The Indie program at Browzwear aims to give talented freelance designers the first-hand experience in 3D design. Considering the recent global circumstances, more and more designers are recognizing the need for a remote solution that will allow them to continue their work when physical resources may not be available. As the industry heads in a new direction, digital designers are proving to be the driving force behind this change.

We recently caught up with Keith-Patrick Han, a creative designer who completed our Indie program at the end of 2019 and carried his 3D skills into his future. When it comes to fashion design, Keith-Patrick has a broad background covering many different aspects. Whilst studying his BFA fashion design degree at Parsons School of Design in New York, he was particularly inspired by the ‘Systems in the Society’ course, which focused on fashion innovation and sustainability which have become increasingly relevant for the industry and its reputation over the past few years. This course enabled him to look at fashion from a different perspective, working to shape the future of his career.

As Keith-Patrick furthered his education in the field, he geared parts of his curriculum towards 3D design, such as taking classes on 3D modeling that incorporated software programs like Autodesk 360. It was at this point where he began to dip into several 3D design applications and think about ways that it can be used to save both time and resources as well as enhance creativity. As part of his thesis, Keith-Patrick came up with his own concept ‘’ which proposed the idea of customers self-assembling garments at home via magnetic screws as a means of sustainable fast-fashion, without worker exploitation.

Alongside his work at the Acne Studios denim department and other street style apparel brands, Keith-Patrick was introduced to VStitcher by Browzwear’s 3D expert, Marylina Klenk. This led him to join the Indie program where he familiarized himself with all of the tools and functions to create his own 3D garments. Working with VStitcher proved to be a user-friendly software for Keith-Patrick, enabling him to go from the patterning to the draping of the garment without the need for a physical sample. 

“Essentially you can do anything that you would like to do”, says Keith Patrick when discussing the capabilities of 3D design. As a result, Keith-Patrick was able to take the concept ‘’ and transform it into a reality by utilizing 3D design and rendering.

When discussing the implications of 3D for the future of the industry, Keith-Patrick suggests that although there will naturally be a level of skepticism, “when it comes to embracing digital tools within fashion, it is inevitable that this is where the future is headed”. When transitioning from 2D to working in a 3D environment it can be overwhelming, however, it offers much more room for flexibility throughout the product creation process as it is not confined to a physical location. Changes can be made quickly and easily, and steps can be cut out for a more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable workflow. He also noted that when designing in 3D, your creative journey is shifted, and it is interesting to see what ideas people come up with. 

Working with VStitcher as an independent designer, I would say it enables you to visualize ideas immediately without having to invest in physical materials,” 

says Keith-Patrick.

Keith-Patrick’s knowledge and experience with 3D design have opened up the doors of opportunity, he now pursues his digital design skills at the North Face, which is beginning to look at going down the 3D route. In fact, this year’s season creative kick-off which would have typically been based on physical prototypes is having to be carried out digitally for the first time due to the global situation. 


Keith-Patrick’s eye-catching designs have a unique flair that often entails a twist of his much inspired 90’s style. 


“This overall mini skirt is part of a modular self-assembly project and is made of sustainable PVC. The oversized white top is made of organic cotton. The garment has no seams or stitches, but instead, the garment is assembled by magnetic closures.” 


To view more designs check out Keith-Patrick’s website


To apply for Browzwear’s Indie program:



By Sharon Lim, CEO and Co-Founder of Browzwear

Within a few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak and shutdowns, physical sample workflows came to a screeching halt with travel bans, work from home orders, and major disruption to supply chains. Even when some physical samples were still available, there was uncertainty over where they should be shipped, and if it would be accepted at the gates. It wasn’t long before technology and 3D assets came to the forefront. In-person sales review meetings soon shifted to online meetings; according to one leading brand, their entire showroom was “moved” onto a virtual platform and another sportswear brand conducted its wholesale meetings via online conferencing for the first time.

Making Informed Decisions

There is a rising sense of urgency among many retailers and brands to accelerate the digital transformation process in their businesses. These current workarounds are likely to become the new norm, since the future surrounding COVID-19 remains unclear. During these unprecedented times, digital assets and technology are transforming the way businesses and transactions are being conducted, both today and tomorrow.

