University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Innovation"

3D Revolution – Part 3

FROM PAPER SKETCHES, PAPER PATTERNS, & HAND-SEWN SAMPLES TO TRUE-TO-LIFE 3D

(Photo credit: Optitex)

This is the third in our series covering the fashion industry’s use of 3D software. As we discussed in 3D Revolution: Part 1 and 3D Revolution: Part 2,  fashion companies are expanding their workspaces by moving away from paper sketches, paper patterns & hand-sewn samples to true-to-life 3D in the areas of design, product development, sales & marketing.

In this blog we’ll cover the industry’s most popular 3D software providers, the benefits of 3D design and the brands that have integrated 3D into their workspace. In addition, we will announce a course that explores how to evaluate whether 3D is right for your brand, 3D software costs and how to choose a 3D software package no matter the size of your company.

It is important to note that all of the brands and 3D software providers interviewed for this 3D blog series underscored the importance of possessing strong foundational ‘on-the-table’ skills before moving into digital. Each emphasized that a thorough understanding of textiles, pattern making, fit (a key part of the draping process) and garment construction, as well as ‘by hand’ and digital drawing acumen are all critical to the process. They agreed that even the best computer skills in the world are no substitute for firsthand knowledge of the key design disciplines when navigating the 3D software space.

According to Amy Sperber, a CLO 3D user and Assistant Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology:

Foundational knowledge of grain, fabric behavior and construction variations are essential at being a competent 3D fashion design software user. The challenge for fashion designers with little digital background is that the interfaces may be intimidating at first. Those with a working knowledge of Illustrator will find familiar tool experiences  in the 2D pattern making portions of 3D software. The next generation of fashion designers will need to be technically creative and digitally fluid.”

 

3D BENEFITS

DRIVES SUSTAINABILITY – CREATES EFFICIENCIES – REMOVES SOURCES OF INACCURACY & WASTE

(Photo credit: Classic Cotton)

According to McKinsey & Company, 60% of clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year. Savers Thrift Store reports that Americans throw away 81 pounds of used clothes on average per year. And every second, enough textiles to fill a garbage truck is burned or landfilled according to Circular Fibres Initiate. The fashion industry is credited with being the second-most polluting industry in the world. However, brands are now actively seeking solutions for how to reduce their carbon footprint and many see 3D as the answer.

3D is going to be the most sustainable workflow for future fashion development as it eliminates unnecessary sampling and lets you see finished garments before spending exorbitant amounts on sampling budgets, trying to get a sample right.” –  Amy Sperber

 

FASTER TURNAROUND TIME

(Photo credit: Atacac)

Brands using 3D technology gain a competitive edge by adopting faster turn-around times from design to delivery. On-demand manufacturing is possible when brands are able to test clothing concepts (using avatars) on their website before going into production.

According to Amy, “Currently, brands of scale like Nike use this software in design development and for product visualizations for sale on their website. High concept brands like Atacac sell from 3D models and give away the patterns in open-source platforms.”

 

FEWER PROTOTYPES & SALES/MARKETING BENEFITS

Hugo Boss 3D virtual retail space (Photo credit: Hugo Boss)

Hugo Boss is another brand that is able to produce photorealistic 3D images that eliminate the need for numerous physical prototypes, enabling the creation of more new designs in less time. In this way, both Nike and Hugo Boss are using digital samples to shorten design times, cut costs and increase development speeds. Brands are now able to integrate their virtual collections into innovative 3D virtual retail spaces that allow users to walk through and fully interact with garments.

 

KEY 3D SOFTWARE COMPANIES

EFI OPTITEX provides end-to-end fashion design software that includes 2D CAD/CAM pattern design & 3D prototyping for fashion, apparel, automotive & upholstery. Their software combines powerful 2D design and true-to-life 3D visualization in a single platform, to create products that better fit customer’s needs.

Functions of the software include drafting pieces, editing, and finalizing digital patterns. It is also capable of adding various elements, such as pleats, darts, seam allowance, notches, buttons, and much more. It can grade with maximum accuracy and can generate measurement charts.

(Photo credit: Optitex)

Optitex’s true-to-life virtual samples help visualize and make quick alterations. It can also customize the intensity of lighting and shadows for a realistic view of your creation.

(Photo credit: Optitex)

The design team can style colorways and define print placement for fabrics, textures, stitches, buttons, and logos, with limitless virtual samples. They can also Inspect simulated cloth using a tension map to view the exact value of tension, distance, and stretch between the cloth and the avatar.

(Photo credit: Optitex)

Optitex offers an all in one avatar solution, i.e. adjust morphs, create sizes, add accessories, and visualize your garment in various poses. 3D parametric avatars enable designers to create tailored outfits for remote customers. When done right, this innovative technology can easily replace physical changing rooms and prevent fit issues early in the design process.

(Photo credit: Optitex)

The Optitex 3D technology is especially significant when it comes to specific items, such as bras, which have particular fitting standards or active sportswear to visualize placed logos and prints. 3D prototyping is also very suitable for the leather goods and luggage industry. The simulation of materials, such as leather, as well as the import of metal accessories such as buckles and clasps, enables the generation of incredibly photo-realistic 3D virtual prototypes.

In today’s social climate, offering outfits that fit everybody, shape, and size is essential for global brands. Using 3D avatars can ensure that customers will never shop for outfits that create disappointment and frustration and allows brands to accommodate to their needs based on accurate measurements. This is not only great for business in the practical sense of boosting sales, but also improves the brand’s image among Gen Z shoppers who look for an inclusive experience. The data collected from these avatars can also help brands prepare in advance and offer garments that fit a broader spectrum of sizes and shapes.

 

CLO 3D

(3D avatar – Photo credit: CLO 3D)

CLO 3D FASHION DESIGN SOFTWARE is cutting-edge 3D garment visualization technology     with a true-to-life a 3D garment simulation solution. Fashion designers find CLO extremely user-friendly, in fact, friend of UoF Amy Sperber (and FIT Assistant Professor), actually used CLO to complete her master’s degree thesis!

CLO is very student and budding entrepreneur-friendly. Subscription plans, payment plans and special pricing are available for freelancers, small and medium businesses, along with special educational pricing. Pricing for each of their plans can be found here. Note that students get a discount if they sign up with their university email. If you’d like more info about CLO and their software, you can request more information here.

Among major brands that use CLO 3D are Adidas, Arcteryx, Brioni, Emilio Pucci, DSquared2 and Hugo Boss. For all of our 3D computer geeks out there, you might be interested to know that Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology) is using CLO for the Virtual Thermal Modeling of Garments.

 

BROWZWEAR

(Photo Credit: Browzwear)

BROWZWEAR 3D brings the power of 3D to fashion design with a comprehensive suite of easy-to-use solutions to get your creative designs to the market faster than ever before. With Browzwear, designers digitally create any apparel in true-to-life 3D and take them to the next level with a true-motion fit, pattern modification and grading, to a production-ready tech pack.

Leading companies using Browzwear’s software are Nike, PVH, Adidas, VF, Walmart and more. While Browzwear does not have public individual pricing, they do collaborate with higher education institutions and indie designers. Contact them at sales@browzwear.com to learn more. At the 3D Body Tech conference, Vital Mechanics (BC Canada) announced a plugin to Browzwear for soft tissue modeling so when designing bras designers can properly model the compression of the garment on the bust.

 

TUKATECH

Tukatech – last but certainly not least, is UoF’s CAD pattern making partner, Tukatech. Our collaboration with Tuka over the past few years has assisted many of our ‘on-the-tablers’ to ease into the world of computer pattern making at a super discount!  Thanks Ram and the entire team at Tukatech!

Tukatech offers programs that cover: CAD room engineering, virtual 3D design & fit, garment manufacturing solutions, on-demand manufacturing and eco fashion technology. In fact, by using TUKAcad, US Apparel (a product dev company) increased their sample approval rate with H&M from 93% to 99.8%. High approval rates mean that the first sample sent to a brand is usually accepted without corrections. Eliminating the need for a second or third sample saves time in production, fuel for shipping and fabric for sample sewing – truly providing eco-friendly fashion product development.

In addition to Tuka’s computer-aided pattern making design solutions is their open systems for pattern making and 3D virtual sample-making power. Their system also offers digital fabric printing and laser cutting. The flexibility of this fashion technology allows the microfactory model to work in businesses of all sizes, from on-demand manufacturing to rapid prototyping.

 

ATTENTION ALL ASPIRING DESIGNERS & ENTREPRENEURS

If you are an aspiring designer looking to start your own line or an existing small fashion business, well then you may want to consider 3D software, it just might be the answer to shaving off the high costs of samplemaking and taking your product to market!

Independent designers utilizing these types of tools have enormous potential for direct to consumer sales. A collection will be able to be sold from digital visualizations across omni channels and social media; no longer keeping designers in one physical location – design can happen anywhere your computer can go.” – Amy Sperber

 

ALVANON’S LEARNING PLATFORM: MOTIF

The University of Fashion has always been proud of our partnership with Alvanon (the most fabulous dress forms in the market) and we use their forms almost exclusively for our lessons. Alvanon has also been collecting 3d body scan data in over 30 global markets across the women’s, men’s and kid’s market for decades. They partnered with various Sizing Research Organizations, National Size Surveys and academics globally, such as ASTM International, Shape Great Britain, Hohenstein, Size Mexico, BodiData North America, North Carolina State and Cornell University among others, to become the world’s expert on body types & shapes and has created the most inclusive avatar library on the planet.

