3D for Fashion – Ready or Not, Here I Come!

Draping fabric

Apples, peaches, pumpkin pie, who’s not ready holler I!

How many of you remember this favorite Schoolhouse Rock song?

It suddenly popped into my head when I was thinking about the use of 3D and the Fashion industry. There are a growing list of technologies available to our industry using 3D to support Brand sales, marketing, and product development. I can think of no better industry to apply the benefits of “See What You Mean.”

Fashion is all about visualization, aesthetic, emotion, and the business of art. The benefits are clear for sales and merchandising where early optimization of design ideas and a collection’s inspirational direction can drive revenue. Being able to visualize the product range helps merchants and buyers ensure a trend-right collection with the right breadth and depth in the assortment, long before expensive sampling has taken place.

Another area gaining market traction is the fitting process. The cost and added development time of multiple fitting sessions can be greatly reduced with virtual prototypes.

So why does the industry lag in adoption and commercial offerings?

A recent Forrester Research report said:

From the point of view of most business leaders, the utility of virtual worlds in business is not apparent.

Do you agree?

There are still a lot of impediments to mass adoption of these technologies in Fashion, but the biggest impediments I see are realism and readiness…..not value.

Realism in fashion is being able to accurately convey the end product, in all its attributes – color, texture, drape, feel, and shape. Is virtual reality ‘real’ enough? Does the technology convey the same experience?

A big part of the shopping experience is the emotion of it all. How does the product make you feel?

Although these hurdles may never be leapt in fashion there are tremendous possibilities today to inform the planning process, merchandising process, and the consumers brand experience with 3D.

Readiness is more about the human interaction and willingness to change. Change in tools, change in process, and change in participation.

It took a long time for 2D CAD to emerge in fashion and I suspect it may take some time for 3D to emerge as well. What is different this time however is the pace at which technology is changing and impacting our everyday lives.

We have more digital tools at our disposal than ever before. The next generation of merchants, designers, and developers are going to not only expect these tools but frankly will demand them.

Their expectations will be for a fully immersive and interactive experience. This is what they will have grown up on and they will demand the same, if not more, of their work tools as they do of their personal and recreational tools.

As I said in the beginning, ready or not, here I come!

Are you ready?



Tamara Saucier works in Consumer Goods solutions for Dassault Systèmes.




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