Digital Patterning

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This site is for industry professionals interested in faster, more profitable pattern making with digital patterning.

The Role of Digital Processes in the Rise of "Nimble" Fashion Brands

The Role of Digital Processes in the Rise of "Nimble" Fashion Brands

Fast Fashion  is a process by which inexpensive clothing is produced rapidly in response to the latest trends. In addition to the low-quality clothing concerns, the practice is also associated with quickly moving designs from runway to store to consumer and then to the garbage .

Fast Fashion is a process by which inexpensive clothing is produced rapidly in response to the latest trends. In addition to the low-quality clothing concerns, the practice is also associated with quickly moving designs from runway to store to consumer and then to the garbage .

In today’s “Era of Instagram,” Fashion Brands that attempt to go-to-market using the best practices they employed just a few years ago, will fail.  Consumer trends shift almost daily. This means that designers and brand managers need a new level of nimbleness in order to both quickly respond to these shifts and to achieve their profit targets.

The current process is broken

The old, extravagant method to introduce and then deliver fashions is far too reactive for the current marketplace.  In this model, brands must:

  • Create the design concepts

  • Showcase the fashions via large scale runway-type events

  • Perfect the garments for style and production considerations

  • Price, produce, and distribute the inventory to retail channels

  • Sell what they can at retail (with the consumer expected 30% - 40% discount), then at discount outlets with even smaller profit margins

  • Destroy excess inventory

This process relies on an outdated, serial sequence of steps with several manual stages and impractical lead times.  A new approach is needed in order to address the evolving requirements of the market.

The true Digital Fashion Design approach is built on the use of 3D models. The models are leveraged at every stage of the process. From design to sales to production and delivery.

The true Digital Fashion Design approach is built on the use of 3D models. The models are leveraged at every stage of the process. From design to sales to production and delivery.

The transition to digital increases flexibility, customer satisfaction and profit

Success in the Direct-to-Consumer environment requires a rethinking of the entire strategy. The new paradigm calls for fashion brands to implement automated systems that collect, exchange, and reuse information at every stage in the process. Allowing manufacturers to predict and/or react to the dynamics of the market in real time.

A digital design, selling and production/distribution approach provides a proven solution.  In this scenario, fashion brand team leaders are able to:

·       Develop innovative and market-ready design concepts

·       Present, refine and then sell the fashions using virtual retailing solutions

·       Rapidly produce custom garments on demand

In the example shown here, the process started with a 3D CAD model of an existing product concept. All other design, sells/marketing, and production teams utilize and then add information to the model.   This creates a linked and efficient setting where every team derives direct benefit from the efforts of the others.

Fashion retailers are continuously exploring the process of allowing consumers to view, and purchase the latest styles in store or at home.

Fashion retailers are continuously exploring the process of allowing consumers to view, and purchase the latest styles in store or at home.

Enhance the design based on real-time consumer feedback

In the digital environment, designers can use the initial 3D CAD models to quickly create photo realistic images of their concepts.  They can then present the samples to consumers instantly via their “always on,” smartphone enabled lifestyles.  While brick and mortar stores will continue to play a large part in the experience, shopping has evolved with dramatically increased use of on-line and pop-up outlets.

As brand managers collect feedback, they can even allow for areas of customization or personalization defined directly from their target audience.  A benefit that is nearly impossible to achieve using the current go-to-market process.

Collect orders before producing the garments

A large percentage of the material waste and cost burden incurred by fashion brands results from the legacy practices.  The current model is to produce the garments and place them in inventory at retail establishments before they are sold. Using digital processes, potential buyers can view, personalize, and then purchase each item.   It is only after the purchase that the garments are manufactured.

Once the items are purchased, the same 3D CAD model used to the create the sales and marketing materials is rapidly converted to 2D patterns and assembly instructions for manufacturing.  Click on the image above to see the process in action.

Once the items are purchased, the same 3D CAD model used to the create the sales and marketing materials is rapidly converted to 2D patterns and assembly instructions for manufacturing. Click on the image above to see the process in action.

Digital Patterning software solutions like ExactFlat can even align custom graphics directly on the patterns for printing on the new generation of textile printers and plotters.  Click on the image to see the process in action.

Digital Patterning software solutions like ExactFlat can even align custom graphics directly on the patterns for printing on the new generation of textile printers and plotters. Click on the image to see the process in action.

Utilize on-demand production techniques

Once the order is submitted, the digital-driven, mass customization process enables pattern makers to convert the 3D CAD model into 2D patterns.  These patterns can be integrated with custom graphics, printed on textile printers, then manufactured using automated cutting and sewing or 3D bonding equipment.  The custom garments are then shipped to the consumer. The entire process occurs in roughly the same amount of time as buying and receiving a typical Amazon.com-type order for an off-the-shelf item.   

The benefits to your business can begin today

The transition to digital reduces lead times, increases profitability and virtually eliminates inventory waste. These technologies are available today to help your business to become more nimble, responsive, and profitable. To learn more, click on the link to schedule a time to speak with one of our experts.

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