Posts Tagged ‘Optitex’

Infographic Alert: Multichannel Marketing Can Be Puzzling

November 2, 2013 Leave a comment


November 1, 2013 -

by Elyse Dupre and James Jarnot

Creating optimal customer experiences is a top priority for many retailers. In fact, 65% of retail executives polled say providing the best customer experience possible is the most important factor when obtaining approval for sales and marketing technology investments, according to the “Breaking Through Customer Engagement Barriers with Innovative Marketing and Technologies” report by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Retail Touchpoints. And the best customer experiences are those that are relevant—powered by multichannel customer data and messaging.

However, piecing this multichannel data together can leave marketers feeling puzzled. According to the report, 47% of retail executives rank “using their existing customer data effectively,” as their greatest marketing challenge, followed by “integrating social and mobile data” (18%), “using analytics” (11%), and “integrating new data” (8%).

When it comes to completing the overall picture of the customer, a majority of marketers (58%) agree that transactional and purchase history information are the most valuable types of data, the report notes. Following far behind in importance are behavioral and attitudinal data (14%) and demographic data (14%). Just 5% of respondents say social media data is the most valuable, and only 2% list Web browsing history data as important, according to the report. This lack of emphasis on key areas of customer data may leave puzzling gaps in insight.

Real-time data also proves to be a brain twister. The report cites that less than a quarter of respondents (23%) use real-time data to generate customer offers frequently and less than one third (30%) admit to doing so infrequently. In fact, 11% say they don’t use real-time data to produce customer offers at all. However, 36% say they would like to do so in the future.

But piecing together multichannel data isn’t the only thing retailers are stumped on. They also struggle with multichannel messaging. According to the report, only 37% of retail executives provide consistent marketing messages across all channels. Of the remaining 63%, 50% say they synchronize their messaging across some channels, but not all, and 13% say they treat each channel separately.


Elyse Dupre is a reporter at Direct Marketing News and covers ever-evolving trends in the marketing world.James Jarnot is the Art Director at Direct Marketing News.

“[TC]2 , Textile Clothing technology Corporation: 3D Body Scanning Technologies

The mission of TC2  is to elevate the level of technology, manufacturing systems, and business processes employed in the global soft goods industry through research and development, education, training, and outreach.  [TC]2 is a provider of direct and indirect technology products and services to industry.

Their Web site offers information on multiple types of body scanners for the global soft goods industry. 3D body scanning is just one research area of [TC]2.

Some end uses for 3D body scanning are: • Health/medical and fitness management • Body shape analysis • Sizing surveys • 3D product development for fashionable and functional apparel • Made-to-measure clothing •  Clothing size and style recommendation • Virtual Fashion

An overview of some of the technologies used in the apparel industry are referenced in this article titled, “Sewn Product Technology.” by Kerry King Director of Product Development and Sustainability Initiatives at [TC]2 , Textile Clothing technology Corporation. According to Sally Aitkin on her Exploring the World of Sustainable Fashion blog article titled ” Innovative Technology–3D Body Scanning.

” The first two scanners were deployed by Levi Strauss and North Carolina State College of Textiles.  They had a footprint of 180 square feet and had a price tag of $200,000.”

The price has been reduced dramatically since then and continues to drop. The current [TC]2 version of the Image Twin full body scanner uses white light and has a 4′ by 5′ footprint and scans in 6 seconds.

Image Twin Full Body Scanner

The  [TC]2 KX-16  [laser] is similar to the [TC]2 NX-16 body scanner [white light] we have at Buffalo State college. We have it linked to the OptiTex application and we can easily create customized body scanned avatars to use directly in the OptiTex garment pattern application. Here is a link to the post: Body Scanning and OptiTex

[TC]²’s scanning technology scans the whole body in seconds and rapidly produces a true-to-scale 3D body model.  The measurement extraction software package features capabilities for Virtual Fashion visualization with links to 3D garment pattern making applications from major industry CAD packages. Just a few end-uses for body scanning are at the beginning of this post. Link to a recent Textile World article: [TC]2 Introduces KX-16 Body Scanner

An email quote from David Brunner [] Vice-President, Technology Development at [TC]2 states:

Our “16 depth sensor” machine the KX-16  though is overall equal to full body scanners like our own NX-16 or laser scanners, and supports hundreds of measurements with better than 1/4″ accuracy.  In fact, it is better on 8 of 10 technical points of comparison (3X more data, scan any color garment or skin, good hair coverage, faster scan, etc).   It is only $10,000 (portable) or $12,500 in the booth version.  I have attached a picture of the portable version just taken at an installation in Portugal (it can scan in open air with no problems).  The booth version is much like the NX-16 booth.

TC2 Image Twin Single Windows Kinect Body Scanner

TC2 Image Twin Single Windows Kinect Body Scanner Accurate human avatars for all applications including size selection advice, virtual fashion and weight loss visualization. Retail uses for Kinect – to create your own personal avatar including face for size selection, virtual fashion [try-on], and weight loss simulation end uses for home, Web-based, retail or smart phone use.  TC2 Kinect

TC2 offers Virtual Fashion System and V-Dresser: Web-based and Smart Phone Virtual Fashion

One of the unique and best features about this [TC]2 mobile smart phone system is that the user can either input manual measurements, upload a body shape scan from a home based Single Windows Kinect set-up, or upload your actual bodyscanner data from your own scanner or from a registered partner scanner! This is really great. It would really be great to be linked to the Me-Ality scanners that are being installed across North America or any other publicly placed bodyscaners.

