By Ton Wiedenhoff, Executive Director, Europe, Alvanon
The digital world of apparel development has merged with the physical world to create a ‘phygital’ reality. A reality that allows brands to design, produce, merchandise and sell fashion in completely new, highly efficient and sustainable ways. In the phygital world of the metaverse some brands are already achieving truly sustainable results but it requires bold new thinking, empowered leadership, investment and learning on an unprecedented scale.
“The Metaverse is a shared collective virtual space. It has three distinct characteristics: It is not storyline driven. It is a virtual space that anyone can visit to fulfill their cerebral needs. It is not owned by any one platform. It is open, democratic and owned by everybody. It is driven entirely by User Generated Content UGC.”
Daniella Loftus Founder, This Outfit Does Not Exist, at 3DTech Fest 2021
Phygital is the concept of using technology to bridge the digital world with the physical world with the purpose of providing a unique and realistic interactive experience for the user. For example, Alvanon creates authentic human body avatars based on data generated by 3D body scans of real humans. It then produces exact physical copies of the digital avatar enabling users to work in digital and physical spaces.
From digital catwalks to virtual changing rooms, 3D processes are transforming consumer experiences and have become essential to fashion brands.But it’s a new, confusing and complex space. So where to begin.
In order to leverage digital technologies, brands must start with the fundamentals.
First they must identify and define the region and age range of their target consumer demographic.
Then different data sources, like body scans and medical data, are analysed to determine the body shape, posture and measurements of a brand’s specific fit standard.
From this data we will identify the core size, as this normally represents the largest percentage of a brand’s customer base. As clothing is not sold in one size, it’s important that a brand develops a full size range of bodies to cover its entire offering. Once a fit standard is defined, the brand can develop its core size garment in 3D, and visualise the resulting fit of the garment.
Best of both worlds
While 3D is getting increasingly accurate in terms of its true to life simulation, brands will still usually need a physical sample for comparison. Alvanon will produce an exact physical replica of the virtual body. This physical sample is based on the identical fit standard of the digital body and can be used confidently for validation and approval.
A brand can then grade the approved digital garment and evaluate the entire size range. This will ensure that all sizes fit consistently, not just the base size.
Models created in the digital world are generated from real body data
At this point, a brand may want to see its garments on a more life-like avatar. Human-like facial features and bone structure can be added consistent to the fit standard. To make it even more realistic, human hair and skin textures can be added to make it the virtual fit model for a specific brand.
Additionally, the virtual models can be generated in various poses, while making sure muscle mass and body deformation are anatomically correct. A brand can then analyse and assess the ease and fit of garments in different postures.
The result is an exact visualisation of the garment on a beautiful render of the digital fit model. In some cases these virtual representations are being used in marketing before a single garment has even been made.
Through this process, authentic digital garments are created. A library of these assets becomes one of the key foundations of a brand’s digital journey into a phygital world.