Over the past 4 weeks, we received news of mass furlough being imposed on an already fragile industry. What’s unsettling is that the industry leaders who have embraced digital transformation and the acceleration of digitalisation as their priority are the same ones that are letting employees with digital skills go. After investing heavily in the digital infrastructure and equipping employees with the right knowledge, instead of fielding these skilled personnel to scale up their digital transformation, they have let them go. Unfortunately, It seems as if they have shot themselves in their foot.

Speaking recently to the GM of a leading retailer, he expressed concern that vendors who used to submit quality work are now giving low-quality digital assets. Upon investigation, he found that skilled specialists and digital creators were either put on leave of absence or let go. Without quality digital assets nor physical samples, how can vendors and retailers effectively collaborate? Sadly, many of these vendors are not even aware of their detrimental decisions.

Gearing up for the Next Phase

As the Pandemic’s dust begins to settle, the world is preparing for a post-COVID-19 reality and gearing up to new methods of working both sustainably and efficiently. A major factory in Asia shared that they either make the decision to go digital today or become obsolete tomorrow. It’s no longer business as usual in a volatile, unpredictable world.

Businesses that view digital transformation as being a critical measure for product & GTM, rather than a temporary response, will have to prepare accordingly for the next phase. All digitally-skilled hands must be on deck to navigate the company through the choppy waters of the next 12 months. Cost-cutting measures should be conducted cautiously as experienced digital specialists are integral to their success. This current slow down is the best time to take what’s proven and expand it to more parts of the business. Companies that have invested in valuable digital skills should know that this is the time to fuel their HR assets to train and equip the entire ship.

Emerging as a Stronger United Force

I will end by sharing a recent incident experienced by the CEO of a leading brand. He asked his management team to submit innovative workarounds that they ”threw together” to cope with the COVID disruption. From Design Development to Selling.

In a nutshell, they advocated that those innovating “workarounds” which are mitigating losses during the crisis should stay for them to remain agile, sustainable and competitive for the future which is already here.

When vigilance meets new opportunities, everybody wins. Let’s be wise and take appropriate steps to prepare and emerge from this crisis stronger together.


Full digital transformation cannot be achieved just by integrating one software. It requires a combination of complementary solutions. In this article,  Browzwear’s Co-founder and CPO Avihay Feld discusses how Browzwear’s Open Platform innovative partners, enable apparel companies to easily digitize their workflow, in the field of sales visualization. Read the full article on The Interline. 

In this interview, published by The Bryan School of Business and Economics at UNCG, Kerrie Rogers Engle brings her career advice and articulates how 3D design is changing the fashion industry and its positive effect on Kontoor Brands Ltd, where she has been a part of for the last seven years. 

Read the full interview here, published in April 2020


Every few months we run an Indie project to give fashion designers and pattern makers the opportunity to learn and experience Browzwear’s software. The project’s mission is to bring more digital designers to the apparel industry and encourage as well as help to facilitate the change that is needed. One of these talented designers is Haz Sam, whose work was chosen to be presented on SHOWstudio, an award-winning online platform for fashion as a creative medium.

As we have recently been experiencing a global crisis, the fashion industry needs to ensure that it is prepared for situations where the market may be hit by a Black Swan. There are times where a designer may not have access to their sewing machine or isn’t able to ship samples overseas, however, this does not mean that creativity has to be sacrificed, and we can certainly see this through Haz’s story. Haz is a senior fashion design student at AMD, Akademie fashion and design in Düsseldorf, Germany. He postponed his bachelor year to undertake a 3D internship at Li & Fung and pursue his skills for the future of fashion.

Throughout Haz’s education and time at Li & Fung, he worked closely with Mr. Wilson Chan YS who gave him the ability to learn and experiment with Browzwear’s innovative 3D design software, VStitcher. After gaining the first-hand experience with the software, he decided to apply for Browzwear’s 2nd Indie Program to gain a deeper understanding and further his skills in digital design. As he became more familiar with the software, it became clear that sustainability is not strictly confined to fabrics, but rather the resources that are used across the entire process. The garment creation and approval process involve a significant amount of waste, not to mention time, especially when it comes to making alterations. By carrying out a digital design cycle, Haz was able to practically buy time and cut back on resources. As decisions can be made over true-to-life virtual garments, each change or manipulation can be made seamlessly and visualized in a matter of minutes.

