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Frontier Digital Fabric Platform Finds Increased Demand During Pandemic

Rivet's 2020 Denim Circularity report takes a deep dive into how the global denim industry is plotting its circular future amidst a worldwide pandemic.

Frontier, a co-working software as a service (SaaS) designed to digitize fabric materials, enhance supply chain management and boost 3D design capabilities, has seen substantial growth among textile mills and brand partners since its launch in April 2019.

This has been especially significant since the travel restrictions and trade show cancellations resulting from COVID-19, making online platforms more critical, according to industry executives.

The Frontier database of searchable online fabrics contains 20,000 materials from mills around the Asia-Pacific area. These are created by allowing users to easily upload their textile products with a scanner.

The databases are maintained through cloud computing to reduce upfront investment. The platform allows members to communicate, collaborate and develop products seamlessly and cost-efficiently without having to get on an airplane, visit a convention center or spend on costly express delivery charges incurred by shipping samples back and forth, Frontier noted.

“We’ve seen a big jump in the adoption of our platform during the coronavirus, as more mills and brands have wanted to move their businesses to the cloud, cut costs and work as efficiently as possible from home,” Bob Ryan, Frontier’s sales president, said. “As touch and hand-feel are such critical aspects of selecting fabrics, we’ve collected enough information where we can attempt to build up the language around the hand-feel of materials to help designers grasp their properties. In terms of drape, with the images and data we collect, our tech team will soon be able to compute how a material will fall around a silhouette.”

Steven Proulx, vice president of global sales at Sues International, a developer of functional materials for the activewear market, noted that Frontier focuses on three pillars to make its platform as user-friendly and productive as possible. The first is collaboration, in which Frontier makes sure its files can be easily shared to eliminate the barrier of entering digitization. The company plans to integrate chat messenger into the platform soon to encourage interactive data sharing.

The second is search. As one of the largest digital fabric libraries in the world, Frontier wants to make sure users can easily discover and find the fabrics when they need them.

The third is compatibility: Frontier encourages connecting with other digital applications that require fabric data. It presently partners with Bespokify, virtuality.fashion and C-Design PLM, a PLM SaaS based in France. Frontier anticipates ongoing growth with similar SaaS partnerships.

“While we look forward to the economy opening back up and getting back to our new normal, we want to make sure our online interaction continues to build community between suppliers and brands with regards to fabric samples, inventory, price quotes, general questions and answers and more–all of which are part of Frontier,” Ryan added.

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