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 

 

 

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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 treehugger.com. 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.

The digital platform allows designers to create new designs incorporating YKK® fasteners and send error-free instructions to production, reducing waste and speeding time to market.

YKK, a global leader in fastening solutions, including zippers, plastic hardware, hook and loop fasteners, webbing tapes, and snaps and buttons, is among the growing number of prominent companies in the industry to partner with Browzwear to facilitate creative design and speed time to market. Both companies also share a commitment to driving innovations for more sustainable processes and practices for apparel businesses.

“At Browzwear, we are constantly building partnerships and developing new solutions that will streamline the design process for our clients from concept to commerce,” said Sharon Lim, co-founder and CEO of Browzwear. “A zipper may seem simple, but designing and manufacturing with that zipper is actually complex. With YKK’s products available in our platform in true-to-life 3D, we’re changing that, and we feel confident that our customers will benefit from the ability to work faster and smarter.”

“Browzwear, which shares YKK’s vision for a more innovative, sustainable and efficient fashion industry, is an ideal partner for us. We look forward to working closely with the company to build pioneering solutions that will achieve those goals.” said Takashi Tsukumo, Vice President, Global Marketing Group, YKK Corporation.

The first stage of the YKK integration will be available in the January product update. The YKK catalogue will be incorporated in phases, with new products added in each of Browzwear’s software updates.

We invite you to join us at Taipei Innovative Textile Application Show (TITAS 2019) on October 7-9!

TITAS 2019 presents the perfect opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in the world of textiles from industry leaders, who are addressing the current need for sustainable, smart and functional textiles. Familiarize yourself with technological solutions that will enable you to transform your vision into reality more quickly, easily and sustainably than ever before.

Register for the event here.

Contact us to schedule a meeting at TITAS 2019 to learn more about Browzwear solutions.

We look forward to seeing you!

We invite you to visit us at PI Apparel Lake Maggiore on October 8-9!

This is the perfect opportunity to update yourself on the latest technologies that are taking the fashion design industry to a new level. Become acquainted with the newest 3D software features and other innovations that will transform the way you work, and support you in bringing to life your fashion vision.

Register for the event here.

Contact us to schedule a meeting at PI Apparel Milan to learn more about Browzwear solutions.

We look forward to seeing you!

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.

PI NY

The PI Apparel Supply Chain Forum is just around the corner!

As always, PI Apparel will bring you the latest on technological developments serving the fashion industry.

Join us on September 17-18, 2019 in New York, to hear industry experts discuss the strategic opportunities that digital technology presents and its end-to-end potential. In this day and age, to meet the diverse challenges we all face and to succeed, exploiting these innovative digital solutions to the fullest is more crucial than ever before.

One of the experts speaking at the Supply Chain Forum will be our Chief Operating Officer, Lena Lim. Don’t miss out on hearing her speak at the closing panel session about how to make an end-to-end digital transformation a business priority.

Contact us to schedule a meeting at PI Apparel New York to learn more about Browzwear solutions.

We look forward to seeing you there!