“I don’t believe that sustainability is only about fabrics but also the tools we are using. VStitcher offers both a realistic interpretation of patterns and at the same time offers a great tool for creativity. In the design process, we have a lot of waste, altering and changing forms to end with the final product.” says Haz “In 3D we are saving a lot of time, yet the beautiful draping effect VStitcher offers, for designers like me who like to experiment with form is a luxury”

Most importantly, VStitcher provided Haz with all of the essential tools in which he could unleash his creativity and freely experiment with different forms, patterns, and drapes throughout the garment creation process. “As fashion in its own core is based on a dream, VStitcher offers creativity along with technical details. It will also help a lot of new generations of designers to have the know-how plus adding the creative element to their design concepts”. Haz also notes his inspiration from the Karl Lagerfield prize winner, Hed Mayner, who combined both handcraft and 3D technology to create his pieces.

In his latest digital work, Haz joined a virtual creative project by SHOWstudio, where he was able to infuse his inspirations from poetry, art, and personal experiences within his designs that were to Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen S/S 20 collection. This project aims to give designers the opportunity to interpret patterns and creations from renowned fashion brands and take them into their own hands. However, the project that has been famously running seasonally since 2002, which brings patterns by well-known designers to the masses, had to make some adaptations this time round. In light of COVID-19, this year’s edition featured virtual submissions with patterns and designs created by designers from their homes, through digital means. The virtual garments that Haz designed portrayed a synthesis of darkness and melancholy with more delicate beauty and floral aspects which worked to make the pieces so unique. He also adjusted the virtual model accordingly to present a global citizen look. The potential for the incorporation of creativity and originality within the 3D design is endless, and in Haz’s case, the emotion was reflected throughout his entire collection. Here’s SHOWstudio’s story on the project

After the SHOWstudio project, Haz recreated an outfit with his own patterns based on his artwork and embellishments to create a unique design that he presented in his own ‘Leila’ piece. Haz plans on continuing to produce unique and artistic designs with VStiticher, focusing on sustainability. “Browzwear should be an inspiration for recent graduates and fashion students as new creative tools of the future with a very positive impact on fashion education.”

Here are Ali’s pieces, submitted to Showroom and the creative behind it with his re-imaged designs using inspirations and digital material:

Stephen Doherty (Gratitude blooms)

I visited the exhibition in London on my last day. I used the flowers as an embroidery print and created a 3D form out of them. The flowers are cut and added to the pattern with adjustments.”

Fashion Vs Art

“I have used my own artwork, my own paintings and Inspiration from other artists. Fleur Du Mal  /Flowers of evil: it is a tribute to Alexander Mcqueen, as he was inspired by both Goth and Nature (Flower print). So I wanted to bring  elements of lightness, darkness, melancholy and beauty together in a 3D Form.”


The Virtual model was altered

“To give more of a global citizen look and tackle diversity as well. Green Eyes of the east, Slanted form of Asia, Darker skin tone (African Tribute).”



“Sample use: I have digitally used the samples that I got at the buyers’ team at Li and Fung. Those are fabrics that are created by a development team. They don’t exist in real life as production, however, they offer a formula to create fabrics without waste.”

Fabrics: “Browzwear’s software has the advanced ability to digitally create sheen or iridescence and display their luminous glow, which is technically complex to achieve”




Interested in joining our next Indie program?

Apply here for the next batch:







The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus has shaken up the world, sending much of us into panic mode. People are confined to their homes, countries have closed their borders and many businesses are being greatly affected. As the global pandemic evolves, our daily lives are being impacted in one way or another. It is now that companies are having to adjust their workforce and adapt to a new structure and routine to get through the current circumstances in the most efficient way possible. 

Supporting Our Clients

As we continue to rise to the challenges that we are met with due to the pandemic, the entire Browzwear team remains focused on our customers’ success. During this period of uncertainty, we recognize that our clients require some adjustments to execute their work effectively. To ensure that this adjustment can be accomplished as smoothly as possible, we’re doubling down on remote support and training. Our professional global support team is ready to assist with any queries or issues that our clients may be facing throughout this unprecedented situation.

