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Brief Published: 13 Dec 2019

3D Design Tools Gain Commercial Momentum

Extra

More fashion brands than ever are using 3D software to experiment with their designs digitally, before manufacturing zero waste, made-to-order pieces. This practice is rapidly becoming more commercially viable, and vastly reduces the number of samples necessary, as well as the amount of material wasted during production.

US heritage brand Tommy Hilfiger recently announced plans to switch over completely to digital design processes by 2021, while UK tech company Platforme is used by luxury brands such as Gucci and Dior to create made-to-order products for clients, giving the consumer freedom to work directly with the brand on customisation and individual fit preferences. Additionally, British company Unmade is working with sportswear labels like New Balance and Rapha to create zero waste, fully customisable made-to-order pieces.

These 3D digital design platforms are continuing to gain commercial momentum. Designers and retailers can swap in different fabric or pattern options before deciding on which versions they want to produce. Alternatively, they can display these 3D renderings on e-commerce sites for customers to choose from, only producing the specific items after they’ve been ordered. As well as reducing waste, these made-to-order processes of clothing using digital design tools has the potential to eliminate overproduction, which contributes to the 12.8 million tons of unsold clothing sent to landfill each year.

In addition, this allows the designers much more creative freedom, as they have the platform to experiment with their designs without worrying about time, money or materials wasted on trial-and-error sample pieces. Brands would be wise to utilise these platforms to avoid being left behind in terms of sustainability and creativity, and should consider upskilling their workforce in this area.

For more on the intersection of fashion and tech see Fashion’s Digital Future. To learn more about zero-waste initiatives in the fashion industry, see Sustainability Round-Up: November 2019.

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