"We are making a long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s daily life." – Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO
In the following article, we will talk about the benefits digitising can bring for the fashion industry: both for the brands and the manufacturers living in the experience era.
By implementing advanced technologies in product development, we have found that it significantly improves the quality of the end product; accessibility to information; collaboration among global cross disciplinary teams; and most importantly reducing waste across the supply chain.
The experience era we are living in revolves around the idea of selling the customer the experience around the exchange, rather than the product itself. The difference between someone choosing your product or service or not lies in the degree of personalisation. How well your personalised approach towards individuals and organisations aligns with their unique value system is what makes all the difference.
An example of how technologies are reshaping the fashion industry is the emergence of digital clothing. The project named DressX offers a disruptive concept of clothing that is based on the notion of turning physical clothes into 3D designs that can be sold afterwards. Customers can purchase digital fashion collections from Dress-X’s website in a form of an image of themselves wearing them. At the point of purchase, customers upload their preferred picture and receive an image wearing the piece they are buying. The idea behind this project is to make fashion more sustainable by reducing waste and avoid buying clothes that are worn only once.
Similar to the brands in the way of digitising their clothes, the manufacturing companies are also using 3D to virtualise their garments. Which is why we developed a new way to practice digital fabric sampling through INDIKON – made explicitly for denim. The 3D sampling technology enables mills to send their fabric creations to designers and buyers instantly, without creating material waste and logistical pollution. INDIKON makes the sample sharing process less time-consuming and more economical. Now mills can make adjustments to their countless fabrics in a matter of a few clicks and direct them instantly to the customers without usual shipping hassles.
The COVID-19 influenced businesses to rethink their strategies and quickly adapt to the new norms. After practicing work from home, online shopping, and virtual meetings, the public has realised the convenience and accessibility of the online mode we have been living in. It remains unclear what will happen after the pandemic, but after adapting to new social norms, a lot of brands successfully adopted virtual ways of communicating with their audience.
One example of that is Powwow Italia, which is selling tickets for their virtual fashion area powered by Immersive Technologies. Personalisation allows customers to opt for avatars, decide which venue to attend, and take an up-close look at their collections.
Another excellent example of virtual reality is Gucci’s Virtual Garden, a unique museum-retail concept located in the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence. The three-story building includes Gucci’s fancy pieces, a dining restaurant led by three Michelin-starred chefs, exclusive collaborations, displays of artworks and jewellery. The customers interested in displayed products can directly select them virtually, and send a note to Gucci for additional information. These projects are easily accessible from any part of the world and give the user an immersive experience of visiting a physical store.
Apart from virtual fashion tours, the pandemic brought digitised solutions to manufacturers as well. One of the recent trends is using AR technologies to control and monitor parameters in a factory setting. By using AI, employees can observe the defects in garments during manufacturing stages, decreasing the overall error rate. Machine-learning algorithms can forecast the demand, preventing excessive supply and financial loss.
Organisations like Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) help companies transform their physical factories into virtual ones for better productivity and decision-making. These all make the manufacturing processes more accessible to monitor and convenient to control. The adoption of mentioned technologies will lead industries to build smart factories and ubiquitous showrooms. However, it is hard to predict the scalability of implementation, especially when it comes to its hefty price tag.
Climate change is making the fashion industry shift towards more sustainable means of business operations. Being the second-largest pollutant in the world, with millions garments purchased each year, the fashion industry leaves environmental footprints like waste, excessive water consumption, microfibres problem, greenhouse gas emissions, and various chemicals polluting the planet. Many companies are already sharing their sustainability strategies, encouraging others to follow their lead. So, how exactly digitising can contribute to it?
Organisations like Dress-X and products like INDIKON enable adoption of 3D technologies to promote better utilisation resources for products with a short lifespan. Their attempts to preserve materials eliminates logistical pollution.
A major concern for all the manufacturers is not the change itself, but the cost of it. As digitalising becomes a necessity, we predict it to be widely adopted by the apparel industry in the coming five years. Here are some suggestions that you could use to come up with better solutions:
As of now, the cost of adopting advanced digital solutions like AR and VR is extremely high, while the risks involved are mostly unknown. However, 3D garments and clothing already exist and are proven to be less costly. Thus, the manufacturers should give the matter a second thought before digitising their approach, and take it step-by-step.
With current industries shifting their strategies and digitising solutions, it is possible for companies to want to be involved and hop on the trend. However, the common mistake is getting started with minimal understanding of the business environment and the company itself. Digitising is a big investment, and in the event that your company fails to fully commit to the process, it will bring losses. It is also important to make sure that your company's external environment is ready to implement digitising as well, as the revenue streams come directly from your suppliers, partners, designers, and client companies.
The biggest concern for the world right now is climate change, and industries are trying their best to work on their sustainability goals. The only way to combat it is for businesses to undergo a digital transformation, as Forbes magazine reports. Your organisation can also help to contribute to this matter of global significance by slowly adopting digital solutions. But first, create a detailed action plan and ensure the readiness of both your company and your environment beforehand.