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Video: How Digital Color Management Offsets Rising Production Costs

Even before speed became one of the most pressing issues in the apparel industry, cost was fashion’s leading concern—and it still is. But for an industry so preoccupied with every penny, there’s one area that’s been largely overlooked. Color management not only plays a huge role in customer satisfaction and brand perception but it can also make or break budgets.

According to Todd Lee, product manager at Datacolor, companies can avoid costly color mishaps by simply creating a collaborative atmosphere that brings the right subject matter experts into the conversation. “Most brands when they start development for the season, they have merchandising, design and sourcing at the table and rarely do they have someone from the color area who can sit down and address issues from a fabric, color, feasibility standpoint so when that happens, they go through, they negotiate fabric almost down to the half cent but they never give consideration to color,” he said.

For Andrew Fraser, director of global quality control at swimwear manufacturer InMocean Group, saving time and money in the color management process simply means modernizing the tools the industry uses. “Using scientific instruments, to transfer this communication power, we can do things in days versus weeks so the color standard has already been digitized. It can be emailed to the dye mill. The dye mill can download it into their color formulation software, and they can produce dye recipes for lab dyes that can all be done within 24 hours and they don’t have to send it back. They can read it on one of these instruments, email it back to the U.S. and with the proper software, it can be brought up on screen and decisions can be made on a calibrated monitor,” he said. “I’d rather have that time for production than approving color.”

Watch the video to learn more about the hidden costs in the color development process and to find out the huge impact color has on product returns.