Embracing 3D as a Remote Solution

As many of our clients’ entire teams are now working from home, we’ve seen that more companies are now speeding up their transition to a digital process. Adopting a 3D solution ultimately reduces the impact that working remotely may have had on the apparel production cycle. The decision-making process between various departments can be kept at the same pace, as the virtual garments created are an impeccably accurate representation of the physical samples. Any amendments to the digital sample can be made instantly and with precision, without any time going to waste. That’s why employees can continue to work productively from home without sacrificing their creativity. For companies who wish to learn about taking on a similar process, our team is available with all the resources to facilitate the transition, so feel free to reach out.

We’re Not Stopping

Our innovation isn’t bound to our office desks. Browzwear’s product and tech team are working full speed ahead to bring new and exciting features to our products. We’ll also be continuing to partner with leading technology companies, providing our clients with integrated solutions that will be highly beneficial to them during this time. You’ll soon be able to catch up with some of our recent developments in the May 2020 release, so stay tuned. 

Stay Safe.

[March 2020]

At Browzwear, we’re always striving to bring our customers the tools for a smooth and efficient workflow according to their specific needs. This involves updating our software with frequent fixes and new feature developments.

Recently, we’ve received an increasing number of requests for a more customizable tech pack, and the use cases given by clients have got us to work immediately. As a result, we’ve integrated a solution that our entire client base can benefit from. The latest hotfix release gives users the ability to download the tech pack directly from VStitcher or Lotta in a user-friendly Excel format.

The tech pack in an Excel format gives VStitcher and Lotta users the flexibility to customize the data before sharing it, so it can be adapted to any requirement and workflow. The file can easily be exported from VStitcher without needing to have Excel pre-installed on your computer. From annotations to resizing images or implementing additional data, the tech pack can be edited accordingly. By having an editable tech pack, communication between different departments can be made clearer, leaving less room for misunderstandings.

Once the customized tech pack is ready to print, you can select different print previews giving you the option to print out fewer pages. However, if you’d rather work with a different format that isn’t HTML or Excel, we still offer the capability of building a custom template via our open platform integration. 

“As more companies adopt digital workflows to improve business efficiency, we’re ready to take on new use cases and requests to further our capabilities, bringing our clients enhanced technological solutions” says Joy Foo, Senior Product and Partner Success Manager at Browzwear. 

To download the latest version of VStitcher and Lotta 2020 January Edition, visit or contact your account representative.

[March 2020]


In 2018 Browzwear collaborated with Stitch of PVH Europe and The Amsterdam Fashion Institute for a ‘Product in a Day’ challenge, where the students were able to translate a concept into a prototype in just one day. After leveraging the endless capabilities of 3D, its influence on the fashion industry has only continued to grow. AMFI is one of today’s leading schools for innovative and creative fashion and has now geared some of its curriculum toward the changing dynamics of the fashion industry. The Make & Buy specialization for 3rd and 4th-year fashion management students led by Prof. Mireille van de Wiel-Stegehuis, gives students an introduction to the endless possibilities that 3D has to offer, and insight on how it is shaping the fashion industry today.

Over 3 months, the class is taught to create and market their own fashion collections to industry buyers, taking their garments from concept to merchandising. From the initial sketch to patterning, producing, and showcasing, the students are given the opportunity to experience the end-to-end process of apparel production and discover the power of 3D prototyping with Browzwear’s innovative technology.

In AMFI’s first Make & Buy course with Browzwear, the students were given several tasks to complete, including creating a virtual sales book that would represent their collection, as well as test and analyze different fabrics, showcasing a variety of styles. They were to come up with an original concept and brand along with a customer profile, and aspects such as pricing, material information and sizing all needed to be accounted for. To do so, with the training and guidance of Marylina Klenk, Browzwear’s 3D expert, they experienced a workflow from start to finish, transforming the initial 2D sketch into a 3D simulation which would be created with Browzwear’s VStitcher. 