Whether you’re a manufacturer or an individual interested in integrating 3D fashion design software into your workspace, you will want to know about Alvanon’s partnership with a new learning platform called Motif, an apparel knowledge hub that connects professionals around the world. Their course entitled, “3D Transformation: The Why, What and How” is a great way to explore the challenges and benefits involved in moving to 3D.

3D Revolution: Part 2

Alvanon Virtual Fit Form Avatar –Under Armour shirts

In our previous blogpost, 3D Revolution- Part 1– we explained how legacy processes ingrained in the fashion industry have been key factors in why the industry has been so reluctant to introduce new technologies. Some of their concerns center around whether they can trust what they see on-screen. Most have spent their entire career using old methods of design and pattern making, which ensures that they can touch, modify and fit garments before the approval and manufacturing processes. Other concerns are whether digital fabric libraries are accurate and robust enough, ROI (return on investment) i.e. the cost of integrating 3D vs the benefits and the learning curve involved in implementing 3D, are all factors.

Despite these concerns, we are seeing an increase in the number of brands who are integrating 3D technology into their workspace. According to Motif (an industry learning platform in partnership with Alvanon), “It’s not a matter of ‘if’ digital is going to be a part of your corporate strategy, but ‘when’.”

In this, the second part in our 3D series, we will:

  1. Explore types of avatars and their role in 3D fashion design software
  2. Identify key 3D software companies & industry groups that support the advancement of 3D
  3. Provide the ABCs of 3D

 

How & why are 3D avatars used in the fashion industry?

In Part 1, we learned that the first step in the process of integrating 3D technology into the workplace is to obtain customer data through body scans, to understand not only the ‘size’ of their customer but also their ‘shape.’

Avatars created from body scans in various sizes and shapes are then used in computer aided design (CAD) software. The fashion industry uses two types of avatars: Virtual Fit and Parametric. There is also an ISO standard for the digital fitting of clothing. According to ISO 18825-1:2016, Virtual fit is called a Virtual Clone and Parametric is called a Virtual Twin.  A scan from a person who is not moving is called a static scan. Adding motion to create a dynamic Virtual Clone requires a 4D scan (like 3dMD), since everyone moves slightly differently.

Virtual Fit Standard Range of Motion Avatar (Photo credit: Alvanon)

Parametric Range of Motion Avatar (Photo credit: Browzwear)

 

Virtual Fit avatars are used for design, fitting and pattern making, and are sometimes used for presentation, sales and marketing. Virtual Fit avatars are exact replicas of actual human bodies (though avatar customization options may be limited), but these Virtual Fit avatars do not have the capability for pre-programmed motion, as do parametric avatars.

Parametric avatars on the other hand, offer a better visualization of how the fabric flows and can also be used to identify certain fit issues. However, the software for parametric avatars is limited in that they may not have your consumer’s exact measurements, which makes fit somewhat unreliable. Parametric avatars are most used for presentations, sales and marketing, since their range of motion is very exciting.

For custom fitted clothing, it is important to know if a static virtual twin or a static virtual clone is to be used for garment pattern generation.  A virtual twin may not be sufficiently representative to make custom clothing if a person’s specific shape is significantly different from an avatar, which is representative of a certain population. Technologists currently generate patterns for custom clothing from static scans, not from dynamic scans. In addition, they are looking to automate pattern generation from static virtual clones, such that unique patterns can be generated from the same style to fit differently shaped people.  That is, each person gets their unique pattern for the same style of garment.

 

Mesh Modeling

Mesh modeling is a polygonal model that is used in 3D computer graphics. A mesh is a visualization of point cloud that basically connects the dots to form triangles or polygons.  More triangles or polygons improve resolution but also increases file size.

Photo credit: JoliCode

 

Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry is the process of taking precise measurements by using digital pictures typically used by smartphone apps.

Permission granted from Size Stream

 

ALVANON

Beginning in 2001, Alvanon (makers of the highest quality dress forms in the industry) scanned over 1.5 million bodies. They also collaborated with Under Armour, digitizing size ranges for the purpose of creating a fleet of 3D avatars from Infant size 0 to Men’s 5XL. This allows for the prototyping of all samples (all sizes within a product line) without having to create physical prototypes for every size. Consequently, customers can see how the garment will look, if the garment is set up for material personalization.  The Alvanon Body Platform (ABP) is a new, secure cloud-database offering 3D fit standards for the global apparel industry. Operating on all collaborating 3D software systems, it provides a fast, accurate, and simple way for brands and retailers to implement their 3D fit and core body standards with their supply chain.

“At Alvanon, we believe that the 3D journey begins with the avatar. Not just any avatar, but the fit standard that represents the brand’s target customers’ body shapes and sizes.” – Jason Wang, Chief Operating Officer, Alvanon.

 

TUKATECH

Tukatech, a concept to consumer digital platform, has recently opened their library of over 750 virtual fit models for global brands & retailers and to all 3D users in the fashion industry, regardless of which 3D fashion technology system they use. Their fleet consists of exact replicas of 3D fit models developed from leading brands’ live fit models. Each is a true representation of a real fit model who was body scanned or 3D sculpted using a proprietary measurement engine and digitized for the virtual world, including their measurements, shape, and posture.

The use of avatars in VR/AR can provide the customer with an understanding of how clothing and shoes will look prior to purchase. Or it can provide a personal getaway, anytime, to a virtual universe, as seen on their phone.

Photo credit: Wanna Kicks

Photo credit: Moosejaw

So far, the biggest users of 3D technologies have been brands within the activewear, accessories and footwear industries.  However, momentum is growing in other apparel classifications, as brands assess their own needs to obtain a competitive edge in the market.

 

Who are the key players in 3D CAD fashion software?

The first CAD software company to enter the fashion space was Gerber (1968). A succession of companies followed: Lectra (1973), OpiTex (1988), Tukatech (1997), Browzwear (1999), CLO (2009) and Marvelous Designer by CLO (2012).

CAD software used for design, costing, sampling, merchandising, quality and sourcing is known as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software. Software that manages product data as it moves through a product’s lifecycle is called Product Data Management (PDM). Software that deals with pattern drafting and marker making is known as Pattern Design Software (PDM).  And 3D Fashion Design Software is used for design, altering patterns and to create visual assets for sales & marketing.

We will go into further detail about the types of 3D features and costs involved in the next segment of our three-part series, 3D Revolution – Part 3.

 

What industry groups are helping to advance 3D technologies?

There are several groups who are focused on interoperability standards (so data can be shared across platforms), updates to technology, innovation, and 3D education.

3D.RC: The 3D Retail Coalition (3DRC), is a collaborative group of global retailers and brands, working together to advance 3D technology. Their sub committees focus on Technology, Innovation and Education. Examples of the webinars on their site include custom avatars, and 3D business processes.

IEEE IC 3DBP: IEEE Industry Connections 3D Body Processing (3DBP) brings together diverse stakeholders from across technology, retail, research and standards development to build thought leadership around 3D body processing technology standards in areas such as 3D capture, processing, storage, sharing and (augmented) representation.      

Photo credit: 3DRC

Photo credit: IEEE

 

ABCs of 3D Technology

Sometimes, the hardest part of understanding a new technology are all the new terms. Here are a few key words for the beginning of the ABCs.

A

Algorithm – A process or set of rules to be followed in a problem-solving method or calculations

Avatar – A graphical representation of a person or target customer. Avatars used in the 3D fashion design are either Virtual Fit or Parametric.

B

Boolean – A system that expresses logical relationships between things.  Search functions use the Boolean operators, such as AND, NOT, OR.  For example, “dress” and “red.”

C

Circular Economy – Products designed with a focus on generating maximum value and one that extends its longevity through reuse at the end of a product’s lifecycle.

D

Digitizing – Process of converting information into a digital format typically used for patterns.

M

Mesh – A polygonal model that is used in 3D computer graphics. A mesh is a visualization of point cloud that basically connects the dots to form triangles or polygons.  More triangles or polygons improved resolution but increase file size. 

N

Noise – The existence of extraneous recorded data within a point cloud. It
can be caused by an object obstructing the sensor or ambient light and reflections into the sensor during the data capture process.

P

Parametric Avatar – A 3D modeling of a human body shape used to demonstrate motion and fabric flow. They are sometimes used for fitting purposes but mostly for presentation, sales and marketing purposes. 

Photogrammetry – the process of taking precise measurements by using digital pictures typically used by smartphone apps.

Point Cloud – The computer visualization of the XYZ coordinates that describe a physical object. Each point represents an actual point on the object and collectively describes its shape and measurements.

R

Rendering – The graphical representation of a computer model. Characteristics and effects can be added to its surfaces and features.

Resolution – The spacing of points in a grid. The higher the resolution, the more
data that will be captured. Likewise, the lower the resolution, the “flatter” the detail.

S

Spectrophotometers (can be multi angle) – A device that allow measurement of color, sparkle and coarseness to measure effect finishes.

Surfaces – Refers to the part being scanned or to the computer file from the scanner

T

Texture Mapping – is the graphic design process in which a two-dimensional surface is wrapped around a 3D object.  Texture maps can be used to add colors, displacement, normal (used to simulate details on the surface), specular (how light reflects) and other effects.

Technical Fit – Fit of a garment that determines how the garment is made which includes: balance, function, sizing and comfort.

Tech Packs – Details of a product: flat sketch, specification measurements, and other technical details that are issued to a vendor or supplier as a guideline for sample development.

V

Virtual Clone A virtual human body that is created from a 3D body scanned point cloud using surface modeling processesThe virtual clone is identical to the body shape of the customer. (Also called Virtual Fit).

Virtual Fit Avatar – A 3D model of a human body shape used to for design, fitting and pattern making, and are sometimes used for presentation, sales and marketing.

