University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Innovation"

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) FOR FASHION RETAILING

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) FOR FASHION RETAILING

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, what color looks best for the ball?”

MemoryMirror (Photo credit MemoMi Labs)

What exactly is AR? Per Wikipedia, Augmented Reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. Augmented Reality for retail here!

For example, MemoMi Labs offers the MemoryMirror, which enables customers to try products virtually. How does this work?  The mirror is a reflective TV screen linked to a camera and controlled by AR software to create a virtual fitting room.

Per Morgan Drake of X-cart.com, “63% of retail brands plan to use AR in the next two years, however, 52% of retail executives do not feel prepared to support advanced technologies.”  That is, there is a demand for employees trained in AR.

Further info links:

Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality

https://www.x-cart.com/blog/augmented-reality-retail.html

https://memorymirror.com/

AR TRAINING

(Photo credit: Fashion Institute of Technology)

How does one train for this soon-to-be required skill? 

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will be offering an AR/VR course in their Content Design Certificate Program as of Summer 2020. The course will focus on using 360 photo/video, Unity (cross-platform game engine), WebVR, and A-frame (a web framework for building virtual reality experiences) to build experiences for the web. The content includes AR/VR tools, creating 360 content, creating 3D animated models, and other content.  Enrollment require a basic understanding of coding, such as HTML and CSS.  Experience with basic JavaScript is preferred. HTML and CSS are coding languages used in constructing web sites. Check the links below for more details.

(Photo credit: Kode with Klossy)

Most fashion schools concentrate on technical skills such as draping, sewing, pattern making and fashion illustration. However, in article from the October 2016 edition of Vogue Australia they explain why designers should learn to code. In today’s technological world, this skill set will be required if one wants to remain relevant. In fact, recognition of the need for coding skills has led supermodel Karlie Kloss to set up “Kode with Klossy” coding camps with scholarships for girls age 13-18.

If you are over the age of 18, there are other options to learn to code, such as the Code Academy or other online training programs.

Further info links:

Links

http://www.fitnyc.edu/ccps/designing-tomorrow/arvr-content-design.php

https://www.vogue.com.au/vogue-codes/news/this-is-why-you-need-to-learn-how-to-code/news-story/53362905dad4927674d1a433aae5c699

https://www.kodewithklossy.com/program

https://www.codecademy.com/

DESIGN VISIBILITY USING AR

Many designers struggle with how to get their collection visible to more people without a runway show. 

As Brooke Roberts-Islam noted in Forbes, AR is expanding from pre-recorded content to a live runway show in a customer’s physical location. The London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency (FIA) partnered with HoloMe to present selected collections from London College of Fashion MA graduates. Viewers were able to watch the show via smartphone in real-time.

The HoloMe website explains the four categories of AR: marker-based, markless, projection-based and superimposition-based.  Superimposition allows the customers to have human holograms model clothing products within their own homes or via another chosen environment.

This technology can be used to generate “buzz” through which customers gain first looks into what is possible. HoloMe states that they are able to provide a real-time streaming experience with their existing hardware kit and mobile platform, which can accommodate up to 1 million users simultaneously.

Further info links:

Links

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brookerobertsislam/2019/03/05/groundbreaking-augmented-reality-fashion-show-streamed-to-global-audience/#25cd5a5b45b6

https://holo.me/

https://holo.me/the-a-r-industry-and-experiential-marketing/

Can you just imagine how great that would be for an upstart designer, a fashion college student’s senior project or an ITAA design competition? Let us know what you think?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) FOR FASHION

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) FOR FASHION

What is AI exactly?  AI is the use of algorithms or computer programs to imitate human thought and action by analyzing data and learning to adapt to a variety of tasks. Artificial Intelligence, now part of everyday life, is predicted to increase in the second decade of the 21st century, especially in the design & retail environment within the fashion. Let’s explore how:

(Photo credit: Alexa Echo Dot -3rd Gen)

(Photo credit : Siri)

There are two general types of AI, ‘Strong’ and ‘Weak.’ ‘Weak’ AI is a set of programmed responses or interactions that are merely ‘human-like.’  Alexa and Siri are good examples of these.  When these devices are asked questions or asked to perform tasks, their responses are programmed, and they assess which response is appropriate from their ‘bank of responses.’  However, ‘weak’ AI does not ‘understand’ the true meaning of the commands or who should be giving the commands. So, check your device settings; all devices have Advanced Settings to address this issue. Common examples include parental controls or two-step verification (commonly called two factor authentication).

