Benefits of Virtual for Fashion
Digital fashion is a virtual fashion experience that thrives on imagination and creativity, with sustainability at its core.
Welcome to the guest issue. What’s up everyone. I’ve got a special issue for you today from sustainability guru Vera Lovici. This is part of a guest series I’ll be working on to give y’all other points of view from experts in the fashion industry. You can subscribe to her newsletter here. Enjoy!
See you next Sunday,
Vera Lovici is an experienced communication professional and the creator of Sustainability Pulse with the mission to create a positive impact. She takes pride in providing the best sustainability news in the fashion industry through her extensive newsletters and events.
Sustainability Pulse is a digital media platform & event company in New York founded by Vera Lovici. With events focused on procuring & promoting preloved fashion, she creates shopping experiences that are more than just picking up your latest clothes from a department store. Instead, shoppers can enjoy art while browsing fashion treasures as they make their way through the sustainable marketplace.
Digital fashion has been part of global brands’ real-world strategy for a while now. Making it up for smartly saving the environment and staying ahead of the technology curve means strengthening most industries’ competitive advantage.
We all know that the fashion industry is big business, with the global fashion industry worth a staggering $2.4 trillion. With AR forecasted to be valuated at $60B and VR projected at $34B, making it a huge investment opportunity in terms of technology. Technology has undeniably altered virtual fashion and has brought some positive changes in the fashion industry throughout its value chain, touching every aspect of each stakeholder.
On the business front, VR has the potential to democratize the fashion industry for its creators. Conventional fashion shows, tradeshows, and other means of exposures for new brands are primarily held in the US and Europe, and involved a high price for participation. But now, new virtual innovations can lower the barrier to entry for new talents in underrepresented areas, thereby making the fashion industry much more inclusive.
This article lists some of the benefits of virtual fashion and how technology should evolve across different segments of the fashion value chain. Brands and suppliers are improving their development and production processes. Retailers are enhancing customer experience while pushing for sustainability. Consumer awareness and communication have vastly improved…all due to the advancement of technology.
1. Fashion DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, and PRODUCTION process
In a world of revolutionary technologies, the fashion industry plays its part in the innovation and evolution of virtuality and 3D design, amongst others. There are many challenges in the industry, but with challenges come opportunities. Now robots can sew and cut fabrics while AI algorithms can forecast trends. Modern technologies such as 3D design are revolutionizing the industry. With these technologies, designers can envision the designs they’ll produce and what the industry will look like in the post-COVID world.
Virtual fashion design has increased its presence in the fashion industry in recent years, from large companies to independent designers. Brands and designers who adopt 3D and virtual samples in their design process can now easily visualize and communicate their end products.
Fashion design includes sketching an initial idea and setting technical specifications to help both the designer and the producer throughout the entire garment-making process.
What’s a Flat Sketch?
Annoyingly and confusingly, these are also referred to as technical illustrations, flats or CADs (Computer Aided Designs). No wonder it feels like a minefield when your conversations with various people use different terminology.
A flat sketch is a two-dimensional technical drawing that illustrates a garment with primary solid lines. It’s like a “blueprint” of the fashion design — much like an architect’s blueprint for a house before they can begin to construct it.
Flat sketches are an essential part of the garment’s blueprint sheet or tech pack. They provide the manufacturers with all the technical information they need to build the design. To create flats, or CADs for inclusion into the tech packs, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have long been industry standard, but now designers have access to 3D design programs that will help them create and customize their designs much more efficiently as well as visualizing their end products in real time.
A great example of 3D design software is CLO Virtual Fashion — or known as the independent designer’s best friend. In addition to the capability to design in 3D, CLO provides digital touch points and services through the design and product development process, including the benefits of its virtual customization platform and its collaborative and data asset management platform for virtual garments. Its rendering is impressive, enabling real-time manipulation of 3D models that are incredibly close to the real-life product.
Another excellent example of 3D fashion software is Browzwear, ideal for enterprise brands. Their V-Stitcher is a computer simulation program that allows apparel designers and manufacturers to see their collections accurately and realistically early in the design process. It offers excellent functionalities for design teams. For example, the 3D fashion software goes beyond design, patterns, and grading to allow integration with many PLM systems.
