Creating more accurate and realistic digital samples benefits everyone involved in the design and production process. The traditional sampling process is time-consuming and generates a significant amount of waste; digital sampling is faster and more sustainable. Not only does it reduce the need for physical samples, it also creates the pattern pieces automatically, providing another significant decrease in the time it takes to get a garment to market. As speed to market becomes more and more crucial in the apparel industry, digital sampling has become essential to designers and producers.
Finally, incorporating 3D body scans to make bespoke garments benefits those with a “non-traditional” body shape or size, people who are differently abled, amputees, and others. 3D technology can help create garments that not only fit but flatter.
Amy Sperber, Fashion Design MFA ’19, and adjunct assistant professor of Fashion Design at FIT, used the Faculty Research Space to test ideas for her MFA thesis. She went to an exhibition at the FIT Museum for inspiration and found a Balenciaga jacket from 1964. After finding the pattern, she was able to redraft the shape, twisting it onto the head of an avatar as a hat. The software allowed her to visualize and design the hat, then export the digital assets into pieces small enough for a 3D printer.
Another 2019 MFA recipient, Anastasia Edwards, produced an entirely digital thesis. Her project is a therapeutic sweater that can “hug” the wearer using soft robotics (silicone and air) to help with anxiety and triggering sensations linked to grief. The design included a custom electronics board connected to sensors in the garment that pick up sensory input to activate the pressure therapy. Although the thesis was digital, the FRS helped her 3D print one prototype.
The 3D renderings that the software produces can be viewed in augmented reality via a smartphone app. Michael Ferraro, executive director of the FIT/Infor DTech Lab, created an virtual runway animation using 3D samples, that can be viewed online.
Clo is not the first of its kind: similar software is used at FIT. FIT’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies offers a certificate in Browzwear, another digital sample-making program. The Technical Design program at FIT teaches its students Optitex. However, students working with Clo believe it is the most complete in its ability to mimic real-world conditions digitally.
Edwards recently accepted a position as a 3D designer at Clo, training clients to use the software and proselytizing 3D technology as an integral part of the fashion industry of the future.