Virtual Twin – A morphed virtual human body that can be altered by entering parameters retrieved from a population database. The virtual twin is not identical to the body shape of the customer. (Also called Parametric).

MORE 3D TO COME…

This blogpost introduced you to 3D avatars, the key players & groups that are helping to advance 3D technology and the ABCs of 3D terminology. Our final segment, Part 3, will be devoted to key 3D software companies, the brands who have already adopted 3D technology, the costs of 3D, and how to assess your needs when choosing a 3D technology company.

Let us know if you have experimented with 3D design software and what you think of it?

3D Revolution: The Future is NOW – Part 1

(Image Courtesy Alvanon)

This is the first in our three-part blog series on how 3D technologies are impacting the Fashion, Apparel and Footwear Industries. At last…the fashion industry is finally catching up to the automotive and architecture industries. Some early adopters brands are taking a giant leap away from their ‘legacy’ way of doing things and stepping into the world of 3D technologies for the design, production and marketing of their apparel, accessories and footwear. Not since 1826 and the invention of Elias Howe’s sewing machine have we witnessed such disruption in our industry. Hold on to your hats… the Future is NOW!

(Permission granted from SolidWorks)

 

The Focus of Our Three-part 3D series:

  1. Part 1 –The meaning of 2D, 3D and 4D; the history of 3D body scanning; how body scanning is used in the fashion industry; the key players that are driving 3D scanning technology.
  2. Part 2 – 3D CAD technology; the role of avatars in 3D software; the key 3D software players and industry groups that support the advancement of 3D technology; 3D terminology.
  3. Part 3 The benefits of 3D, the cost of 3D technology; how brands use 3D technology and how to choose a 3D design software platform.

Is the fashion industry ready to take the 3D Plunge?

The fashion industry has been notoriously resistant to new technologies in favor of ‘legacy’ ways of doing things (i.e. pre-computer methods of design, pattern making, manufacturing, marketing & sales).  They have long held on to the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We all can agree that a solid foundation in the disciplines of draping, pattern making, fashion art and product development, etc. (like the one we provide at University of Fashion) is mandatory, otherwise you will sink like a rock. But today’s fashion brands are recognizing that they can actually build upon those legacy processes and are implementing 3D technologies. Why the sudden change? The main reasons are both financial and cultural:

  1. With the advent of internet shopping, brands have been struggling with the staggering number of online ecommerce returns. According to the new book by Dana Thomas, Fashionopolis, that rate is a whopping 52%. Brands are realizing that if they can better understand their customers’ body shapes, they may be able to create better-fitting products, thus reducing the number of returns.
  2. A new, young and tech savvy generation of consumers expect ‘on-demand’ everything. Brands using 3D technology gain a competitive edge by adopting faster turn-around times from design to delivery.
  3. The sample making process for brands is quite costly and time consuming. By utilizing 3D design software, brands are able to reduce the sample process down to weeks instead of months. And using avatars for design, pattern making, presentation and sales & marketing purposes not only reduces the number of samples being made, but can facilitate on-demand manufacturing options.
  4. By embracing on-demand manufacturing, the concept of  a circular economy and using sustainable materials, brands can reduce their carbon footprint; a key driver in today’s consumers’ demand for full transparency. In addition, 3D technology is a source for greater efficiency, speed to market, sustainability & innovation, supply chain optimization and the ability to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

What exactly is 2D, 3D and 4D?

2D – Everyone in the fashion industry is quite familiar with the concept of  2D,  for example, a sketch, a textile or a paper pattern.

 

(Fashion Illustration & Pattern – Courtesy University of Fashion)

3D – When we speak of 3D, we reference the draping process, where fabric (2D) is manipulated around a dress form to create a 3D pattern. Or, a 2D piece of paper that is folded to create a 3D form, such as origami.

(Draped Skirt – Courtesy University of Fashion)

 

(Permission granted from The Origami Paper Shop)

4D –  4D, a mathematical extension of the concept of 3D.  Sometimes 3D becomes 4D when motion (a way to represent time) is added (for example, a video). to learn more about 2D, 3D and 4D, click on this link. 

 

What is 3D Body Scanning?

(Image Courtesy of Alvanon)

For the past 15 years, the general public has become more acquainted with the concept of body scanning, the 3D method of scanning the human body to capture various body measuring points. 3D body scanning actually dates back to the 1960s, but didn’t break into the engineering field until the 1990s. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, 3D scanning expanded to include applications for medical, biometrics, human factors, high-end fit apparel and anthropometrics. The fashion industry came to learn about body scanners when in 1997 Cyberware introduced their WB4 scanner, which was used to scan U.S. soldiers for the purpose of creating better-fitting uniforms. Previously, Cyberware’s body scanners were mostly used for special effects by the movie industry (as in the film Terminator) and in hospitals.

In 2001, [TC]2 body scanners were used to conduct Britain’s first national sizing survey called SIZE UK. In 2002, the same scanners were used to scan 10,000 Americans (SIZE USA), which was the first major study of the size and shape of Americans since the ASTM study during WWII.

By the mid 2000s, body scanning booths began appearing in stores like Bloomingdales and Gap as a way to get consumers into their stores to buy merchandise.

Today, smartphone apps like Naked Labs, Netvirta , 3DLook, mirrorsize  and others, are trying to break into the body scanning market, but with varying degrees of accuracy and success.

When a fashion brand is considering 3D software for design, product development, sales and marketing, their first priority is to perfect a virtual fit avatar (as a technical fitting tool) and a parametric avatar (for presentation & marketing purposes).  

 

Who are the key 3D body scanning players?

Each of the companies listed below have in one form or another been active in 3D scanning.

How is 3D body scanning used in the fashion industry?

3D technologies encompass both 3D scanning & 3D software. 3D scanning is used to: 1) obtain customer data (body scans), 2) to evaluate properties (textures for textiles) and 3) to understand how the product was formed (reverse engineering).

Body scans of customers provide data that brands use to understand not only the ‘size’ of their customer but their ‘shape.’ Better garment fit can be achieved by expanding beyond a standard fit model. Avatars of their generic customer in various sizes and shapes can be created and later used in computer aided design (CAD) or as input to Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) scenarios.

For custom-fitting in clothing, avatars within the CAD software can be modified to reflect a person’s actual measurements. Sometimes, custom avatars are created for specific customers. These are known as Virtual Fit Forms.

Designers use avatars during the design process in an attempt to reduce the high cost of sample making. Marketers use Virtual Fit avatars and Parametric avatars (those that have more motion, such as avatars that can walk, run and jump) to help sell/market product to potential buyers. We will go into depth about 3D CAD software and these types of avatars in our next blog.

 

Our 3D series continues…

As a fashion education resource, we at the University of Fashion are committed to delivering the latest news in the fashion industry. This blog post focused on 3D scanning technology, the first step in the process of ‘going 3D.’ As more and more companies adopt 3D technology, just as the sewing machine revolutionized fashion in the 1800s, 3D will become a very important component in the design, production, marketing & sales of apparel and footwear.

Next week, in Part 2 of our series, we will discuss 1) the role of avatars, both parametric and virtual fit forms, 2) the key players in the 3D software industry and, 3) explain the ABC/terminology used in the 3D space.

 

CARE TO SHARE YOUR OWN BODY SCANNING EXPERIENCE?

 

Here’s some additional links for 3D Body Scanners

https://floridalaserscanning.com/3d-laser-scanning/history-of-laser-scanning/

http://www.3dmd.com/ http://sizestream.com/ https://www.human-solutions.com/

https://www.tc2.com/ https://texel.graphics/ https://www.artec3d.com/portable-3d-scanners/shapifybooth https://www.styku.com/ https://fit3d.com/

https://nakedlabs.com/ https://www.staramba.com/ https://www.ibv.org/en/

http://bodymetrics.com/ https://3dlook.me/ https://www.netvirta.com/3d-scanning/

https://www.mirrorsize.com/ https://alvanon.com/ http://www.iwl.jp/en/

https://techmed3d.com/

All Hail the Queen of Raw

Nothing makes us happier at the University of Fashion than featuring power players who are making positive change in the fashion industry. And little did this designer realize I would have my design and production mind blown by the incredible woman you are about to meet.

Enter Stephanie Benedetto, self-proclaimed Queen of Raw.

This former corporate attorney on Wall Street and descendent of an Austrian immigrant turned Lower East Side master furrier is realizing her mission of turning pollution into profit. And maybe more importantly, she’s contributing to a world in which her son can grow up and thrive by breathing in clean air, enjoying access to clean water and wearing non-toxic clothing.

Benedetto suggests turning our traditional design process on its head in an effort to make design sustainable by powering design with dead stock fabrics.

Benedetto explains: Pen to paper or stylus to screen, designing a garment can be one of the most special and intimate experiences an artist can have. It’s no mystery why designers want to start their process with this creative expression. But it’s taking its toll on our world. Where is the business or environmental sense in designing a garment with a fabric in mind without having secured the specific material, figuring out the quantity available, knowing where it’s located, and the ethics in its production? The funnel is broken. Starting with design leaves the rest of the battle uphill.

Have you ever had one of those designer a-ha moments, where everything you’ve been taught somehow goes out the window, and suddenly you see your craft in a new light? Keep reading…

The Queen of Raw continues: The back and forth of swatching and communicating shipping, confirming color, managing orders, the possibility of the material becoming unavailable in the midst of communication – it happens all too often. What if (just trust me for two seconds), what if we started with a material? What if there was a way to see that something was already manufactured and ready to go?”

