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Virtual Sampling – The Future of the Fashion Industry

By March 31, 2021 No Comments

The pandemic has undeniably had a huge impact on our everyday lives. It has changed the world around us and forced us to depend on novel ways to live our lives and conduct everyday activities. In the year 2020, the COVID-19 virus impacted the global economy in ways we could have anticipated, and this change was so massive that most businesses crumbled under the pressure. Now, in order to cope with this new normal, brands and companies had to come up with innovative digital tools to conduct their everyday activities in order to keep the business up and running in these perilous times. When we talk about the fashion industry technologies like virtual sampling software have completely changed the game for brands, through this technology designers don’t have to go through the lengthy process of traditional physical sampling, and instead can just create a virtual prototype of the product before it goes into actual manufacturing. 

Sampling is a key stage in product development, without sampling it is practically impossible to tell the structure of the finished product or how it will look. But the traditional method of product sampling was not only time-consuming, consisting of too many layers, but also extremely expensive, resulting in added production cost. But now with the invention of virtual product sampling, designers have the option to sample and customize the product digitally before moving to mass production. 

Revolutionizing the Traditional Process

According to Kellie Hubbard of Joules, “In today’s digital era, most of our focus is now on how technology can improve the process.” Adopting and incorporating the use of the latest technology is extremely crucial when it comes to advancement in business and staying at the top of your game. In a fast-paced industry like fashion, it is important that the product gets delivered to the customer as fast as possible before the product style goes out of fashion. Traditionally, the supply-chain time for retail products can range anywhere from 30 to 40 weeks, the layers of product sampling procedure and customization are not only lengthy but also extremely fussy, especially with the pressure of putting out new collections every other month. 

Now, as a result of the recent digital revolution going on in the fashion industry, brands are moving towards technological solutions like virtual sampling fashion. According to Kevin Almond, “Digitalisation and 3D sampling technology are increasingly enabling a reduction in the amount of manual sampling that is necessary, particularly in fast fashion.” This technology allows the manufacturers to reduce the manual labor involved in the traditional sampling method, a virtual prototype can be sampled and customized without any fuss, it also allows the designer to make as many changes as they like to the colour, fabric, or cut. Now moving from the customization, conventionally it would take weeks and multiple physical samples to get the product approved for manufacturing, but when using virtual apparel solutions, the manufacturer can get an accurate 3D illustration of the product with minimal effort before manufacturing it on a large scale. Hence, it completely eliminates the back and forth of the whole process. 

Hastens the Job 

The fashion industry has operated on age-old norms for a long time, designers have always been partial to the use of technology in their operations. But in the last decade, there has been a huge transformation in this skepticism towards technology. With the advent of computer-aided solutions, the fashion industry has slowly started embracing the use of technology to hasten the traditional operations of product development. While the use of technological tools like virtual product sampling can be intimidating to designers who have been using manual methods for a long time, it cannot be denied that these solutions offer a world of benefits over the conventional method. 

Traditionally, the process of product sampling would entail a number of stages before the product goes into manufacturing. The designer would have to first create a sketch of the product after which a number of physical samples would be created, then those samples would be brought in for testing after which the edited details would again be sent to create another sample and so on. This whole process is not only excruciatingly long but also expensive, the shipping costs or the cost of creating these physical samples is not only adding to the production cost but is also highly impractical. Now, imagine a technology that completely eliminates the intermediary layers of this entire process, through which designers would be able to create a 3D virtual prototype of the product, do any or all of the editing’s they need to make without any added cost, and then send the finished product for mass production at once. This is what virtual sampling software has done for the fashion industry. According to Shailina Parti of Jigsaw, “As the tools become more sophisticated, I see us using this facility [3D imaging] across the board in less than five years.” 

Offers Sustainability and Creative Freedom

In the last few years, the fashion industry has seen an increasing amount of enthusiasm towards virtual sampling. To name a few brands that are already using this technology, we have labels such as Hugo Boss, Coach, Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, etc. If we come to analyze this changing mindset, there are a number of reasons why virtual sampling fashion is being adopted on such a large scale. Firstly,  the creative freedom that this facility provides to the designer is unlike any other in the past, the designer can experiment with as many styling, colour, or fabric options as they like without having to deal with the tardy process of creating physical samples. It allows the designer to visualize how the finished product would look on an actual human body, how a particular fabric would fit in with the design, or if the design would even be practical in the consumer market. This whole experimental stage can be conducted through this one software before the product goes for final manufacturing, where there’s no scope for mistakes or customizations. 

Secondly, this technology allows brands to conduct their business in a more responsible and less environmentally harmful manner. In a recent survey by Bof and Mckinsey, it was found that “More than three in five consumers said environmental impact is an important factor in making purchasing decisions,” this clearly indicates the rising environmental consciousness of the consumer which needs to be addressed by brands. Now, with help of technological solutions like virtual sampling software, brands are able to digitalize the entire sampling process which helps in reducing garment wastage. Hence, it allows for a quick, efficient, and sustainable product development process. 

In-a-nutshell, we can say that technological facility like virtual sampling fashion, has brought a number of positive changes in the fashion industry. It won’t be wrong to say that these tools are the future of fashion, given the number of benefits that they provide. Even though the fashion industry is still rather hesitant to let technology into its traditional methods, but in order for any business to flourish it is important for it to be flexible to change. So hopefully this change will be embraced by the industry in the coming years.

FlixStock enables fashion houses to create on-model images quickly and at a fraction of the conventional costs. The proprietary FlixStock AI technology removes the need for model photoshoots instead of creating life-like high-quality 2D and 3D catalog images using technology.

Abhishek Dwivedi

Author Abhishek Dwivedi

An experienced digital marketer who is currently working as a Digital Marketing Specialist at FlixStock. His experience helps him bring insightful marketing strategies to the table. He is well-versed with the digital space and knows the knack of growing online visibility for brands and products. Here to share interactive content that can get you a sneak peek into the tech-driven world.

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