AI FASHION INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS – MERGING FASHION & TECHNOLOGY

Fashion Institute of Technology & IBM

(Photo credit: Fashion Institute of Technology)

‘Strong’ AI is used for problem-solving processes.  It’s programmed to use a mixture of logic and trial & error to find answers or to categorize things. This type of AI works by ‘image sorting’ and can help you analyze real-time images and fashion industry trends.

For example, in 2018, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), IBM and Tommy Hilfiger teamed up to evaluate 15,000 Tommy Hilfiger images and some 600,000 publicly available runway images, to understand silhouettes, colors and styles. Another tool was used to analyze nearly 100,000 patterns from various fabric websites to produce novel and unique fabric patterns. This helped eliminate “all-nighters” for design research, since more time was allocated to designing and less time for researching.

This project led to further collaboration between IBM and FIT in 2019.  FIT will use IBM AI for their Fashion Workforce of the Future in their DTechLab. They plan to partner with IBM in retail marketing & merchandising to enhance their curriculum and to perform joint research.

London College of Fashion & Microsoft

(Photo credit: London College of Fashion)

The London College of Fashion’s (LCF) Fashion Innovation Agency (FIA) is working with Microsoft to expand their offerings for advanced research in 3D effects and wearable technology. They are using AI to pinpoint consumer demand and augmented Reality (AR) to revive retail. As noted by Matthew Drinkwater, head of FIA, “We cannot ignore the way that digital has impacted everyday life and completely changed how designers, brands and retailers engage with consumers.”

AI RETAIL

Zalando Research

(Photo credit: Zalando Research)

Zalando Research (a division of Zalando), an online retailer in Europe and the UK, is another company that is developing software for designers. They are developing AI solutions for: the personalization of fit; visual searches for fashion images; determining diversity of design; recommendations for future customer purchases; pricing recommendations; generative fashion design; generative fashion image swapping using avatars, and image transfer.

The first image below left, displays how generative fashion design works. For example, you can change the color, texture and shape of the garment on the left into a very different garment, as you see in the garment examples to the right.  This can be useful in design studies. The second image displays how the same garment can be worn on different people. This could help with grading or designing for size. The third image displays different textures being modeled for the same garment style. Thus, AI can be used in the design & merchandising of fashion.

“Hello Siri or Alexa, ready to help design my new outfit?”

(Photo credit: Zalando Research)

The possibilities are endless for implementing AI in both the design and merchandising of fashion. STAY TUNED!

For more information on AI:  

Links

https://www.thestreet.com/technology/what-is-artificial-intelligence-14822076

https://www.businessinsider.com/sc/ibm-fashion-fit-design-ai-2018-2

https://newsroom.ibm.com/2019-04-23-IBM-and-FIT-Announce-Collaboration-to-Help-Build-the-Creative-Fashion-Workforce-of-the-Future

https://dtech.fitnyc.edu/webflow/index.html

https://news.microsoft.com/transform/london-college-of-fashion-designers-artificial-intelligence/

http://www.fialondon.com/

https://research.zalando.com/welcome/mission/research-projects/

The Future of Fashion: Power in Numbers

Year 2020 is upon us, and there’s no better time to take pause, reflect on the decade gone by and plot a bright new course forward.

In the past ten years, the fashion industry has seen some major shifts. In New York alone, the home of fashion week has bounced around from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center to the piers and beyond as designers have adjusted to a changing industry. Once extravagant runway shows have turned into presentations, private viewings for buyers in showrooms and studios, if not online iterations designed to showcase offerings. The power of social media and social media influencers have changed how designers market, brand and promote themselves. And the topics of sustainability, slow fashion and increased concern with how, where and by whom clothing is made have taken center stage.

Consumers have changed, too. In response to the fast and furious pace of social media, “I want it now!” mentality has driven designers to a see now, buy now cycle of production and selling in order to get their customers the clothes they want the day after they see them posted on Instagram. But consumers have also become more thoughtful with the fashion dollars they spend, taking into consideration the consequences of “fast fashion” on the environment and the humans behind the sewing machines making 9.99 trend-of-the-moment pieces.

