuing to lead the fashion industry and further streamline the apparel design process, to support you, the apparel designer, in unleashing your creativity.

The Colorways interface clearly displays the color libraries, as well as all the materials, fabrics, seams, artwork and trims you can choose from. It provides you with full control of all parameters, and with the ability to introduce modifications more easily than ever before. Any change in the choice of fabrics, colors, trims, physical properties, etc. can be updated at a click,  in either one, several or all the colorways. Icons indicate links to other colorways in which the same changes in trims and artworks have been implemented. To change the color of a material, simply drag and drop the color icon to the material. Artwork, including its texture and physics, is easily added anywhere on the garment, and can be scaled to different sizes, linked to or unlinked from trims, and updated with a click. Another important option provided by Colorways is copying and pasting specific individual features, such as only the physical properties, to provide you with full flexibility in realizing your vision. As you continue in your design process, you can clone, add, import, delete and rename colorways – all with a click or two.

All the modifications are viewed in real time, in a window of adjustable size, in 2D and 3D. Preview images, which previously showed only colors, now display complete images, with the added option of grid view. These images can be reorganized in the order you prefer, which will automatically be reflected in the generated tech pack as well. Furthermore, thumbnails also provide a more true-to-life representation, with the checkered background removed and shadows added to improve fabric viewing.

A supplemental new feature, significant also in terms of its implication on reducing production costs, is the display of ‘colors in use’. This feature allows you to easily identify if you have used, for example, two very similar colors, and unify them by placing the icon of one on the other. 

The one of the two that you have chosen will automatically be updated where the other one has been implemented.

Try out our new Colorways workspace and share your experience with us!

New update brings enhancements and improvements to VStitcher and Lotta 2019 April Edition.

We hope you’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know the new features in VStitcher and Lotta 2019 April Edition. We wanted to let you know that the latest software build is now available for download. The build includes enhancements and improvements as detailed in the Release Notes, and we have fixed some issues from the initial release.

Click here to read the full release notes and here to download.

If you have any questions about the update or any of our products, please contact your Browzwear representative.

Browzwear was proud to sponsor the AATCC Concept 2 Consumer® Student Design Competition for the second year. More than 120 students from 24 colleges and universities submitted 96 entries to the competition with the theme: Splashing Around. The challenge was for students to design a line for a specific outdoor activity that is both fashionable and functional to use in the rain.

We awarded the first place winner a MacBook Pro with a one-year VStitcher software license and the opportunity for a paid summer internship. The second place winner was also awarded a one-year VStitcher software license and an opportunity for a paid internship from Browzwear. Two honorable mentions received a VStitcher license as well.

This year’s winners include:

It has been our pleasure working with AATCC as a sponsor and supporter of this exciting competition. We love to see the creativity and ideas from the students through their incredible designs.

We’re saying goodbye to winter and springing into fashion and warmer weather with brand new 3D clothing design tools and features for brands. We heard our customers and gathered feedback and input to create advanced features which make it easier for you to design your own clothes virtually.

Some of the new features include:

  • Brand New Colorways Workspace provides the first and only advanced, comprehensive solution for professional apparel designers. The new workspace enables full control over all the different colors, fabrics and graphics as well as the ability to apply changes across all, some or one colorway. What used to take hours, now takes minutes with the new highly intuitive colorways workspace that  provides everything for quick decision making and includes advanced tools to make broad changes in a click of a button.
  • Native Physical-Based Rendering (PBR) material system integration for state-of-the-art material renderings. PBR makes material renders more robust, enabling a realistic look of materials in real-time 3D including metallics, velvet, glitter and many more. PBR materials were originally developed by Disney and are used in professional pipelines for films and animation. We are proud to be the first apparel-focused software integrate this advanced and robust material system.
  • New 3D Styling Properties including retouch, flatten and erase make it easier to make adjustments and communicate issues to pattern makers by showing them exactly where to make pattern modifications while keeping the integrity of the pattern pieces.
  • Group/Lock/Hide enable designers to quickly group multiple elements and move them around together (e.g. a graphic and lines or trims), lock a specific element so it doesn’t move when others move, or hide a specific element’s type (e.g. all the measurement lines from the pattern maker) enabling a multidisciplinary team to work on a single garment together.
  • U3M File Format Support enables brands to add a local/custom library and directly manage the brand materials. Now all the material information – from high end visual information to the physics properties of the fabric – is packaged in one single file, making it easier to share. In addition to the standard Browzwear library, everyone at the organization can access the local library as well.
  • Other improvements including reduce points, auto-save and 3D measurements.

Want to hear more? Check out our on-demand webinars for an in-depth look at VStitcher and Lotta – April 2019 editions, or visit our online Help Center.

Let us know what you think…

With the release of VStitcher 8.0 and Lotta 4.0, Browzwear now support avatars from Alvanon’s new 3D body platform – the Alvanon Body Platform (APB), which recently launched with 6,000 models. The virtual 3D AlvaForms are a standard for body shapes and sizes of consumers around the world and offer useful design and development features including AlvaForm textures and measurement lines; T, A and regular poses; and a high-resolution 3D mesh to facilitate draping functionality.

“We believe brands need an effective method to monitor the correct usage of their fit standards within their supply chain and the Alvanon Body Platform allows brands to view, monitor and distribute fit standards with authorized vendors,” said Jason Wang, Chief Operating Officer at Alvanon.

We are looking forward to seeing the new enhancements Alvanon has scheduled for their virtual 3D AlvaForms in the coming months, including poseable parametric bodies and enhanced textures, which will automatically sync with Browzwear applications.