With a lot of enthusiasm, the students worked closely with VStitcher and were able to gain first-hand experience of all of the features and capabilities that it has to offer. By experimenting with different physical properties of their chosen fabrics on a true-to-life simulation, they could accurately assess crucial elements such as the draping quality, cut and shape of their garments as well as make instant modifications. With the ability to make informed decisions throughout the design process, the students could verify their range of materials, prints, and details that they had chosen to showcase in their virtual sales books.

The virtual sales books showcased a variety of different garments, from dresses to jackets and more, and the final presentations were outstanding. The winning team received a one-year Browzwear license, allowing them to explore the software independently. The class was inspired by the program and had developed a huge amount of interest in the software and concept of 3D apparel design after working closely with VStitcher. The skills that they had acquired throughout the course could be carried into the future as they embark on their careers as young fashion professionals.

“It was great to see how quickly the students could pick up and explore all of the functions and features that VStitcher has to offer.” says Marylina Klenk, “Not only did they expand their technical skills, their creativity flourished while using the program. The students’ final presentations were exceptional and it was so rewarding to see how proud everyone was with their results. Most importantly, by the end of the project, everyone understood how 3D can be used as a tool for faster and more informed decision making throughout the product development process.”

You can learn more about the Make & Buy specialization here.

Sketchfab is proud to announce a collaboration with Browzwear—a global leader in 3D technology for the apparel industry—to facilitate the export of true-to-life 3D garments from Browzwear’s VStitcher to Sketchfab’s 3D Viewer.

How to export Browzwear’s 3D assets to Sketchfab’s 3D Viewer? Read the full article on Sketchfab’s blog

In a recent Browzwear workshop in collaboration with Tchibo, one of Germany’s largest retail chains, fashion design students from JAK Fashion Academy had a unique opportunity to experience the apparel production process from start to finish in a short amount of time. Using VStitcher, the future fashion professionals saw just how the traditional manufacturing process can be digitized, and is now more than ever, revolutionizing the fashion industry.

Designing garments using 3D technology has significant benefits, not only does it minimize the time and cost of production, but it also plays a major role in promoting sustainability by significantly cutting back on physical waste, ultimately leading the fashion industry down a more environmentally-conscious path. By having a first-hand experience of Browzwear’s 3D solutions for apparel design, the JAK students would gain clear insight as to how it works and what the benefits are. 

Students divided into groups and were given the challenge of designing a maxi dress for Tchibo’s upcoming autumn collection from beginning to end in just one day. Tchibo provided a few basic guidelines, including the overall appearance, color scheme, and style. All the rest was left in their own hands, allowing the teams to showcase their creativity and design skills. 

With the support of Browzwear’s 3D Design experts, Lena Blume and Marylina Klenk, the students soon began to familiarize themselves with the innovative VStitcher software, where the design workflow would swiftly be carried out. The teams got started and applied their designs and patterns to the dresses while keeping Tchibo’s clientele in mind. To visualize the process, VStitcher provides a true-to-life 3D simulation that gives an accurate representation of the physical garment in a matter of seconds. 

Of course, during the design process, numerous alterations are needed along the way. With VStitcher, all the garment’s details are accounted for, even the way that fabric sits and behaves when worn. The students soon saw just how any modification, whether it be the fit, cut, fabric or pattern could effortlessly be made to achieve immaculate results. 

After checking and altering the fit, they could then begin to render the final piece. As the session came to a close, the physical garments were ready and the results were outstanding. In fact, due to VSticher’s true-to-life precision, the garments were essentially ready for production. 

A Dress in a Day: The Tchibo X JAK Academy 3D Design Challenge

The teams presented the final garments to Tchibo and two lucky winners claimed their prize of a one-year Browzwear license along with some Tchibo coffee. The collaboration and workshop enabled Tchibo as well as the JAK students to get a deeper understanding of how 3D can be utilized as an end-to-end solution within the fashion industry and gain further insight into its endless possibilities. 

“This event allows companies to experience the real power of 3D design,” said Lena Blume, Lead Customer Success at Browzwear “My favorite part is the pure joy of fashion designers, pattern makers and product developers at the end of the day, to see that all their input and comments were shown in an instance and the product is on the models, just as they had imagined it. If this is all possible in one day, we really need to change the way we are working today.”

