At CLO Virtual Fashion, Digitizing the Design Process to Drive Transformation | Sponsored feature

NEW YORK, United States – The practice of physical sampling, the creation of prototypes and the shipping of material are some of the ways the apparel and footwear industries contribute about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions , according to consulting firm Quantis. Indeed, with younger consumer cohorts now more concerned than ever with buying from transparent and responsible brands, the need to integrate sustainability into the product development and design process is an increasingly important benchmark. .

With more than 15 years of research, CLO Virtual Mode offers an end-to-end solution through virtual clothing simulation, while providing data on broader designs and trends to its partners. Technology visualizes user creations with the ability to create an unlimited number of graphic locations, colors and print layouts, while precisely emulating drape-sensitive fabrics, reducing average turnaround time of 27 hours versus 37 days without CLO, and offering a 55% sample adoption rate compared to 15% without CLO.

In addition to 3D design software for apparel designers and brands, CLO also offers digital touchpoints and services throughout the product development and design process, such as Benefit by CLO, a platform virtual fitting, and CLO-SET, a collaboration and data asset management platform for garments.

Supported by its 172 employees in its offices in New York, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Bangalore, CLO has Adidas, Macy’s, Hugo boss, Inditex, Levi’s and Bestseller among its customers.

Simon Kim, CEO of CLO Virtual Fashion | Source: courtesy

Today, BoF speaks with Platform Managing Director Simon Kim to find out how the 3D fashion design software company is pioneering the digitalization of the fashion design process and how to eliminate physical sampling and unnecessary waste, while reducing production times, design inaccuracies and overhead are powerful agents of change in transforming our industry.

How did the CLO business and technology come about?

I met the co-founders, Jaden [Oh] and [JH] Boo, in 2008, when I was working as a venture capitalist. Jaden held a doctorate and the inventor of the Fabric simulation engine algorithm. When he developed the prototype, he let his students use it for fun and test it out. He saw them love using it and that was the start of finding a way to allow more people to use this software and algorithm while having fun doing it.

Having fun building with this technology is at the heart of our business, while imagining how it will change the world. So, in 2009, CLO Virtual Fashion was launched with the vision to change the world by connecting and converging real and virtual clothing. We envision a world where every real garment is labeled in its own digital version and vice versa.

I was fascinated by the technology and its usefulness. When CLO was launched in 2009, there was already 3D clothing CAD software available, but there was no 3D clothing simulation technology practical enough to be used daily in the design and development workflow. They didn’t seem fast enough, precise enough, or easy enough to use. It was not flexible to meet the needs of designers, model makers, and technical designers in a practical sense.

How was the technology designed?

Because it’s design software, users are creators, so we knew it had to be as intuitive as possible and broad enough to design anything you want. If it takes two days to create a 3D outfit, what’s the point?

Saving time, money and waste is one of the many results that come with using 3D technology.

We went to talk to users, to find out more about them and their unique workflow – and in the fashion industry, every company has a different workflow. Some companies can take 50 weeks to finalize their designs, others take five weeks. So we had to explain how and why each feature is used and how it can be improved, to really contribute to their daily workflow.

It also allows for more collaboration, as designers used to draw something and then hand it over to a technical designer and then factories. It was all based on handing over certain parts of the design process. Now you can put all that expertise together. Factories, suppliers, manufacturing and creating a sample – we can put all of this creativity together, which means we can spot flaws and improve designs early on.

How did you make sure it would meet the needs of the fashion industry?

CLO virtual fashion designs | Source: courtesy

Our company has 70 3D designers, with backgrounds in fashion design, technical design and model making, so they are the first level of users to test it all. This helps to create a natural relationship for the users. They speak the language of model making and design; they went through the same challenges, so they get it. Through these relationships, we then collect information on how to improve our services.

When our 3D designers go to our clients, we ask them to bring in interested designers, modelers, technical designers and other creative people so that we can talk to them first. We have ‘discovery days’, where people can come in and ask questions like, “How do you create this particular design and how long does it take if I don’t have any model making expertise?” “

How does technology facilitate user creativity?

I find it amazing what users are able to create. We are a tool to help our users create cooler designs. We like to think of our software as a Minecraft of fashion design. We want to be as large and versatile as possible.

For example, physically you might only have a few chances to try on different figures. You mainly work with a limited number of fabrics. With computer programming, you can do multiple iterations in a matter of minutes – and it’s just a simple drag and drop. If you want to try on a cotton jersey leather shirt, just click to change it. If you want to add a pocket, copy and paste.

So, not only does it amplify creativity, but it can also transform the way you think. It offers the flexibility and time to experiment for designers who may not have the ability to change the pattern or fabric – and you don’t have the added cost of doing so. Saving time, money and waste is one of the many results that come with using 3D.

How can CLO help businesses operate more responsibly?

Sustainability is a big issue, and consumers demand more and more. We want more variety and more diverse designs, but it needs to address that without weighing down the people involved in the design development process and without weighing down the environment.

We’ve never had this dataset of connecting body shapes to design data before.

Technology is the answer to this. All fashion companies need is a tech trigger like CLO to spark ideas and revolutionize the way they want to work more efficiently and target audiences better. We are always amazed at the way people use our software and technology.

What developments in CLO technology are you most excited about for the future?

What excites us the most is empowering creators and the end consumer by ensuring the full use of digital clothing. We are in the early stages of making this possible through our platform called CLO-SET. Thanks to CLO-SET, many users are already enjoying the benefits of real-time collaboration with the entire global supply chain, with full use of the digital garment archive and its data.

We are also working on a virtual fitting application where the end consumer will be able to create their avatars and wear, style and play with clothes online without having to go to physical fitting rooms. This will not only revolutionize the way we consume clothing, but it will also provide a direct connection between designers and consumers.

For example, if you have designed a shirt and it has been tried on by consumers, say 80% of those consumers are over 170cm tall and have longer arms. You can learn from these reviews. We’ve never had this dataset of connecting body shapes to design data before. I am excited about the prospect of enabling designers to design better without ever creating a physical sample.

This is a sponsored feature paid by CLO Virtual Fashion as part of a BoF Careers partnership.

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Abdul J. Gaspar

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