Once again, a-ah. I’ve faced this production quandary and it wasn’t pretty. On the flip side of things, as an emerging designer with only small orders to fill, I found myself wanting to use fabrics that I could only get by meeting the manufacturer’s minimums. This unfortunate situation left me with all kinds of extra fabric for some garments in my collection and running out of the right fabric (as Benedetto describes above) for others. Had I of started my design process with specific, available fabrics in mind, oh my, how things would have turned out differently.

As if reading my mind, Benedetto continues: You have all the information on where it’s [fabric] coming from, how much is available, how it was made, and it’s cheaper at the same quality you’re used to because it’s “dead stock.” What if designers began with what’s available instead of creating all the problems (for themselves) that slow production down by using/creating new? 

Benedetto will tell you exactly how a fledgling (or seasoned) designer’s business could benefit from this fabric-first design model, and this designer will concur.

Bottom lines would improve.

Price points on finished goods could be more accessible with production costs severely lowered.

Billions of gallons of water would be saved in using already existing excess (700 gallons per yard repurposed).

And fashion could move to the forefront of the sustainable mission instead of being the second biggest contributor to climate change.

Take in those last few words…fashion is the second biggest contributor to climate change. As responsible designers and global citizens, it’s important for all of us to consider all the design and production resources (and options) we have at our fingertips, thanks to thought leaders like Benedetto. If sourcing existing fabric options first makes sense to you, waste no time visiting Queen of Raw. As a bonus benefit, Queen of Raw will calculate the environmental impact of your order free of charge and you can pass the good news (and the savings) on to your customers.

Finally, we couldn’t write a post on responsible design and sustainable uses of fabric without giving a shout out to our friends at FabScrap. This incredible resource transports unused fabric from designers’ factories and warehouses to its sorting location. Then FabScrap either recycles scraps or prepares them for sale at a lower cost for designers and crafters. FabScrap even offers fabric sorting volunteer opportunities where you can earn fabric in trade. If you are in NYC, take advantage of one of two FabScrap locations!

If you have sustainable resources of your own to add, please don’t hesitate to comment and share what you know with our community below!

Making Fashion without Making Waste-Amazing Textile Innovations Made From Food By-Products

Food Waste takes over the fashion industry (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Saving our planet has been a major talking point not only in politics, but in our everyday lives as well. We should all be trying to reduce our carbon footprint and make our planet a cleaner place for future generations. At University of Fashion, we are committed and continue to focus on promoting sustainability in the fashion industry by highlighting innovative ways to create garments in an environmentally safe way.

For centuries, designers have been using the same fibers: cotton, silk, wool and linen, and other materials such as leather and synthetics. But the overwhelming surge in garment manufacturing has placed an enormous strain on our planet’s natural resources.

Cotton in particular has been linked to soil erosion and water contamination due to pesticides, as well as the 20,000 liters of water it requires to produce just one kilogram of cotton, enough to make a single t-shirt.

Synthetic fabrics also have had a negative impact on the environment. Polyester is known to produce carcinogens, such as terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol in its production, with every wash hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibers enter our water supply.

According to fibre entrepreneur Enrica Arena of Orange Fiber, existing textiles such as cotton, rayon, polyester and wool will not be able to satisfy the increasing demand in quantities and quality going into the future. The solution, she believes, lies in re-purposing the byproducts of food production that would otherwise head to landfill.

Nina Marenzi, founder and director of The Sustainable Angle, who organizes the Future Fabrics Expo, told Forbes magazine, “The over reliance on conventional cotton and virgin polyester, both reliant on finite resources and polluting in its production, needs to change. Sourcing materials from a wider variety of fibers, including innovations appearing now made from food waste, algae, regenerated cellulose, a recycled source, is the way forward.”

Future Fabrics Expo, THE SUSTAINABLE ANGLE (Photo courtesy of Forbes magazine)

The innovative technology used to create textiles from agricultural waste is exciting and groundbreaking in our fight to protect our planet. These unconventional fabrics are solving two problems in one, these fabrics are solving wastage caused by our food consumption and turning it into natural, resourceful fibers for the fashion industry.

At University of Fashion, we hope young and aspiring designers will embrace these sustainable textiles and hopefully we’ll all be walking around in food waste clothes in the future! Remember – make Fashion not Waste !

Qmilch

Clothes made with QMILK fibres are biodegradable, natural and have a silky touch. (Photo Courtesy of QMILK)

German-based company Qmilch has been creating textiles out of casein, a by-product of commercial milk production that is not allowed to be sold as food in Germany due to health regulations.

According to their website, “for the production of 1 kg of fibre we need only 5 minutes and max 2 liters of water. This implies a particular level of cost efficiency and ensures a minimum of CO2 emissions.”

Not only does the production of this textile reduce our carbon footprint, the fabric is also biodegradable, meaning your favorite dress will become worm food when it reaches the end of its natural life cycle.

Piñatex

Fashion designer, Laura Strambi has picked up on the wave and designed a coat made of Piñatex’s metallic range of textiles. (Photo courtesy of designer)

Liselore Frowijn (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dr. Carmen Hijosa is the founder of Ananas Anam, the company behind Piñatex. This doctor’s background in the leather industry was the inspiration behind the change to a more sustainable alternative.

Piñatex produces one of the most famous fruit-based vegan leathers today. The textile is made from pineapple leaf fibers; by turning the part of the fruit that cannot be eaten, it provides an additional income for farmers and is a cruelty-free option for shoes, bags and clothes.

Designer Liselore Frowijn, works closely with Ananas Anam fabrics. According to Frowijn, “I am proud to work with Ananas Anam who are helping to build a more sustainable textile industry with their unique Piñatex product. Substainability in fashion is no longer a choice, but a pledge of responsibility undertaken by a new generation of designers.”

Orange Fiber

A look from the Orange Fiber capsule collection by Salvatore Ferragamo (Photo courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo)

Orange Fiber produces soft and silky fabrics that are created by discarded orange peels. The Italian textile is perfect for creating dresses and tops since it is similar to viscose in that it is made from cellulose, and it can also can be blended with silk and cotton, but doesn’t involve the cutting down of trees.

In 2016,  Salvatore Ferragamo created a capsule collection using the material which has a premium finish to it, making it an ideal fit for the Italian luxury brand. Ferragamo asked architect and designer Mario Trimarchi, to create exclusive prints with a Mediterranean feel that would be in sync with the origins of the fiber. This resulted in designs inspired by Sicily, the island’s nature and fruits and drawings of floating clouds and flowers, at times in an abstract version.

Parblex

Parblex is steadily gaining traction in the fashion world and is being prototyped as buttons and glasses frames. (Photo courtesy of Parblex)

 

 

Chip[s] Board®  manufactures a wide range of materials that were created from potato waste that are perfectly suitable for the interiors and fashion markets.

The company’s second material, a bioplastic called Parblex, is steadily gaining momentum in the fashion industry and is being prototyped as buttons and eyeglass frames. Parblex has a beautiful textured finish and is available in three colors: smoke, tortoiseshell and snow.

Agraloop Biofibre

An H&M look using Agraloop Biofibre technology. (Photo courtesy of Circular Systems)

In 2018,  the cutting-edge corporation Circular Systems won the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award for their Agraloop Biofibre technology. This innovative technology turns otherwise forgotten food waste into fiber for high-quality garments, which Circular Systems boasts are able to be created in a “cost competitive and scalable way.” The technology uses hemp seed, flax seed, pineapple leaves, banana tree, and cane bagasse (bagasse is the dry pulpy fibrous residue that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice) to create these new fibers. Along with clothing, Agraloop Biofibre can turn waste into packaging, organic fertilizer, and bio-energy. The possibilities seem to be only growing for this new product.

Vegea Textile

Vegea Grape dress (Photo courtesy of The Industry)

Vegea is another vegan alternative to leather; creating a leather like textile from grape marc (the skins, stalks and seeds discarded in the winemaking process). The result, a rich and beautiful wine hued leather-like textile; without the need for killing animals or toxic tanning. Vegea will continue to research and grow its business thanks to funding from the EU.

The fabric is so avant garde that a couture dress made from Vegea by designer Tiziano Guardini was recently exhibited at the V&A Museum’s Fashioned From Nature exhibition in London.

According to the Vegea website, “Sustainability is one of the pillars of our social responsibility policies and is based on production processes that use vegetable raw materials, recycled materials and bio-based polymers.”

So tell us, how will you reduce your carbon footprint when you are ready to produce your collection?

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DRESS FORM INDUSTRY 2019 – LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING

Permission granted from Alvanon

Dress forms and body shape – can the standard dress form hourglass figure be improved upon?

Continuing the conversation of consumers demanding size inclusivity and better fitting garments, this blog post focuses on large-scale manufacturing.  The industry is being forced to take a more serious approach to matching design aesthetic to body shape. This blog reviews the dress forms that are available, for large-scale manufacturing, to make body shape inclusive garment design possible. A previous blog post, What’s Happening in The Dress Form Industry 2019 – Part One, focused on small-scale manufacturing.

Note: The companies below are examined from a U.S. perspective.  Any companies wishing to be added to this list should contact the University of Fashion. Information contained in this post reflects the known status as of March 2019.  Cost ranges are noted in U.S. dollars and do not include shipping or taxes. Please double check links for the latest information.

LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING 

Traditionally, dress forms used for production were available only within a narrow size range and of only one body shape.

Women: Most dress forms for women are modeled on an hourglass figure in which the hips are slightly larger in diameter than the bust. The waist is about 8-13 inches (20 cm – 33 cm) smaller than bust and 9-13 inches (23 cm – 33 cm) smaller than hips, depending on the size and manufacturer. Dress form companies don’t always separate missy and full sizes for women – sizes range from U.S. 0 to 24, as listed on one size chart.