All in all, the age old model of designing as an independent “head of house” designer, showing a collection, hoping buyers will bite, producing orders and delivering garments six months later to retailers has been turned upside down. Today designers are required to innovate, create, collaborate and develop a path in the fashion industry that will keep their design dreams alive.

The upside of this upheaval is that a bold new day in fashion is upon us—a future that is less about ego and more about educated decisions, less about opulence and more about open conversations about the real challenges our industry is facing. Running a profitable fashion business is a multifaceted operation, with more roles that need to be filled than any one human can possibly sustain.

In our opinion, the path forward will be paved with groups of designers and experts coming together for a common goal. Think of creative factories where there is no singular Marc Jacobs or Ralph Lauren, but instead a group of people, each with a particular talent, banding together as they work toward a common creative vision.

Consider for a moment the power of putting together a team of the following:

Sustainability Expert – Someone who can focus on making affordable and sustainable decisions in terms of materials and processes used. A sustainability expert may also focus on in house sustainable labor practices and options, think creating structure so that all involved enjoy a work/life balance and a healthy environment while at work.

Innovator – A designated innovator is one who can research new methods, ways of producing, materials, structures that support the efficacy of the the team’s common vision. An innovator is focused on the next step of the group’s progress.

Designer(s) – This individual or group of individuals set the aesthetic vision for the group. Imagine bringing together a team with specializations in womenswear, menswear, accessories, etc.

Pattern Maker(s) – Pattern maker(s) carry out the technical aspects of the groups vision, whether by traditional flat pattern or using 3D software, pattern makers create a library of patterns for the group.

Social Media Guru – Someone who thrives on the fast paced, changing world of social media and understands which channels appeal to the group’s customer as well as when and how frequently to release content plays a key role in any successful business today.

Influencer – An influencer who has a significant social media following and who aligns with the vision of the brand can truly alter the course of brand awareness and sales.

Brand Manager – Someone who acts as a liaison between photographers, a social media guru, designers, etc. and makes sure messaging is consistent. A brand manager may also seek out partnership opportunities that support the group.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive…there are models, photographers, and so on to consider. However, just imagine as an emerging designer, dedicating as much time to finding your tribe of like minded people with strengths different from yours as you do to learning how to draw a croquis.

Imagine pooling resources as you build a fashion business.

Imagine having emotional and professional support as you go through the typical ups and downs of any business venture.

And imagine not feeling the weight of an entire fashion brand on your shoulders as well as having a supportive team around you to celebrate the successes you will experience.

This notion of “better together” is already starting to take shape. In a recent WWD article, 7 New Designers to Watch for Spring 2020, you’ll notice only a couple of independent designers. The rest are brands made up of two, sometimes three designers under a common label.

The team at Colville Image: www.drapersonline.com

For example, in Milan, Colville is made up of Lucinda Chambers, Molly Molloy and Kristin Forss, three designers that met 15 years ago while working at Marni. Collectively, they share experience in styling, journalism (Chambers is the former British Vogue fashion director) as well as both menswear and womenswear. They speak to this idea of power in numbers when they say, “We are surrounded by amazing people who have become our mentors and influencers, friends, colleagues and each other. We involve friends to work and collaborate with us, we are building a Colville community, the collection isn’t just one voice and not even three but many, it’s an inspiring way to work.”

The team at Commission Image: @commissionnyc

In New York, Commission, a brand by designers Jin Kay, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong, is a great example of a tribe of designers with a common creative vision. All three designers are first-generation immigrants from Asia and inspired by their mothers’ style. They share an impressive collective resume of experience. Kay has designed for Gucci, Narciso Rodriguez and Prabal Gurung. Cao has taken turns at Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim and R13, and Luong is a photographer with a background in visual communication design. Not only does this tribe of artists share an extensive list of strengths and a creative vision, they are also tied to a greater purpose of combatting the stereotypical and literal translation of “Asian” beauty and culture in the fashion industry.

It’s been a decade since I showed my graduate collection for the Academy of Art at NY Fashion Week (in Bryant Park!) and I never could have predicted how fashion would change. But now, ten years later, I am inspired by the thought of future designers banding together for the ride. Fashion is such a wonderful world of creativity, passion and excitement and it’s meant to be shared. In 2020, my wish for you is to honor and recognize your own strengths and seek out your tribe for the rest!

Are you inspired by other design teams? Please share below in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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