There is a “buzz” in the fashion industry about the adoption of 3D use for everything from product development, sampling, and even use of 3D images for websites. Most other industry verticals, Automotive, Industrial Design, and Architecture have been using 3D for many years, one cannot create a new building every time a change is requested.

The Fashion Industry has always been slow in adopting new technology of any kind. The advances in technology for fashion companies has mainly involved the adoption of new, faster, and smarter machinery at the factory level. Very little has changed in the context of design, product development, and the sampling process. Companies still design using tools like Illustrator, tech packs are created, emailed to vendors globally, and then the sampling process begins. This process will usually involve multiple sample correction to achieve the “approved sample” costing time and money. One can certainly see where 3D can help here, but why get serious now?

There are 2 main reasons that apparel manufacturers, brand, and retailers are investigating 3D for their workflows. The first is that the 3D images produced today are real enough, allowing design teams to comment and correct ahead of physical samples. The second is what I call the ZARA model or what most call fast fashion. By using 3D, a company can make design decisions faster, allowing for faster approvals, faster production times, and quicker time to market. All of this makes perfect sense, but if you speak to companies which have implemented 3D, all has not been as easy as expected. In some cases, their workflows were not improved in the way they envisioned. So, what is the truth?

I would suggest that 3D implementation is hard. The credible 3D solutions in the market require a pattern to get to a final 3D image. In the US, for example, the vast majority of companies no longer have pattern makers in house. Their current process will involve a technical designer creating a tech pack, sending it off to factory A, B, or C, and they create the pattern and proto sample from the information in the tech pack. So, WHO is the person in the organization that should be tasked to develop the 3D content? Is it the pattern maker, tech designer, designer, all of the above? The pattern maker is usually not a designer, the designer in no way wants to deal with patterns, and the tech designer may know a bit of both, but are already overtasked with the current workload. The answer is we do not have a clear WHO. The truth is another job category must be created for a user that will require a totally new skillset. In an era where technology should allow us to do more with less, why adopt a technology in 3D that will actually add to your overhead and payroll?

The solution is 3D as a service. Imagine that your designers can still work in Illustrator or any design solution, the tech pack is created, and then rather than start the process of asking for physical samples from factories across the globe, a simple click uploads your tech pack and within hours, a fully rendered and realistic 3D sample is available. This 3D sample can be used for internal review, to share with your factory, create a virtual catalog, or even to use on a website, saving on photo shoot costs. To learn more about this revolutionary and easy 3D process visit www.virtuality.fashion