Experts have told Just-Style Magazine that, while apparel brands and manufacturers have so far been slow to adopt 3D design and fit technology, such solutions can deliver significant long-term rewards
Boaz David, founder and CEO of Human B, a consultancy business for the fashion industry, says that by enabling brands to shorten the time to market, 3D technology can give them “more agility and flexibility to address current market needs, as well as reducing their inventory, both of which will impact their cash flow – the biggest challenge for brands.”
The extent of such benefits are underlined in a customer survey from EFI Optitex, which found that one luxury goods company had been spending close to US$30m on sampling alone – but by going digital was able to reduce the number of physical samples by 10%, saving millions of dollars.
“Other brands were able to reduce the number of physical samples from 5 to 1.5, with an average of 10-15% reduction in overall sample production costs,” says Amit Ben-Sheffer, head of product at EFI Optitex.
Speedier time to market
Ron Watson, VP product at Centric Software, says 3D technology empowers brands and manufacturers to revolutionise their product development processes, eliminating endless rework of designs and prototyping to make product development decisions much faster and get more innovative products to market, sooner.
Dr Simeon Gill, senior lecturer in fashion technology at the UK’s University of Manchester, stresses that with 3D fit solutions, for instance, companies should ensure that all people involved in design and product development can see the results.
He notes that one company he visited was creating reports with data generated from scanning technology shared with all the teams across the company – but the scans themselves were not being shared. “So, the facility for people to understand other than numerically what their population variance is, was incredibly limited.”
Savannah Crawford, chief collaborator at fashion technology company Tukatech, says another key challenge to overcome is making disparate technologies work together to make significant gains in speeding up the process from design sketch to style approval and beyond.
She says apparel companies often adopt 3D design without accounting for fit or how the garment will be made upon approval, for instance. “They have a beautiful 3D garment on screen, but they need a separate CAD (computer aided design) system to prepare for production.”
“Workflow of repeatability”
Another option is US-based Gerber Technology’s 2D-to-3D CAD solution AccuMark 3D, which Ketty Pillet, vice president of marketing, says “allows clients to establish a workflow of repeatability, consistent quality, and consistent fit.”
She adds that when the 3D solution is paired with a powerful nesting algorithm (laying out cutting patterns to minimise raw material waste), such as Gerber’s AccuNest, designers can estimate fabric consumption, resulting in 15-20% fabric savings.