A Dress in a Day: The Tchibo X JAK Academy 3D Design Challenge

Read the story on Tchibo’s website (German)

* Image source: Tchibo blog

30 years ago, the thought of using computers to design and create clothes would have been ludicrous. Today, it is not only cutting edge but becoming essential knowledge for fashion designers and pattern makers entering or already a part of the industry.  Clothing companies are taking note and courses teaching 3D apparel design are becoming more and more popular.

What’s Wrong with Paper Sketches?

Pen and paper are a fashion designer’s traditional instruments for fleshing out and creating designs. While this tried and tested method has worked for centuries, a digital evolution is underway that requires a technological skill set. Translating a 2D image to 3D reality is now possible with a suite of digital design imaging tools like V-Stitcher and Lotta. In 2020, it’ll not only be enough to understand that 3D design software exists, but those looking for a job in fashion will need to know how to use it. 

Benefits of Learning 3D Apparel Design Tools

3D technologies improve accuracy when designing clothes. A 3D apparel designer can create an exact rendering of lines, patterns and colors that can be revised with the click of a button. Overall speed increases with 3D design tools as renderings are true to life, resulting in more precise physical samples. This also impacts garment waste since multiple samples don’t need to be produced in the approval cycles. Workflows are expedited as the time between design and sample is reduced and apparel moves faster to market. 

Be Ahead of the Learning Curve

The clothing industry is becoming digitized and major apparel companies have adopted design software to produce apparel more efficiently and sustainably.  Fashion schools like FIT and international higher education institutes have their finger on the pulse and are integrating apparel technology like Browzwear into their curriculum. Talented fashion designers and pattern makers equipped with a tech background have an advantage in today’s job market. They are uniquely positioned to support companies embarking on a digital transformation into 3D, and can serve as influential contributors to organizations that already employ 3D technology.

The fashion industry is leveraging technology to accelerate and perfect apparel design and production. Digital innovation moves rapidly, and the market requires talent that is well-versed in apparel design technology. Learning 3D apparel design gives designers and pattern makers that X factor that will never go out of style. 

Learn more about Browzwear’s work with Education and Students 



– – –

Written by Shoshana Friedman / Image by Be᛫nu Creative 

Article by Avihay Feld, published on Fashion Mannuscript Magazine

In the fall of 2018, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s State of Fashion projected that 2019 would be a year of awakening for the industry. “The old rules simply don’t work,” they said. To thrive in the new paradigm, they advised, companies need to shift to digital-first thinking, speed their time to market and respond to the increasing consumer demands for sustainability and social responsibility.

The key to making the changes we need to thrive is technology. And while making big expenditures for software and the like may seem like a gamble in an industry where over half of clothing lines fold within their first four years in business (according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute), the reality is that choosing not to follow the path of digital transformation is the much bigger business risk.

The good news is that innovation in the fashion industry is flourishing. If 2019 was the year of awakening, 2020 should be the year of action, and every fashion business, from a small, independent designer to the world’s biggest conglomerates, should make this priority No. 1 in this new year.

Think Digital First

In 2017, a Danish TV station revealed that the fast-fashion retailer H&M had burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013. There was an instant backlash, and the retailer immediately rolled out plans to be a better global citizen. A similar public relations nightmare struck Burberry, and while both companies recovered after making clear plans of action to change their ways, it’s almost certain there are still companies that simply haven’t been caught executing incredibly wasteful practices. For them, two years later, the public might not be so forgiving.

Why did H&M and Burberry have so much excess in the first place? Because we make too much stuff. In fact, According to the Australasian Circular Textile Association, about 30% of garments that are produced are never sold.

Fast fashion harkened in an era in which quantity was king. Manufacturers would just keep producing new things, and those things would end up in stores where people might buy them. Since a crop of new merchandise was always on the way, the items that didn’t sell were drastically marked down. And if they still didn’t sell, they were disposed of, whether in a landfill or, a la H&M, in a fire.

Now we’ve been awakened, and in 2020, the action we need to take is stepping away from the materially and economically wasteful path of “produce first, cross your fingers and hope that it sells.” And we do that by thinking digitally first.