Men:  The male dress forms usually end at US size 46 with the waist being smaller than the hips.  Since many American men no longer have this body shape, additional padding may be required for a better fit around the stomach.  If men’s clothing is based upon standard dress forms, is the fit of men’s shirts truly correct?

Children:  The child and toddler dress forms tend to be full body forms with certain measurements for each size. Since the obesity rate of the children is rising globally, the question becomes, do the currently available children forms still match the same shape and size that are needed for today children’s wear?

A little review: If you need a background on dress forms, The University of Fashion has a video that categorizes various types of Dress Forms.

Link:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/introduction-to-dress-forms

 

TRADITIONAL MANUFACTURING DRESS FORMS

Permission granted from The Shop Company

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

There are many companies that make direct pinnable and partially pinnable dress forms in the US.  The shape differences are intended to define features (buttocks or busts) or maternity shapes for women. Most companies who make the directly pinnable also sell partially pinnable forms and display forms.  The companies who manufacture traditional dress forms include Dress Forms USA, Superior Model Form Company, Dress Rite Forms Company, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, Roxy Display, Only Mannequins, The Shop Company, Subastral Inc., and Classy Dress Forms.  See Table 1, Pinnable Dress Forms at the end of the blog for more details on pinnable dress forms.

Direct Pinnable: The foam thickness is deep enough to handle pins going straight into the form.

Partially Pinnable: The padding thickness is deep enough to handle pins going in at an angle into the form.

 

Should standard forms represent many different body shapes or only hourglass?

Dress Forms from Demographics

With consumer demands, companies are now expanding beyond the traditional sized dress forms.  Even brands not focused on size specific body shape (e.g., plus size) will utilize a range of mannequins and dress forms that have variations in waist-to-hip or waist-to-bust ratios.

 

Alvanon

Permission granted from Alvanon

Alvanon performed extensive anthropometric research to better address garment fit for the branded target customer market.   Custom forms (AlvaForm) are focused on sales regions and demographics of interest.  Alvanon forms are industrial grade and equipped with full functionality for fit evaluation.  The shape of the forms is accurately shaped and proportioned from physical characteristics derived from relevant consumer data.  There is an extensive selection of size categories, for different regions and industries based on population characteristics. The cost range for the Alvanon forms is $1625 to $3450.

Alvanon not only has the data and physical forms available, but also provides Virtual AlvaForm avatars that can be shared between garment designers, technologists and across the supply chain for initial prototyping or sampling.

 

If brands sell garments solely by region, will it be harder to buy clothing on vacation unless you are in the same size range as the locals?  Note to self: Do not forget any clothing before you travel.

 

LARGE MANUFACTURING CUSTOM DRESS FORMS

Some of the companies that make traditional manufacturing dress forms also make custom dress forms that are modified by the customer measurements.  Requirements for the customer information are obtained by measurements or casting.

 

Superior Model Form Company

Professional Missy Fullbody Form, With Arms and Chrome Base. Permission granted from Superior Model Form Company

The Superior Model Form Company has custom and standard dress forms. Customer measurements can be used to create a unique dress form or to fit certain demographics.   The custom forms cost about twice as much as standard forms.

The custom forms are available in the following:  Women, full body or half body forms; Men’s full body and jacket forms; and Children and Toddler full body forms.

 

PGM Dress Forms

Special Size Custom Made Dress Forms. Permission granted from PGM Dress Forms

PGM custom forms can be made from measurements provided by the customer either at a PGM show room or at an on-site service center.  Alternatively, the customer can provide their own measurements.  PGM provides another service that duplicates the brands’ current dress forms.  The forms can be constructed as half-body, full-body, as a sculpture model or a gypsum model, obtained from mold fittings or from measurement fittings of Women, Men or Children.  The cost range for custom forms range from $1400 to $4000.

 

Classy Dress Forms

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

At Classy Dress Forms, a custom-made series of soft mannequins can be made based from customer’s desired measurements and photos or from an existing mannequin.  A 3D model is created first for customer approval. The cost is $1390 per dress form.  The mannequin has a soft jersey cover without draping lines.

 

ROBOTIC MANNEQUINS

Another level of mannequins and body shape involves robotic mannequins from two different companies:  one in France and another in Hong Kong. The cost for the robotic mannequins is very expensive and these solutions are only practical for larger companies.  Robotic mannequins can be used to test clothing for medical, sport and fashion.

 

Euveka

Permission granted from Euveka

Permission granted from Euveka

Euvka has developed Emineo, a female robotic mannequin and its companion design software, Mineo. Emineo is a scalable robot for sizes 36 to 46 with rapid deformation in less than a minute.  Mineo can be used integrally or by zone to change height or width in less than 30 seconds in accordance with the body and garment size. Busts are modeled with a breast box that varies in size from A to E.  Spare covers are specially designed to aide visualization of the plumb lines.  Robotic mannequins for adult males and children are in development.  Cost range of the robotic mannequin is available by quote. To learn more: https://www.euveka.com/en/blog-2/

 

Winswin

Permission granted from Winswin

A Hong Kong based company Winswin has robotic mannequins (called iDummy) in female and male products lines, in shapes of full body, top body and bottom body forms. The body panels are based on human body research.  The range of proportions are closer to Asian sizes.  For example, for women, busts range from 78 to 100 cm (30.7” – 39.4”), hips range from 89 to 108 cm (35” – 42.5”) and heights range from 154 to 172 cm (5’ to 5’8”). For men, chests range from 88 to 108 cm (34.6” – 42.5”, hips range from 91 to 111 cm (35.8” – 43.7”), and heights range from 172 to 190 cm (5’7 ¾” – 6’2 ¾”).  The cost of the robotic mannequins is available by quote.

Covers would need to be fabricated to make it partially pinnable.

Should adjustable forms be made for commercial level durability without the robotics?

Summary

As described in Part One and Part Two blog posts, the physical forms that allow brands to test designs for size inclusivity are improving. The cost of true custom forms is still very expensive relative to the cost of the “off-the-shelf” forms.  Virtual forms are becoming more popular (and a topic of a future blog). However, the capability to change physical form is important to designers and students to understand body shapes and garment interactions.

Clearly the field is open to innovations – either by using robotics or easily fabricated body shaped dress forms.  

How should dress forms to be more inclusive?

 

Table 1: Partially or Fully Pinnable Dress Forms

Dress Forms USA
https://dressformsusa.com/collections/display-dress-forms
Pinnable half body forms, Realistic buttocks: Women’s 2-24; Male 36-46;
Pinnable Children Full Body Forms, 3 M to 14 T (G &B);
Display forms (that allows for use of pins) as well: Women’s 2-20, Men’s size 40
Form Types: Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: Sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: Display, $120 – $200; Dress Forms, $257- $679

 

Superior Model Form Company
http://superiormodel.com/community/
http://www.superiormodel.com/52-custome-dress-maker-forms
Standard forms for Women’s 4 -16, 22; Men’s 38 to 46, Bridal form with Derriere Women’s 4-14;
Certain Dress forms, ¾ forms, Leg forms not custom
Custom: Women, full body or half body forms; Men’s full body form, jacket form and Children, Toddler full body forms
Form Types: Pinnable, Display, Vintage
Shape Differences: Make custom forms from measurements
Cost Range: $470 to $1200+

 

Dress Rite Forms Company
https://www.dressriteforms.collections/dress-forms
Pinnable Dress Forms – both half body and full body forms;
Half body Women’s 2-24, full body 2-20; Men’s half and full body 36-42, Pinnable Children Full Body Forms, 3 M to 14 T (G &B); half scale Women’s 2-16
Form Types: Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: Make custom forms by casting of person
Cost Range: $300 – $800

 

PGM Dress Forms
https://www.pgmdressform.com/Plus-Size-Women-Dressmaker-Form
Women Dress Form and Full Body, 0-20; Women Lingerie, 4-10; Juniors Dress and Full Body, 5-15; Women Half and Full Body size 16L- 30L; Men’s Half and Full Body, 36-52; Men’s Half and Full Body 36Y – 48Y; Children Full Body, 6M – 24M; Girl Full Body 7G- 14G; Boy Full Body, S, M, L; Full body with legs, double function, allowing to insert pole through center or through leg.
Form Types: Pinnable at angle
Shape Differences: Makes Custom forms from measurements and sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: $300 – $500

 

Ronis Brothers
http://www.ronis.com/category_s/3.htm
Women’s Dress and Full Body, 4-16, or 12- 24; Junior’s dress and full body 7-15; Men’s dress and full body 34-46; Children’s dress and full body 2 to 6X; Boy’s and Girl’s dress and full body 7-16; Infant dress and full body 3M to 24 M; Young men’s 34-46;
Form Types: Partially Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $845 – $1350

 

Roxy Display
https://www.roxydisplayinc.com/webpage/dressforms/femalehalf.html
Women’s Half dress forms, size 2-24; Full dress forms, 2-20; Men’s Half and Full dress forms 36-42; Children’s 3M- 12T
Form Types: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Sell own pad kit
Cost Range: $200 – $500

 

Only Mannequins
http://onlymannequins.com/Pages/Male-Female-Dress-Froms.php
See Row 2: Women Magnetic, Pro Size 2- 20; Men Size 36-42
Form Types: Fully Pinnable, Mannequins, Displays
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $135 – $215

 

The Shop Company
https://theshopcompany.com/
https://theshopcompany.com/dress-forms/professionals.html
Women Dress 0-24 and Full Body, 0-20; Men Dress and Full Body 36-46; Children Full Body 3M – 14, Children Half body 54-70
Form Types: Pinnable, Display, Mannequins
Shape Differences: Sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: $200 – $550

 

Subastral Inc
https://www.subastralinc.com/dress-forms.html
Women Dress Form 2- 12, Dress From 2-18; Women Plus size 14- 24, 18L-24L; Women Plus size Full body 14L -20L, 16L-26L; Men and Children display and mannequins
Form Types: Partially Pinnable, Displays, Mannequins
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $80 – $640

 

Classy Dress Forms
https://classydressforms.com/catalog/
Women Half Body Form 2-16 US, 34-48 EU; Arms and Heads available
Form Types: Fully Pinnable, Polymer construction, cotton cover
Shape Differences: Make Custom forms from measurements or from existing Mannequin
Cost Range: Dress Forms $450

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DRESS FORM INDUSTRY 2019 – SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING

Permission granted from Alvanon

Dress forms and body shape – can the standard dress form hourglass figure be improved upon?

