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How 3D Software Gives You 4D Capabilities

By Sourcing Journal

Click here to watch the video accompanying this article.

3D software has certainly made incredible design strides in the industry, but Clothing Tech LLC is taking things to the next dimension—and it starts with 4D.

The Austin, Tex.-based software company defines 4D as time, which it feels is often wasted on standard “3D” inefficiencies. That’s why the 3D design software platform unveiled its latest innovation, Fashionr, earlier this year after noticing a major problem in the fashion industry: A lack of efficiency in the 3D design process.

“We add 4D to the three dimensions of a garment, allowing us to substantially compress one’s time—from sketchpad to retail and drastically reducing one’s time-to-market,” said Bill Wilcox, founder and president of Clothing Tech in a fireside chat with Alex Harrell, staff writer at Sourcing Journal. “Teams currently work in serial, and we want them to work in parallel, meaning the designer can create their design in 3D without waiting on technical design, a pattern maker, or a sample maker.”

Typically, when designing a garment in 3D, the developing product file is often passed from one person to another, leaving room for human error. There is also often minimal communication between team members, adding additional time to the design process.

Now, with Fashionr—created in a joint venture with Hexagon AB, a global leader in 3D design—designers can compress a garment’s timeline, improve communication and create stronger collaboration between associates. Fashionr also helps keep excess materials out of landfills by reducing the number of physical samples produced and minimizing overproduction.

Taking its abilities one step further, Fashionr also provides “a single source of truth” for users, according to Wilcox. “With Fashionr, if you change one thing, you change them all. This includes the pattern, tech pack, bill of material and costing, allowing assets to be shared with team members, suppliers and manufacturers throughout the entire process integrated with [one’s] PLM platform,” he added.

While Fashionr is a newer innovation, Wilcox believes 3D design will become a bigger topic as 2024 progresses—especially as brands look for innovative ways to engage with customers.

“Overall, I think people are going to start to say, ‘Okay, how can we [as a brand] become faster and streamline our processes,’” said Wilcox. “As a company already answering those questions, we look forward to having those discussions with some of the brands that are struggling [and helping them] improve their processes.”

This is the final Clothing Tech Fireside Chat in a four-part series, focusing on how 3D design can help propel the $1.5 trillion retail industry. Here are the first, second and third.

This four-part series was published in Sourcing Journal February 16, 2024. Clothing Tech is a SPESA member.

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