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Digital transformation redefining the future of fashion industry

"Viewed as both an opportunity and threat, digital transformation enables manufacturers to save time and costs by enabling them to manufacture small quantities of products profitably. However, it also leads to a loss of human touch in fashion design and garment making. Digital transformation is necessary to deal with sustainability pressures that currently face the fashion industry. As natural resources are dwindling, the cost of raw materials and carbon and financial costs of manual garment sampling and shipping back and forth from manufacturers in Asia to Europe and the US is also increasing. The only way to meet this growing consumer demand is to digitise and streamline manual processes."

Digital transformation redefiningViewed as both an opportunity and threat, digital transformation enables manufacturers to save time and costs by enabling them to manufacture small quantities of products profitably. However, it also leads to a loss of human touch in fashion design and garment making. Digital transformation is necessary to deal with sustainability pressures that currently face the fashion industry. As natural resources are dwindling, the cost of raw materials and carbon and financial costs of manual garment sampling and shipping back and forth from manufacturers in Asia to Europe and the US is also increasing. The only way to meet this growing consumer demand is to digitise and streamline manual processes.

Lack of creativity slowing digitisation’s progress

However, the progress of digital transformation in fashion has been slow as digital design is based on CAD/CAM solutions, which are not creative enough to empowerDigital transformation redefining the future of fashion industry designers. The solutions that are currently in trend such as CLO3D are driven by technical specifications that do not bridge the gap between creative design and product creation.

Secondly, solutions providers present the same tools to fashion as they do to automotive, aerospace and architecture. They ask the designers to drop their manual designs and techniques in favor of a mouse and keyboard instead of plugging their creativity seamless into the supply chain.

New talents, data analysis, digitisation to ensure good returns

To fasttrack digital transformation in fashion, brands need to hire new talent graduating from fashion colleges with 3D design skills and an appetite for creative digital design in place of traditional methods of fashion design. These new recruits should be appointed alongside the current crop of designers and tasked with developing the next collections collaboratively, to leverage both approaches. Their designs should be integrated with the actual designs and development of products.

The top three solutions that promise good return on investments for fashion retailers include data analytics solutions, consumer engagement and the digital avatar the use of CGI to be able to have digital experiences around the products. A potential future direction that the fashion industry can adopt is to implement digitised fashion illustration at the first stage to connect it to 3D CAD/CAM software and equipment for on-demand manufacturing, then eventually the digital product presentation tools at the consumer end.

3D digital design is still notably absent from the curriculums of top fashion colleges as the preference for hand-drawing and painstaking manual design techniques still dominates amongst senior designers and creative directors. However, a new generation of designers is emerging who are exploring 3D digital designs through online tutorials and forums in place of being taught formally at university. Bucking the tradition of fashion college education, these designers are redefining the future of fashion.

 
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