With consumers demanding size inclusivity and better fitting garments, garment manufacturers are forced to take a more serious approach to matching design aesthetic to body shape. Design and pattern-making must adapt to consumer driven needs and wants. No longer will a single-size dress form suffice for an entire product line.  Dress forms used in the fashion industry are also referred to as dress makers dummies, Judies, mannequins; however, they must not be confused with store display mannequins. This blog reviews the dress forms that are available, for small-scale manufacturing, to make body shape inclusive garment design possible. Large-scale manufacturing will be covered in a subsequent blogpost entitled, “What’s Happening in The Dress Form Industry 2019 – Part Two.”

Note: The companies below are examined from a U.S. perspective.  Any companies wishing to be added to this list should contact the University of Fashion. Information contained in this post reflects the known status as of March 2019.  Cost ranges are noted in U.S. dollars and do not include shipping or taxes. Please double check links for the latest information.

SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING – ADJUSTABLE FORMS

Adjustable Forms

Adjustable forms, which have been around for many years, are targeted to the home sewing and low volume sewing markets.  Note that any active movement (this includes breathing) by the customer affects measurements of the upper body including but not limited to the waist, bust and under bust.  Only one brand (Ronis Brothers) has an adjustable breast location. The measurement range for adjustment varies by form brand, so understanding the dimensional variations is required.

Permission granted from Singer

Permission granted from Ronis Brothers

The adaptability of these forms is limited to girth and height, and the resulting shapes will approximate traditional sizing charts. Even after accounting for nominal size, these forms still need pads to adjust for proper shape.  The adjustable dress maker forms cannot be used for draping, as direct pinning is not possible.  The companies who manufacture adjustable forms include:  Singer, Dritz, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, and Rozy Display.  See Table 2, Adjustable Dress Forms at the end of this blog for more details.

 

SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING – BODY SHAPE PADDING KITS

Available Foam Pads Kits

Foam Pads Kits are being used to further adapt and customize dress forms, full body forms, and adjustable dress forms/mannequins. These pads can be used with any sewing mannequin or dress form or full body form by any brand for both women and men.

If you have an inverted triangle shape, you will need to size the dress form based off your hips and pad the bust. If a diamond body shape is appropriate, you will need to determine which is the smallest between the bust or hips, and then pad the waist.  Most derrieres on dress forms are pretty flat, so if your shape is different, padding will be required, and you may need to start with a smaller size and add padding to attain the appropriate shape.  Depending on the garment (corset versus sports bra), the configuration of the breast can take on different shapes and the padding may vary.

Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System

Permission granted from Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System

The Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System is an off-the-shelf pad system which has 17 pads and two body covers and is sized to fit various dress form sizes (small to extra-large).  The padding allows for adding 1 to 3 inches (2.5 cm to 7.6 cm) in various areas on the dress form. Due to the number of pads, various body types can be accommodated.  These can include straight/broad/round shoulders, wide/small back, high/low rib cage, high/low/large bust line, large stomach, high/low upper hip area, full upper hip, thighs and large hips, and others.  Extra pads for bust, stomach, side back, side hips and thighs are available.  Dress form covers are available in either side-seam cover, princess seam, or with a neck-to-ankle princess cover with a back zipper.  There are instruction videos on the company’s website for adding appropriate padding in proper locations.

Roxy Display Standard Pads

Permission granted from Roxy Display

Roxy Display offers yet another dress form padding system.  It consists of a 12-piece system that can be applied to all standard dress forms.  Pads are listed for shoulder, bust, stomach, hip, and waist. The stretch cover is shown fitting over a size 6 form.  Instructions are shown on the Roxy Display website. The cost is around $30.

 

SMALL SCALE CUSTOM DRESS FORMS

How to Create Your Own Custom Dress Form or Have One Made

To save money, there are many DIY posts on creating your own dress form.  Methods can be summarized as body casting, good-old duct tape, or patterns. The links in the following table are not all inclusive but give examples of different methods.

Table 1: Home Methods

Body Casting

Jezebel

https://jezebel.com/how-to-make-a-custom-dress-form-part-one-5803791
https://jezebel.com/how-to-make-a-custom-dress-form-part-two-5806327?tag=diy

Verrier

http://verrier-processes.blogspot.com/2010/02/body-casting-with-plaster-of-paris.html

 

Duct Tape
Howcast

Threads Magazine

https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/10/24/quick-and-easy-duct-tape-dress-form

 

Patterns
Boot Strap Fashion
https://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/diy-dress-form-sewing-pattern.html
Instructables
https://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-Dress-Form/
Mermaid’s Den
https://mermaidsden.com/blog/2017/05/25/make-a-custom-dress-form

Would you want to try any of these methods?

Dress Forms from Scanning

Custom forms tend to be for an individual and therefore, creating a body form for everyone is not scalable in the retail market. One form per customer would not be practical.  However, if a brand wants to have dress forms of various shapes for design purposes, custom forms developed from fit models or models that match closely with the brands market may be a good place to start.   Requirements for customer information are obtained by measurements only, phone app or body scanning.

Beatrice Forms

Permission granted from Beatrice Forms

Process Flow, Permission granted from Beatrice Forms

Beatrice Forms focuses on creating custom dress forms.  They do not create standard forms at all.   It is a multi-step process.  The customer uses an iPhone app (only iPhone – no android) along with a body scanning kit to record the customer’s shape and measurements. The scanning process is shown on a You Tube video linked from the Beatrice Forms website. From app-produced videos, a 3D model of the body is created to cut the dress form from the foam.   A cover for the dress form is provided. The privacy policy for Beatrice Forms is listed on the company’s website and is listed in the links below. The EU privacy guidelines are listed for any EU citizens living in US or Canada.

If the customer changes their mind and does not want a form, there is a charge for the scanning kit. The cost for the first custom form is around $1200+ range. If a customer needs a bodice update, the cost is about half of the first form.

 

 

Personal Fashion / Ditto Form

Permission granted from Ditto Form

Ditto Form, Michigan LLC working thru Personal Fashion is another company that makes a copy of the customer’s body into a dress form with crotch.  The company has set up a scanning schedule for U.S. customers for calendar year 2019.  Further information is available on the PersonalFashion.us website.  The process involves a 3D scan using a Styku scanner. The resulting digital image is overlaid onto a durable yet flexible foam form.  The finished product comes with a custom cover that is matte grey knit with black markings.

Customer data is not shared with StykuStyku does use the aggerated data, as stated in the customer agreement, but there is no way to identify individuals.  However, Ditto Form does keep the original and working files from orders up to one year.  Scans not immediately placed into dress forms are kept for up to six months.

There is a charge for the scan that is incorporated into the dress form cost.  The total cost for the custom dress form is around $1400+.  An independent full body 3D scan is available as well for $500.

Links:

https://dittoform.com/high-resolution/

https://dittoform.com/products/

https://personalfashion.us/

https://dittoform.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Getting-Ready-for-Your-3D-Body-Scan.pdf

 

Classy Dress Forms

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

Classy Dress Forms is another company that uses 3D scanning to obtain customer data and after processing the data, manufactures a 3D model by a 5-axis milling center accurate to 0.5 mm.  A jersey cover is individually sewn for each dress form. The cost is $1690.  However, this does not include the travel expenses of the measuring specialist. They are paid separately.

If scanning and phone apps become more common, would more shapes of dress forms become available for smaller brands or start-ups?

Summary

The physical forms that allow brands to test designs for size inclusivity are improving. However, the cost of true custom forms can be very expensive compared to the cost of the “off-the-shelf” forms.  However, the capability to change physical forms is important for students to understand body shapes such that garment interactions may change with various body shapes, especially when designing fully bespoke garments.  Students can learn to appreciate different body shapes by using pads in conjunction with standard dress forms as an affordable option.

Students should ask themselves, how they would change dress forms to be more inclusive?

