Our Content Marketing Strategist, Jessica Couch is a fashion tech guru. Check out her latest advice on how 3D body scanning can benefit your fashion/ apparel design business.
Tech and fashion are a perfect pair. The courtship between the two is slow and a bit rocky process, but the stars are still aligned for this union of what seems to be opposites. One of the hardships fashion seems to be facing is the integration of 3D technology into the various stages of production. Objectively, as someone who loves both tech and fashion, this seems like a simple solution for the many inefficiencies fashion and apparel production companies face. Below is an understanding of how 3D can take your business to 4D level ( see “The Experience Economy”) while saving time and money.
The design room is one of the more inefficient aspects of the design process, don’t believe me, just read my article on techpack generation. Finalizing design samples requires actual materials, fabrics, mailings…etc., which can drive up costs significantly over time. In design, we have processes: sketch to design – design to sample- rapid change generation- sample approvement- then production. This cyclical process is repeated as much as needed. Design rooms rely on the physicality of this process due to tradition, this is how things have always been done. But modern innovation leads way to more efficiency. Digital innovations such as 3D design and 3D sample making shortens a traditionally week long process down to a few days.
The problem – The physical long drawn-out process of sample development is costly, time consuming and extremely inefficient.
The solution– Virtual 3D sample making alleviates the need for multiple physical samples. 3D samples display drape, fabrics and tension in real time so that designers can make adjustments quickly and get approval from clients even faster. Companies such as Optitex offer sample development programs as part of their enterprise. For smaller companies, technologies like Sharecloth provides a viable alternative that allows you to develop, view and edit sample on your mobile device while keeping in communication with your team!
Sample development is a big deal. Being able to develop samples digitally prior to a physical sample, creates a more direct communication line between designers, production, manufacturers and buyers.
3D: Better Design, Better Fit
Poorly fitting clothing seems to be an epidemic. Fit models do not represent the general population so developing clothing based on fit models usually leads to fit problems and fit problems lead to no sales, high returns and brand mistrust. Since fit is becoming increasingly important in the process (long overdue), 3D provides solutions for fit issues.
The Problem– Judging fit on various body types is difficult with physical patterns. Making corrections are time consuming and generally, multiple bodies are not considered, which is bad for mass retailers. Instead one fit model is used repeatedly to build out complete collections. This is an outdated method of fulfilling your customer’s needs.
The Solution– 3D sample making software allows designers to upload 3D body scans (objx files) of various bodies and drape designs on the bodies in the virtual world. These can be used to test the fit of garments on various shapes and in various sizes in less time. Clothing can also be seen in motion so that the right samples are developed. This can be helpful when developing products for different types of people (wow what a thought) this can be specifically helpful with creating accurate fit assessment for customers to review. On the higher end, companies such as Browzwear/ Lotta provide software for 3D product development. For smaller businesses Clo3D is an alternative with costs as low a $80/ month.
In addition to the right fit, designers can begin to condition their customer to be scanned as a regular part of the purchase process. In doing so, brands can discover key archetype details for their actual loyal clients can use that information to improve fit and perhaps create new categories.
Companies like Avametrics is leading the way with 3D fashion and apparel rendering with photorealistic renderings. Although these renderings are mainly being utilized for retail and ecommerce. Avametrics received 10.2 million to develop a virtual try-on app.
Apparel customers are increasingly seeking out customization opportunities. As many companies expand their size offerings and online customization offerings, 3D body scanning will become more relevant. At the same time, brick and mortar stores will inevitably shift into “experience hubs”. Innovation in the retail such as Modern Mirrors– interactive mirror displays for enhance fitting rooms, Happy Returns ( cross platform return hubs for retailers), are helping to create a new use for the traditional brick and mortar stores.
The Problem– Stores are in rapid death mode as shopping moves online. However, there is still a need for a haptic experience in-store to compliment the digital evolution of shopping.
The Solution-3D body scanners. Utilizing 3D body scan data can be complicated because there is no set way to follow. To optimize scanners it takes a customization of the experience with an understanding of the desired results. The design, the output data and the UX interaction for online application have to all be customized to the brand for 3D to be successful. But this should not deter you from integrating 3D. See Below:
The Problem– The need for body data collection and measurements for customized garment production is evident but the cost of body scanners and the bulkiness makes it difficult to create in-store “experience hubs”. Not to mention previous studies have revealed that people get completely freaked out by the traditional 3D body scanning booths.
The Solution– Portable 3D body scanning- portable 3D scanners like the one designed by Mirage 3D. Mirage 3D makes mobile 3D scanning software that scans and measures a customer directly on an iPad. To make this feat possible, an attachment called a depth is attached directly on the iPad or phone. In anticipation of the next generation mobile devices with built-in depth sensors, Mirage 3D has created technology allowing anyone to scan and measure themselves with their mobile device using their apps.
Countless stores are closing down their brick and mortar extensions. But brick and mortar stores aren’t dead. They are actually ready for a tech transformation. Store now need to transition to becoming Experience hubs. Mirage 3D can also outfit an existing fitting room or shop area with several small, innocuous sensors to turn any space into a 3D scanning platform without the bulk and expense of existing body scanners. Brands can use this type of technology to create enhanced online experiences with accurate measurements and directive shopping.
Jessica V. Couch is a content strategist and fashion tech guru, she joins us with a background in fashion tech consulting, helping brands integrate technology to enhance the omni-channel experience.