 [TC]2’s Virtual Fashion System  – makes lifelike natural pose avatars and can show them with clothing, and can predict sizes or provide custom clothing specficiations.  The TC2 system can utilize 3D clothing generated from V-Dresser, CLO3D/Marvelous Designer, OptiTex, Lectra, Maya, etc etc etc.

V-Dresser - TC2 is the world-wide distributor for V-Dresser. Leveraging recently released low cost scanning devices for home use, [TC]² has combined that low cost power and availability with its Size Selection, Avatar Creation, Virtual Fashion, and Weight Loss Visualization technologies developed over the years for use with high-accuracy 3D full body scans. The result is an extremely high value-low cost solution for retail, at-home, and web-enabled smart phone applications.

For more information on personal avatar creation email

 Portable Body Scanning: Spacevision Cartesia

[TC]2 offers Spacevision Cartesia the first portable body scanning system. Space Vision Incorporated is a venture company based on the results of research undertaken at Nagoya Institute of Technology and Keio University. Julia Haselhorst, strategic manager of The Textile & Fashion Hub stated that The Council of Textile & Fashion Industries of Australia (TFIA) Textile & Fashion Hub has the Spacevision Cartesia, which uses software from TC2.

“It is much lighter, more portable, accurate and price accessible than many of the other scanners on the market.”

It is light, portable and can be set up in 15 minutes. It can scan a body shape in 2 seconds.

Digital Fabric Design: Creative & Technical Exploration

Using CLO3D to visualize engineered garments

This post summarizes a customized undergraduate student project that incorporated an exploration into and experimental development of vector based surface design graphics. The new methods explored by the student were non-repeat yardage & engineered garment design.

The aesthetic goal of this project is to capture the essence of Hawaii. Water life, flora, and volcanoes of Hawaii are incorporated into the surface designs. Research was conducted to integrate the surface theme with the traditional sarong garment styling as well as develop engineered garments inspired by the sarong.

Faith Scheffer Moeuhane-Fabric-Design-II

The challenge was to first conduct a variety of research then develop a Hawaiian theme that is integrated with current color and print trends. A new method of print design for the student involved four very large lengths of silk fabric (four sarongs)  that did not contain a repeat. Another challenge was to explore and develop custom engineered prints for garment pattern design and construction. Garment patterns were traditionally developed and digitized into the OptTtex application. From there they were exported and then imported into Adobe Illustrator where the surface graphics were added. CLO3D was used as a 3D visualization aid for viewing surface graphic design placement.

Vector based applications are perfect for creation of either large width/length pieces of yardage or for developing graphics for full-scale garment patterns because vector files are resolution free thus the file sizes are manageable as compared to raster files. Vector files can be easily exported as a raster of any quality.

The wide scale  (42″ by 72″) fabric non-repeat design was easily created by the student in Adobe Illustrator. The silk fabric yardage was printed at Inkdrop Printing. Garment patterns for this project were  created using the traditional methods of flat patternmaking and then patterns are digitized into the computer. The full-scale garment patterns were then imported into Adobe Illustrator and surface designs were created directly onto the garments patterns. 3D visualization helps with design development. Fabric was digitally printed with the digitally embellished surface patterns at Spoonflower. The two garments are then constructed.

The resulting Moe’uhane, (which means “dream” in Hawaiian) collection consists of four sarong yardages and two Hawaiian-inspired garments. They were recently presented publicly at the BSCRUNWAY 5.0 annual fashion event sponsored by the Fashion and Textile Technology Program at Buffalo State College, USA.

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Link to Faith Scheffer student designer interview

note: If you are an educator and have a 2D/3D apparel/textile product development prototype project that either you or your student(s) created and would like to share with readers of this blog, please contact me at

copyright © 2012 by Elaine Polvinen all rights reserved.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua VII

- Summary

Flamingo Pua Collection

The Flamingo Pua project involved the design, development and creation of prototypes of a collection of 6 garments from initial concept to virtual to real garment prototypes.

The use of 2D and 3D applications throughout enables very quick response design development. This project took approximately 3 weeks from start to finish. Applications used were Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, OptiTex, and CLO 3D.

Photoshop was used to develop the initial concept board, Illustrator was used to develop print pattern repeats and create the garment basic silhouettes, silhouettes with print patterns and all full size garment pattern surface design and graphics.

OptiTex is a very easy to use multi-dimensional application. For this project it was used for garment pattern development, initial 3D garment testing before and after graphics were applied, and export of garment patterns to Illustrator.

CLO3D was used to develop Animations for the virtual fashion show and the four-way layouts.

The four-way static posed layouts could also easily be generated in the OptiTex application.