Table 2: Adjustable Dress Forms

Singer
https://www.singer.com/notions/dress-forms
3 sizes: Small/ Medium – sizes 4-10; Medium/ Large – sizes 10-18;
Medium/ Large – sizes 16-22; 360 degree Hem Guide
Flannel exterior with foam backing,
12-13 adjustments (neck, bust, waist, hips, height)
Form Type: Partially Pinnable – can pin to a top layer of fabric
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only
Cost Range: $160 – $180

 

Dritz
https://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/dressforms/
https://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/dressforms/my-double-deluxe/20406/
5 women’s sizes: petite, small, medium, large and full size
Child adjustable – 6-12 years of age
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only, padding tutorials on website
Cost Range: $147 – $320

 

PGM Dress Forms
https://www.pgmdressform.com/Adjustable-Fitting-Dress-Forms-PGM-Sewing-Dress-Form-Chicago
Two sizes, 4 and 8, adjustable 3 sizes up,
Form Type: Pinnable at an angle
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only
Cost Range: $199

 

Ronis Brothers
http://www.ronis.com/Ronis_Bros_Adjustable_Dress_Form_NY_p/ad-001.htm
jz@ronis.com
Size varies from size 4 to size 20, allows for both increasing and decreasing the bust and will raise and lower the bust as well with dual levels at the bottom of the form. Size will be indicated when turning the upper knob
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes, Bust can be raised and lowered
Cost Range: Around $600

 

Roxy Display
https://www.roxydisplayinc.com/webpage/bodyforms/female/other/jf-fh-2.html
One size, Adjustment Dial (Bust, Waist, Hips)
Foam-Backed Fabric Exterior allows you to easily pin dresses, skirts, tops and patterns.
Height Adjustment lets you customize the dress form to your height.  2 sizes,
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes along with separate Roxy foam padding kit
Cost Range: $125 – $135

High-Tech Future of Retail – Behind the Scenes

Picture1

The High-Tech Future of Retail is coming, and it may be closer than we think.   Customers are demanding improvements to the apparel experience, and the Retail industry is actively responding.  This blog highlights some of the research and development in process to bring the High-Tech Future of Retail to the everyday Retail customer.  This group of industry leaders and researchers are focusing on automating the experience of product selection and fit, for improved time to market, and product customization, particularly to regard to bespoke fit.

From Foot Scans to AI-Based Style Recommendations – Italy

The fashion industry is transitioning to Direct-to-Consumer and Product-as-Service models, thanks to the automation of product customization and associated personalization-for-style processes. This is known as mass customization in the US and in Europe as an industrial approach to retail Made-to-Order and its extreme option of made-to-measure.  An Italian company, ELSE-Corp, has expanded on this concept by incorporating Deep Learning and Small Data oriented versions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for use in fashion design, retail and manufacturing.

Their Virtual Couture Fashion™, is a vision for a Real Time Fashion System bringing AI driven design, new technologies, an improved value chain, a completely new business model and novel manufacturing methods to the Fashion industry. It aims to accelerate the transformation of the industry towards a direct-to-consumer, customer-pull approach; enhancing the customer’s virtual shopping experience and optimizing the Virtual Retail value and service delivery chain using 3D and 2D computer aided design (CAD), teamed with AI.

The Big Data approach focuses on general business intelligence, with multi-channel analytics and real-time demand planning.

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

The Small Data approach focuses on personal (AI-driven) demand for optimized product design and retailing.

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

The Virtual Couture Fashion™ system provides accurate predictions of the style and size/ shape needs of individual customers, while forecasting product demand and improving supply chain planning and optimization.  Just-in-time on-demand manufacturing is made possible, and customer needs are met through either product customization or algorithms that search for products likely to fit based on customer characteristics.  Brands benefit from better customer satisfaction and better on-demand planning.  The environmental impact of the global fashion industry is improved through less wasteful practices related to excess inventory and customer returns.

How will customer needs and preferences impact retail in the future?

Links:

https://www.else-corp.com/

www.virtual-couture.org

Dreams of Retailer and Brands – Belgium/ The Netherlands

The dream of a Retailer: “Empower customer with their unique data, use our knowledge to get the data to her and in the end, she can shop seamlessly without any effort in any channel that she likes.”

Lien Van de Velde from Van de Velde Lingerie and Swimwear, on a PI Apparel’s Fashion Made podcast, explains the behind-the-scenes of development of an on-line try-on augmented reality tool or app. Expanding their company’s mission to improve the self-image of women through fashionable lingerie and fitting assistance to be in all channels, (in-store, on-line or mobile app). 

Utilizing their Summer 2018 Lingerie Collection, Van de Velde tested the app with core customers in their central Amsterdam store. They were surprised to learn that Millennials (age 18-25) still enjoyed interacting with a fitting expert in selecting proper fitting and fashionable bras. Customers judged this to be even more important than using an avatar that reflected the customer or the ability to share their choices with friends. Testing of the app began in Summer 2018 and still under development.

Permission granted from Lien Ven De Velde, Van de Velde Lingerie and Swimwear

Permission granted from Lien Ven De Velde, Van de Velde Lingerie and Swimwear

How to keep the brand’s strengths with the new technology?

Links:

https://www.vandevelde.eu/en

Brands – Marie Jo, PrimaDonna, Andres Sarda, sold in Rigby & Peller, Lincherie, and Private Shops

http://apparel.pi.tv/

Podcast: titled the “Virtually Trying On Lingerie”, Oct 30th, 2018

From Scans to Patterns – Canada

The Clone BlockTM, developed by Emma Scott of Fashion Should Empower (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada), offers to solve the problem of garment fit for body shape with a new method of translating body dimensions to a 2D pattern.  An inability to quantify body shape has hindered the automation of fit.  Scanning allows for a quick understanding of the customer’s body shape but without a method to quantify it, custom pattern shaping must rely on trial and error fittings to perfect fit.  Traditional methods of body shape assessment merely approximate shape (twin block).  The Clone BlockTM replicates the body in 2D thereby offering a mathematical representation and a new approach to garment fit assessment compatible with automated technologies. Where traditional garment fit assessment practices have previously relied on the comparison of 1D (tape measure) measurements, the Clone BlockTM offers a 2D assessment compatible with 3D technologies.

By permitting the comparison of the body shape inherent in the garment, to the body shape of a unique individual, sizing recommendations can more accurately be focused on pattern shaping and fit preference than sizing charts.  As quoted from Emma Scott’s paper presented at the 3D Body Tech 2018 conference, and shown in Figure 10 from the paper, “Body shape dictates the amount of hidden ease (affecting fit preference) available as it directly relates to shaping of the pattern during the design process.”

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

How do we make the Little Black Dress look good on every Body?

How will 3D body scanning impact pattern-making and understanding of garment ease?

Links:

https://fashionshouldempower.ca/

http://www.3dbody.tech/

From Scans to Patterns – UK

What do Aerospace engineering and pattern making have in common? At the University of Manchester, U.K., a collaborative project between the School of Materials and the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering developed the JBlock2D package – an automatic block-creation-geometry library. This library is the beginning of new open source software dedicated to the realization of a fully-automated custom-clothing production process.  The key is to create pattern blocks that accurately reflect the shape and proportion of customers.  The JBlock2D forms a platform for the analysis of pattern-to-person relationships coupled with body scanning.

Dr. Simeon Gill’s research (School of Materials) focuses on how patterns are related to the body and how this relationship drives the product.  His work will be facilitated by body scanning and analysis that allows for algorithm directed measurement, and thereby leads to a better understanding of body shape. Dr. Simeon Gill is convinced that pattern drafting can only really evolve in tandem with body scanning.

The current version of JBlock2D library includes 2D geometrical features that mimic the geometries used in traditional hand-created garment pattern blocks.  The library can be used to automate any pattern drafting method. The goal is to enable mass-market automation of custom apparel production and perhaps improve and ultimately standardize pattern drafting methods. There is a guide on YouTube showing how the JBlock2D software provides and interface to create dxf patterns drafted to an individual’s measurements directly from a SizeStream body scanner. It allows for direct creation of individual pattern blocks.

Body to Bodice

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Scan to Pattern Bodice

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Will 3D scanning cause the pattern drafting techniques to converge?

Links:

https://www.adriantheengineer.co.uk/single-post/JBlock2D2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5zsIK7ZCv4&t=6s

Definition of terms – Global

The High-Tech Future of Retail will also require new vocabulary and terms. The common terms of sloper versus block are sometimes used interchangeability.  However, as Rochelle New noted on the website Craftsy.com: “a sloper is a type of basic pattern that is used as the building block for all other patternmaking. Slopers are drafted based on specific body measurements and do not include a seam allowance, wearing ease, or any other design elements. They are simply a representation of a three-dimensional model in two-dimensional form.”

Clone BlockTM:  A Clone BlockTM is a mathematical representation of 3D body scanned data and translated to 2D, it replaces the traditional sloper or block with a block that mirrors body shape. While like other traditional blocks, in that it is base pattern from which other designs may be made, proprietary landmarks make the Clone BlockTM uniquely suited for technological platforms.  Unlike traditional garment blocks which use static unchanging darting and shaping, the Clone BlockTM is digitally marked for body shape parametrization with darting and shaping that adjust to match 3D body scanned data. Void of seam allowances, wearing ease and design elements, the Clone BlockTM can serve the purpose of a traditional block while also providing the foundation for mass garment customization.

JBlock2D: a JBlock2D is a type of basic pattern stored in a digital library that is used as a building block for all other patternmaking. A JBlock2D pattern is generated from body scans, thus allowing for improved understanding of body shape, as derived from body measurements extracted from the point cloud.  The JBlock2D library allows for seam allowance, wearing ease or any other pertinent design elements.

Sloper

Permission granted by Craftsy.com

Permission granted by Craftsy.com

Clone Block

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

Will 3D scanning create new definitions for very similar items that have manual or digital versions?

Links:

https://www.craftsy.com/sewing/article/making-a-sloper/

From Scans to Designs – UK

At Sheffield Hallam University, U.K., technology from the research centers are being used to enhance teaching and learning in fashion.  During the Semester 2 (Winter 2019), fashion design students will use 3D- imaging technology (developed by the Centre for Sports Engineering Research) to explore design in new ways. A video presentation, created with students, will demonstrate the potential of this collaboration.

