Using 3D design to boost fashion’s recovery

Cost, resilience and agility are going to be 3 key factors in fashion’s recovery from COVID-19, and the use of 3D technology can be a cornerstone in supporting all aspects of the supply chain.

Physical samples and sales samples cause a massive headache for footwear and apparel brands as they are costly, increase the time taken to review and sign off designs, and are prone to physical delays in transporting them between manufacturers, design teams, sales teams and marketing teams. COVID-19 has also demonstrated the fragility of the global supply chain, and brands will want to protect themselves from these risks in the future.

Anifa Mvuemba, founder of fashion label Hanifa, has reacted swiftly to the impact of COVID-19 on her plans to hold her first fashion show, by pivoting and launching her range to the public in superb style by using 3D samples as part of her own virtual fashion show.

Using 3D software skills that she developed alongside earning her fashion stripes, Anifa has shown that technology is at a stage where it can be used effectively to show off designs. Not just how they look statically, but how they move and flow on the body which is a critical part of the design and sales process.

With physical samples typically going through 3 or 4 iterations, whilst a designer may want to see a final physical sample, the potential to takeout weeks or even months from the design and sales cycle can clearly give companies a competitive advantage by shortening the time to market and eliminating multiple risk points in the design process. Similarly, reducing the cost of samples, the purchase of materials up front with the overhead of minimum order quantities, and taking out the risk of transit issues, 3D design as truly come of age.

There are several software packages that help with the design process, even simulating extreme movements as shown in this video from Browzwear (skip to 2:10). But enhancing this with more realistic flow and movement will further help to reduce the need for physical samples and overcoming some of the barriers for designers who rely on cloth in hand.

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