3D technology has existed for a while, but the pandemic gave it the final push to be at the front of everyone’s plan. During the development phase of typical clothing productions, major brands produce hundreds of samples. To develop a garment, fashion brands must create numerous prototypes and customize patterns. Reducing samples by creating digital clothing has done more than reducing wastes and pushing for sustainability. By enabling virtual samples, it prevents millions spent, miles travelled, and fabrics used. It has also simplified the traditional sampling process that usually takes at least two weeks. With virtual sampling, that process can be reduced to a day.
Once the garment is designed, and the prototype is built, it’s time to produce it. Sourcing suitable fabrics and finding the proper manufacturers are the starting points.
To make your designs materialize, Cameo v7 is an apparel pattern development software for expert patternmakers. Whether crafting unique creations or designing for mass standard-size productions, designers can plan, edit, and create technical terms for patterns. To use the software, it is still essential to know how to construct a pattern on paper. It doesn’t replace that kind of skill, but it does make the process more manageable.
It has never been easier for retailers to target the right audience!
With sophisticated technology that comes with many virtual fashion platforms, companies can gather a wealth of data about their customers’ demographics. Retailers are increasingly utilizing data provided by these platforms to zero in on their customers. Before these platforms, or even data collection became available, companies limited themselves to tracking what a person had bought. Retailers must know these things, like the back of their hands, so that they can offer the best possible retail experience.
In terms of providing an experience, the fashion industry is getting a makeover as technology and innovation are forging new relationships between brands and their customers. For example, in 2019, Louis Vuitton partnered with EA to launch the multiplayer game League of Legends, which includes physical clothing capsules and a collection of in-game designer skins. DressX provides 3D designers and traditional fashion brands with a platform to sell digital clothes as a digital commodity that gives physical designs a new life and new revenue opportunities in the virtual world.
Online shoppers love immersive experiences made possible by Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. According to an article in Forbes, Greg Jones, director of VR and AR at Google, said that Google’s findings showed that 61% of users say they prefer to shop in stores that offer AR.
Bridging that gap between online and offline, people can try new clothes, shoes, and even hair color and makeup before going to the store. We have already seen Augmented Reality being used in Try Before You Buy experiences from brands like Topshop, Converse and Sephora. Lately, companies like Zara are using AR to enhance the in-store experience. For a better user experience, customers can use their phones along with image recognition technology to see virtual models wearing the clothes from racks.
In response to the pandemic, beauty retailers like Sephora and Ulta have banned customers from testing makeup products on their skin. For many physical stores that reopen, hygiene and safety are top priorities.
Retailers are turning to AR to help their customer test thousands of beauty products to facilitate their buying decisions. With hygiene and customer safety paramount, more and more retailers are beginning to use AR to simulate real-life experiences. Retailers are also starting to use AR technology to reinvent the digital shopping experience with virtual storefronts.
However, the customer benefit comes from the ability of brands to make life easier for their buyers. Customers want help when they want it, but they don’t want to be harassed, teased or annoyed.
People buying clothes just to wear them online is no longer a secret. Influencers and those aspiring to become one are in constant need of content creation. They are transforming the “outfit of the day” phenomenon into a literal shopping experience.
For a long time, fashion has been a social function, being a statement, a way to present yourself. With many buying clothes just for social media, it’s a good reason to create digital clothing, which simplify the process for content creation without the physical garments, thereby reducing some of the industry’s wastes.
Lastly, we cannot conclude this article without mentioning virtual influencers. In recent years, KFC, Balmain, and Renault have used virtual avatars to promote their brands. As you might have guessed, these influencers do not exist in the real world, but they have backgrounds and lives they actively show on social media.
Typically, a whole team of designers, artists, and content writers work to present the life of such an influencer. To make them look, move and sound more realistic and human-like, developers use motion capture and/or a whole slew of other programs. Some of the virtual influencers are actually real human bodies with CG-made faces.
Born in the US in 2016, Lil Miquela is one of the leading digital avatars touted by streetwear and luxury brands such as Calvin Klein, Prada, and Chanel. She is also a singer who has released several singles, and according to the Times, is “one of the most influential people on the Internet. She has transformed from a coveted robot to someone with more than 2 million followers.
With continuous technological rush in mind, marketers can expect that ultimately, the production of such influencers will be cheaper and more advanced. Currently, creating content through virtual influencers might not be part of everyone’s budget.
While we’re finding more and more online retailers embrace technology and encourage shoppers to use these features, I think it might become a requirement in the future.
Visit Voor3D website to browse our virtual showrooms and check out the advantages our technology brings.
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