Dr Alice Bullas, a researcher from Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sport and Health Innovation, provided the details of the project.  As she explained in a project write-up “A member of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research Centre will teach members of the Fashion Design degree how to use a custom 3D scanning system (manufactured for the purpose of this project). Each student will have the opportunity to be scanned so that they are given a ‘virtual mannequin’ of themselves. A 3D likeness in a pose of their choice. The Fashion Design teaching team will work with the students and their virtual mannequins to explore designs, material choices and the way in which materials and designs interact over body shapes and forms. This will be done in an existing 3D design package.”

Towards the end of the project, a video will be produced which details: the technology that has been developed, the designs, creations and experiences of the students and the wider contexts for this technology. This video will be the core of a social media campaign which aims to showcase the project and what it produced. The intention is to repeat the project year on year.

Will designers understand body shape better with 3D scanning?

Links:

https://shu.ac.uk/research/specialisms/advanced-wellbeing-research-centre

Humming the Lyrics – US

As a WSJ article stated in “9 Movies That Can Teach Your Children About Business”, the movie Singing in the Rain reminds us that coping with change is a forever process. Strategies for learning how to work with new technologies are a lifelong skill.  Singing in the Rain shows how a movie studio made the transition from silent film to talkies.   The new technology referenced in that movie has now been around for over 100 years and is available even on your phone.  So, at the end of the day, when all the new technology gets overwhelming, just start humming the lyrics from a classic song….

Remember even old technologies were new, once upon a time.

Links:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nine-movies-that-can-teach-your-children-about-business-1543201740

THE NEW REIGNING GENERATION – GEN Z

Courtesy of Elle

(Courtesy of Elle)

Let’s face it, the focus of the last decade has been mostly all about Millennials (the group also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers/the children of Baby Boomers). Millennials being the demographic cohort born between 1980 – 1994, who came of age (10 – 22 years old) between 1990 to 2004 and who represent approximately 71 million in the United States alone. Fashion brands and marketers got to know them well over the years and they expended lots of time and money understanding their shopping patterns.

But now…a new generation is taking center stage, Generation Z (also known as post-Millennials and the digital generation). Gen Z is defined as those born between the years 1995 to 2009 and who are coming of age between 2005 – 2020. Their current population is 21 million, but according to the U.S. Census, that number is projected to grow to 80 million, with spending power estimated at $200 billion annually and over $1 trillion globally in indirect spending power when you factor in their influence on parental or household purchases. Gen Zers are mega influencers and you can believe that fashion brands and retailers have been working overtime, trying to understand and cater to this new demographic.

Never mind the fact that some of this new cohort are not even old enough to vote, they are for sure driving the present and future of the fashion industry. According to a report by Barclays, “by 2020 Generation Z will be the largest group of consumers globally. They will account for 40% of consumers in the U.S., Europe and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and 10% of the rest of the world.” This generation has huge spending power.

Gen Zers are the first generation to be connected to social media from birth. They have the capacity to share events, opinions and experiences, and are changing society at lightning speed. In addition, they are empowered on how they view life and are simultaneously setting the stage for common attitudes within their own tribe. Gen Z are living in an exceptional world, one that is very different from previous generations. Let’s explore what Gen Zers are all about.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images, Payton Hartsell

(Photo Courtesy: Getty Images, Payton Hartsell)

Digital Natives

Millennials were introduced to the rise of social media, tablets, smart devices and the mobility/connection that the digital revolution created as they were growing up. Gen Zers, on the other hand, were born digital and therefore have no idea that this is something new. Being digital is part of their DNA and as a result they are extremely tech-savvy and are self-learners. They have never known a world whereby they couldn’t instantly get connected or find the answer to any question that crosses their mind. They literally are growing up online and are connected more than 90% of their free time.

Courtesy of Getty Images

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Economically Conservative

Another fact about Gen Z, is that they have only known turbulence and instability, having lived through the aftermath of 9/11 and experienced war and economic recession. They may have older siblings who struggled to find work during the recession, and this has now driven them to focus on self-awareness, personal reliance, financial conservatism and hard work. Therefore, they are more conscious on how they spend their money. They are aware of volatility within the market. And although the economy is currently strong, they are very careful where they invest and spend their money, should the economy slow. This also leads them to analyze brands more carefully. Contrary to Millennials, Gen Z are less idealistic and more realistic and for that reason fashion is less about ‘fitting in’ and more about making choices that reflect their identity. They are not spending less, they are just making smarter choices that reflect who they really are.

 

Social Activists

Gen Z is the first generation that has grown up in a world that is more openly diverse than in the past. They are much more conscious about their future. Globalization has allowed the mix and migration of cultures. Most of this generation grew up having an African American president in the U.S. – Barack Obama – and a woman Chancellor in Germany – Angela Merkle, phenomena that was not even thinkable in the past. The increased attention on the LGBT and environmental movements have forced impressive changes in history, making marriage equality a reality in places such as the U.S. and India, as well as the banning of plastic bags from different places, like China and the U.K. These and other related events have shaped Generation Z. Therefore, it is no surprise that this demographic cohort looks for brands that are conscious of the environment, diversely-inclusive and that offer non-gendered products.

Courtesy Time magazine

(Courtesy Time magazine)

A Generation Empowered

Contrary to Millennials, Gen Zers didn’t grow up over protected. They have not been given trophies just for participating. This generation has not been sheltered from the evils of the world. On the other hand, parents of this generation have taught their kids how to defend themselves in a world, where there is easy access to everything. They have been educating their kids and preparing them to deal with life’s difficulties, such as internet bullies, predators, school violence, economic setbacks and career challenges. Parents of Generation Z tend to have more open and consultative relationships with their children. They are pushing stronger to prepare them for life and this has created individuals with higher expectations. This unique social environment has made them a generation that is intuitively innovative, goal-oriented and realistic.

All the social characteristics and traits discussed above, can be seen in their preferences for fashion, entertainment and advertisement. And that is why they are so interesting. They have a unique way of seeing the world, and we need to see the world through their eyes in order to cater to them correctly.

 

So, what are Gen Zers looking for?

Generation Z may be perceived as impatient with short attention spans, but they are not superficial, they are quite hungry for authenticity. They want brands that meet their real needs, and they are always looking for the better, faster and more fun option in a brand. They are looking for brands with a realistic storytelling, something that connects with their individuality and their tribe. They are not obsessing with stereotypes, or images of beauty standards that have been created so far. Instead they actually challenge those old standards, because they want to relate with brands that resembles themselves. This generation doesn’t feel the need to change to fit in, in this world. They simply want to be their own true self and they are choosing brands that honestly reflect this inclusivity and diversity.

Generation Z is highly educated, technologically savvy and naturally creative. Even if they are immersed in social media, which may seem to some as trivial, they best use it to create a positive impact in the world. Therefore, you see them more likely pointing out injustice, racism and inequality. They only want to be associated with brands that are social and environmentally responsible, or which have a greater purpose than just “selling a shirt.” They are not to be fooled, they do not fall for beautiful things without content. They may be young, but they are way advanced for their time.

 

Courtesy of Business of Fashion

(Courtesy of Business of Fashion)

How can brands and retailers connect to these savvy consumers?

Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, Gen Zers get to share everything they do, buy, and experience with their friends – real time. Because of this, they expect shopping to also be experiential. They don’t want to only buy “stuff,” they also want to buy the “experience,” with the product becoming an added bonus. For retailers, it’s as simple as encouraging a consumer to upload to their new outfit to Instagram, to personalize a bag with their initials, or, as complex as what some stores in N.Y.’s Soho have done, adding interactive technology, a meditation studio, or in-store basketball court among others. Retail stores are now realizing that they need to offer more than just a ‘transaction.’ A great example of this is Farfetch. Last year they launched their pop-up “Store of the Future,” where they provided a screen for customers to sign in and search for their bucket list or purchase history. They also have smart mirrors, so customers can request different sizes, alternative products or even pay without leaving the dressing room. Another example is the House of Vans London Skatepark, a location where art, music, BMX, street culture and fashion all meet up.

 

Farfetch’s  pop-up Store of the Future (Courtesy of Bloomberg)

Farfetch’s pop-up Store of the Future (Courtesy of Bloomberg)

 

House of Vans   Deep Bowl    London Skatepark                                            (Courtesy of Skateparks)

House of Vans Deep Bowl London Skatepark (Courtesy of Skateparks)

What experimental shopping tells us about Generation Z is that they care about things that connect them to other people. They are constantly looking for something that is going to stay with them, that is going to feel authentic and not robotic. Also, they are looking to ‘connect’ to the brand and the retailer. So today, smart brands realize that they must sell an experience along with their product. This experience doesn’t necessarily mean having to have complex in-store technology to ensure a remarkable customer experience, but they will need to offer a memorable interaction with the consumer. It has to be original, meaning it has to be close to the brand’s values and authenticity. The interaction needs to connect with the personality of the consumer and it needs to be unexpected and unique. It is all about personalizing the shopping experience and providing more than just a product.

As the fashion industry continues to decode the likes and preferences for Gen Z, others like futurist/demographer Mark McCrindle is leading the campaign to call anyone born after 2010 a part of Generation Alpha. According to him, 2.5 million Alphas are born around the globe every week.

 

Care to share a favorite Gen Z story of this group is helping to change the world?

Rare Kicks Auctioned to Kick Slave Labor in the Fashion Industry

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Pictured above: Kith X Nike LeBron James XV, Long Live the King Part II, 2018

This summer, the rarest, most coveted sneaker collaborations were on view on Park Avenue at the Tongue + Chic, Sneakers  X Artists exhibition. The exhibition ran for only about a month and a half, and we were lucky to make it in before the closing date of August 31. Sneakerheads came from near and far (and formed lines around the block) just to get a glimpse of famous collaborations between Nike, Converse, Puma, Reebok and various artists and influencers. Read More