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Brief Published: 12 Oct 2021

Is Digital Sampling Finally Taking Off?

Stitch 3D

Although brands were slow to adopt the technology during lockdown, continued concerns around waste and sustainability during manufacturing – as well as increased avenues of access to virtual processes – means that digital sampling may soon become a commercially enticing, mainstream option.

Stitch 3D, the digital design start-up owned by Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger parent company PVH, will now for the first time be made available to brands outside of the luxury conglomerate. Although still in beta, the software will render digital assets for in-house design teams to design and present pieces virtually before they’re finalised and manufactured – preventing a waste of time and resources making multiple physical samples. Teams will also have access to a series of online courses to help them better understand the practice and benefits of digital design.

We’re slowly beginning to see consumer-facing digital fashion hit its stride among younger demographics (see The Brief for more on this), so it makes sense that brands are becoming more open to the process in general, while also gaining a better understanding of its benefits beyond novelty collabs and in-game capsules. While digital sampling aims to simplify and streamline the garment production and wholesale processes (Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger aim to use 100% digital practices by 2022), there’s also a wealth of opportunity to be explored in retail – see Advances in Virtual Fit Tech for more.

Combined with the fact that UK universities are recognising and closing this gap in the skillsets of fashion graduates and professionals through the introduction of digital-specific courses, it seems the next-gen workforce will be well-equipped to meet this virtual opportunity head on.

For further insights and actionable case studies, see Covid-19 Survival Strategies, as well as our reports on the fashion industry’s manufacturing and seasonality responses to the pandemic.