An extract from an article written by LTP Group. On how Material Exchange reduces the dependency on physical material samples, while adding authenticity to 3D designs and product presentations.
3D design, material visualisation and sampling enable creative efficiency and more sustainable business practices.
The digital revolution for product creation in the sports and fashion industry has been a long time coming, as early adopters have been exploring how to best integrate 3D software solutions into the design and development process for well over a decade. 3D design and visualisation software is an efficient tool to make better-informed design decisions, which are likely to reduce the numbers of samples required, while allowing designers to spend more quality time to be creative.
The current global health emergency caused by the Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in significant restrictions around travel, face-to-face meetings and other business practices. This situation is an urgent wake-up call to rethink how our industry does business and is likely to accelerate the adoption of more digital and virtual creative processes in the future.
A growing number of designers are discovering new types of software and technologies to create unique products and ways of interacting with consumers. Swedish fashion studio Atacac was an early disruptor in this field, as all their products are designed through three-dimensional visualisation, which is used to replace all physical prototypes and enables the company to display and sell products before they have been made.
Material simulation & digitisation
As life-like digital material appearance is key to a successful 3D design process, the lack of authentic material simulation, blamed on the complex behaviour of materials, has often been cited as one of the issues holding 3D design adoption back. However, a new generation of material digitalisation tools has the potential to reduce the need for physical material swatches and therefore decrease the vast amount of sample yardage created by fabric suppliers each season, as well as cut down on the number of physical product prototypes, as critical material decisions can be made earlier.
Digital material libraries are revolutionising the use of materials, reducing the dependency on physical fabric samples, while adding authenticity to 3D designs and product presentations. Although most designers still like to tap into the inspiration that comes from touching, feeling and seeing fabric samples as part of the design process, these new platforms can provide an additional tool and are likely to turn into essential resources over the next couple of seasons, as many fabrics trade-shows, conferences and business trips have been postponed or cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Material Exchange was founded in 2017 to provide apparel and footwear brands with practical support to enable the shift from 2D to 3D product creation and manufacture. Through the use of filters, users can easily search, select and export digitalised materials, which can be chosen from the comprehensive library in accordance with any required sustainability accreditations and certifications. The platform further enables communication and collaboration between brands, material suppliers and manufacturers, driving supply chain transparency and adoption of sustainable business practices.
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