Adrianne and Johanna reflect on their experiences working at Columbia as the company navigates its 3D journey, including how 3D has transformed interdepartmental communication and collaboration, how they have trained their teams to adopt a new visual language and built designer trust in the accuracy of 3D, and successfully eliminated rounds of physical prototyping with the ability to make informed decisions over digital twins of the physical garment.
For Columbia, much of their focus began with looking at how they could streamline communication when it comes to conducting pattern changes, grading, and sizing, a typically lengthy and tedious process. “3D changed communication and collaboration a lot,” says Johanna. “I can communicate what kind of pattern changes I want to make to a prototype that I receive now that we have much better tools to communicate these changes, not just verbally, but in the program.”
Over time, Adrianne and Johanna worked closely with the designers to establish trust in the digital prototype by comparing it to the physical sample and “teaching the teams to read a visual language,” adds Adrianne. Once trust was built, the next hurdle to overcome was utilizing 3D technology to better collaborate on design intent and ensure that the first physical prototype was as close to it as possible without having to conduct multiple rounds of physical sampling. “The better those first physical prototypes look, the better we do businesswise,” says Adrianne.
Not only does 3D technology facilitate better communication, but it also allows for faster turnaround times, especially when it comes to conducting iterations for partners overseas. “We’re able to make the tweaks to multiple digital prototypes at once, perfect the garment, and make it better before receiving that first physical prototype,” says Johanna.
VStitcher has also been of great use for Colombia in grading and sizing, enabling Fit Engineers to visualize the pattern grading across different sizes and body types using different avatars.