In apparel production, digital thinking can take a few different forms. One is to harness the insights that are locked in the data you’re likely already collecting to better align production and sales. With artificial intelligence-based systems for predictive analytics becoming more accessible and affordable, companies of all sizes can gauge demand for a certain item, size, color, etc. and manufacture accordingly. In addition, tech giants like Amazon and IBM are helping brands leverage insights to ensure more of the items produced are sold, and fewer items are destroyed.

Another digital-first initiative that has had positive repercussions for marketing and social responsibility is incorporating the new generation of apparel software into the pre-production workflow. Last fall, PVH-owned Tommy Hilfiger made industry headlines with the declaration that, by 2021, the company’s apparel collection — 60,000 items per year — would be done entirely in 3D. This move drastically reduces resource usage, from decreasing the time it takes to create different iterations and visualize colorways to eliminating the need for physical samples altogether. Going one step further, the simulations that come from the 3D software on the market today are so true to life that it’s possible to merchandise a collection completely digitally, and then only produce what’s been ordered.

Speed Time to Market

The second necessity for survival in today’s challenging fashion industry is getting products to market faster. This is another area where advancements in technology play a key role. McKinsey’s 2018 report, “Measuring the Fashion World,” estimates the average time to market for mid-range companies is 32 weeks, while value and discount companies are a bit faster at 27 weeks (which is still over six months). The design process alone can take 10 weeks; that’s nearly three months, or an entire season. With digital workflows like the ones being implemented at PVH, months can be shaved off the cycle.

With the emergence of smart factories, the entire process from concept to commerce can be brought down to weeks. Deloitte describes a smart factory as, “A leap forward from more traditional automation to a fully connected and flexible system — one that can use a constant stream of data from connected operations and production systems to learn and adapt to new demands.”

In a smart manufacturing scenario, the instructions for a garment’s production are transferred digitally to the factory in a way that is understood by the machines. With ever-more-capable robotics, things like cutting and sewing can be conducted with little human intervention. Because fabric has very different physical qualities than things like auto parts, a fully automated production process is still aspirational. Still, innovations in areas like artificial intelligence and sensors are making apparel industry 4.0 more of a reality every day.

Responsibility & Sustainability

The last of the actions most imperative to fashion businesses in 2020 is addressing — and mitigating — the industry’s history of irresponsible and unsustainable practices. Moving to data-driven production and adjusting supply to meet demand is an obvious positive step in this direction. So is smart manufacturing. Not only can automated processes reduce waste by being more precise than humans can ever be, they require fewer people, thus lowering manufacturing costs. With lower manufacturing costs, companies can adjust where they are making goods to shorten their supply chain. It’s good for the bottom line as well as for Mother Earth.

Perhaps less visible to the end consumer but no less important is minimizing the negative impact caused by the materials with which we make our garments.

“While cotton, especially organic cotton, might seem like a smart choice, it can still take more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans,” EcoWatch reported. “Synthetic, man-made fibers, while not as water-intensive, often have issues with manufacturing pollution and sustainability. And across all textiles, the manufacturing and dyeing of fabrics is chemically intensive.”

While a designer can’t change how many gallons of water it takes on average to process cotton, he or she can take environmental impact into consideration when selecting which fabrics to use or from whom to purchase them.

For example, the processes involved in denim production are notoriously water intensive, using anywhere from 500 to 1,800 gallons to grow, dye and process the cotton, according to But there are innovators who are pioneering solutions that use less. One is the Spanish company Jeanologia. Not only has it created new ways to finish denim and other materials in environmentally sustainable ways, but it’s trying to help other companies to reduce the impact of their own garment finishing processes. By 2025, the company strives to eliminate water waste in the textile processing. It’s also helping other companies to understand and reduce the negative impact of its own processes by making their Environmental Impact Measuring software available to the entire industry.

The status quo under which fashion has operated since the dawn of prêt-à-porter has been wasteful and inefficient. Many in the industry have been reluctant to step away from the old ways, but as McKinsey noted, the old ways no longer work.

In 2019, the problems in our industry became so apparent that we had no choice but to have an awakening. Now it’s 2020. Change isn’t a choice; it’s an imperative. It’s also a good thing that will enable us to be a more sustainable industry, both environmentally and economically.