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To improve digital design, fashion should look outside the industry for inspiration. Early adopters like the automotive and aerospace sectors have been using virtual tools for longer, and therefore have more sophisticated systems in place.

According to Bill Wilcox, president of 3D software provider Clothing Tech LLC, one thing that fashion could use more of is standardization, which is “the glue” that allows for interoperability between programs in other industries. Comparatively, fashion design software is siloed due to a lack of industry-wide definitions and diversification of formats.

“This is one thing that the [fashion] industry will have to eventually face if you want to be able to work, because you have all of these products, but none of them really fit very well together,” he said during a recent fireside chat with Kate Nishimura, features editor at Sourcing Journal.

Another challenge is the complexity of digital design, requiring designers to undergo tons of training to master tools. Looking to simplify this and make it more intuitive for fashion designers, Clothing Tech leveraged its parent company Hexagon’s experience in other fields to create software that is more intuitive.

The parametric CAD program lets product teams adjust proportions and dimensions of garments in real-time using measurements like sleeve length. This is automatically turned into a Garment Digital Twin that encompasses a 3D version of the garment, a combined pattern and tech pack for manufacturers. The interconnectivity between the design and the resultant data prevents mistakes at the production level, since less can get lost in translation.

The Garment Digital Twin just launched commercially in September. Currently, it is focused on garments like tops, dresses, pants and skirts, but Clothing Tech would like to expand this to other types of apparel, including intimates.

Another area of future focus for Clothing Tech is tackling fit. This includes virtual fitting room solutions with body scanning, as well as customization solutions that would make one-off garments more attainable. Virtual fit can not only reduce returns, but it can also help serve customers who don’t fit ready-to-wear sizes. “Brands could offer customization very easily, and that will expand the market and also engage the customers a little bit more,” said Wilcox.

Clothing Tech is also constantly striving to make its software more user-friendly. As Wilcox said, “The product is already very simple to use, but there’s certain areas where we can even make it even easier.”

Watch the video to hear more about Clothing Tech’s Garment Digital Twin and how fashion can improve virtual design.