If one were to spend the day on LinkedIn, or reading fashion publications online, you would walk away believing that the entire industry uses 3D at a very mature level. A recent review of LinkedIn showed several posts from users highlighting photorealism, animation and even 3D avatars that appeared very close to human. Any small company, or even large company that has not adopted 3D yet, would look at these posts and feel “left out,” prompting the need to chase 3D adoption at all costs.
Although it is true that many companies have implemented 3D in their workflows over the past 10 years, the reality is that just a small minority has truly adopted these tools.
So why has it taken so long for 3D to sink into the fashion industry? For one, the markup on garments used to be relatively high compared to manufacturing costs and the high margins masked the recurring waste and inefficiency issues that 3D technologies could mitigate. So there was no true urgency to change the process. Second, the technology has gotten much better with respect to visualization. Since 3D renderings often looked fake or even “cartoony,” replacing a physical sample was not possible because designers had no confidence in the 3D version.
Style3D believes its approach addresses the needs for the next growth period for 3D adoption, including a Fabric Design Studio, a 3D Design Studio and the Style3D Cloud Collaborate Platform. In one system, using one stream of data, users can test and design fabric by simply scanning in a swatch, creating 3D prototypes, and then managing that data, sharing, collaborating and even connecting directly to an e-commerce site from the cloud platform.
Within the cloud platform, users can manage their bill of materials (BOMs), tech packs, patterns, colorways and 3D data. For a smaller company, these features can be used as a “mini-PLM.”
If you believe that e-commerce will continue to grow, then as a solution provider, it’s imperative to make it easy for users to create, visualize and sell seamlessly. For example, an online-only company may want to design its whole wardrobe virtually, approve the styles to sell virtually and immediately launch these styles for sale to sites like Shopify. In terms of financial reward and ROI, a digital e-commerce workflow without inventory can improve profitability. That brand could leverage Style3D to gauge the order quantity and then plan its production and ultimately improve forecasting.
This e-commerce connection is much easier for today’s generation. For example, Style3D partner Epicome is a premier athleisure service platform that allows users to customize products using thousands of color and decoration combinations. With direct access to Epicome’s supply chain, users can create high-quality designs that are unique to each customer’s specific brand needs directly via www.epicomeshop.com.
Unlike other companies that offer custom apparel, Epicome uses Style3D smart technology to elevate the user experience and help customers visualize their selections in real time. On the user front, this reduces the risk of the unknown; and on the company-side, this gives Epicome the security to safely start production on customer-approved 3D specs, creating an overall efficient end-to-end process.
Leveraging 3D in the metaverse
Digital demand for fashion and luxury brands is expected to grow from today’s modest levels and potentially reach $50 billion by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley. With this in mind, this is the perfect time to start working with an end-to-end 3D design and collaboration platform, especially now that “the metaverse” rising in the public consciousness.
How a brand appears in the metaverse could help it make a successful splash, or risk alienating millions of loyal users. Some brands have already gotten out in front to assemble teams dedicated to metaverse collaborations.
The metaverse, characterized by shared virtual spaces, ownership of digital goods, and decentralized data, promises new ways of communicating and marketing to customers, plus new revenue streams in the form of digital twins and in-game avatars. This new era is often considered the successor to the mobile web, with the potential to impact brands as the rise of social media did a decade ago.
From AR try-ons to VR showrooms and fashion games, the metaverse is top of mind for fashion brands hoping to catch a new marketing wave.
The metaverse will take 3D visualization to a more personal level, and will include virtual fitting rooms and showrooms in the future. Style3D is already working on virtual showrooms and technology to help develop personal avatars. Metaverse users can also leverage social media for feedback on clothing they want to buy. Imagine getting an opinion from dozens, if not hundreds, of social media connections before purchasing, adding confidence to your style choice.
There are hurdles, of course. Some are recruiting talent and securing longer-term partnerships with brands, beyond one-off marketing moments. Also, tech companies must figure out how to connect their online platforms to each other, which would require competing technologies to agree on a set of standards.
But even with those challenges in place, brands have a major opportunity on their hands to use 3D to their benefit, both in the physical world and the digital world.
Learn more about Style3D here.