Other product development steps you would need to complete if you were ever planning on some sort of limited production would be to create a specification pack [spec pack or tech pack] that included all detailed  garment measurements for each size you are planning to order the garment in and every single other material [fashion fabric/lining, interfacing], notion and embellishment needed to reconstruct the garment. Last but not least by any means would be to put together a costing sheet that includes all costs associated with producing the item. I will put together a follow-up post in near future.

Hope you enjoyed the series.

note: If you are an educator and have a 2D/3D apparel/textile product development prototype project that either you or your student(s) created and would like to share with readers of this blog, please contact me at

Previous posts:

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua VI: – Runway

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua V: – digital fabric printing of engineered garment pattern prototypes.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua IV: CLO3D virtual fashion show

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua III: garment pattern development in OptiTex, garment sketch development, engineered garment pattern surface design development, OptiTex 3D simulation test.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua II: color palette, print pattern and garment sketch development.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua I: inspiration, initial research for concept & silhouette development

copyright © 2012 by Elaine Polvinen all rights reserved.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua IV

- CLO3D virtual fashion show

CLO3D was the application used to create a virtual fashion show for the Flamingo Pua series. I will have more posts in the near future relating to integration  testing of the CLO3D application in an educational setting for specialized use as a fashion product visualization tool as well as a student project that included the use of the CLO3D application.

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Next post: 2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua V: digital fabric printing of engineered garment pattern prototypes

note: If you are an educator and have a 2D/3D apparel/textile product development prototype project that either you or your student(s) created and would like to share with readers of this blog, please contact me at

Previous posts:

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua III: garment pattern development in OptiTex,  garment sketch development, engineered garment pattern surface design development, OptiTex 3D simulation test.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua II: color palette, print pattern and garment sketch development.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua I:  inspiration, initial research for concept & silhouette development

copyright © 2012 by Elaine Polvinen all rights reserved.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua III

- Garment pattern development in OptiTex,  garment sketch development, engineered garment pattern surface design development, OptiTex 3D simulation test.

palette, print pattern and garment sketch development.

Garment patterns were quickly developed and simulations were visualized using OptiTex PDS.

Ideas for graphics were added to basic silhouette sketches (above) and used as a guide to develop final surface patterns/graphics (below).

Garment patterns were exported from OptiTex and imported into Adobe Illustrator full size (above).  All garment pattern lines were set to invisible except perimeter cut lines. Graphics and surface patterns were developed inside the cut lines for each full size garment pattern piece.

Engineered garment surface patterns were tested in the OptiTex PDS 3D application (above).

Next post: 2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua IV : Clo3D – virtual fashion show

note: If you are an educator and have a 2D/3D apparel/textile product development prototype project that either you or your student(s) created and would like to share with readers of this blog, please contact me at

Previous posts:

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua II: color palette, print pattern and garment sketch development.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua I: inspiration, initial research for concept & silhouette development

copyright © 2012 by Elaine Polvinen all rights reserved.

2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua II

– color palette, print pattern and garment sketch development.


Color palette, print pattern and garment sketch development Color, styling and silhouette direction were researched using WGSN (Worth Global Styling Network). It is the leading online global trend and sourcing network.

“WGSN is the leading online trend-analysis and research service providing creative and business intelligence for the apparel, style, design and retail industries.” History of WGSN

All WGSN reports are downloadable and fully editable. My favorite category is Design and product Development –   inspiration, influences  research color key items, silhouette, styling and graphics 2 years in advance for every fashion category you can think of.

Pasted blow are the color and print patterns developed for the Flamingo Pua series.

Pasted below are the basic garment silhouette shapes developed for the Flamingo Pua series.

Next Post: 2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua III – Garment pattern development & engineered garment pattern surface design development.

note: If you are an educator and have a 2D/3D apparel/textile product development prototype project that either you or your student(s) created and would like to share with readers of this blog, please contact me at

Previous post: 2D/3D Fashion Product Development Prototype Flamingo Pua I : Inspiration, initial research for concept & silhouette development

copyright © 2012 by Elaine Polvinen all rights reserved.

OptiTex: Buffalo Loves Cotton Fashion Mash

The Buffalo Loves Cotton Fashion Mash line-up is a group of 15 garments that were developed sequentially with a collaborative series of projects in different fashion classes. The Fashion Mash line up will be a featured scene in the upcoming Runway 4.0 that will take place this Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at the Pierce Arrow building  on Elmwood Avenue  in Buffalo, NY at 4PM and 8:30PM. More information on the BSCRUNWAY blog. The fabrics were selected from projects in FTT304: Adobe Pattern Development for Industry. Garment designs were part of a larger project in FTT308: FashionCAD. Garment patterns were developed on the OptiTex multi-dimensional application in the FTT327: Computerized Patternmaking class. Some garments were draped in FTt328: Draping and garment construction took place in FTt324: Industrial Apparel Assembly.

The Buffalo Loves Cotton Fashion Mash line-up is part of a larger year long Cotton Inc. education grant. More information can be located by goggling “Buffalo Loves Cotton.”

Buffalo Loves Cotton: OptiTex Project

The students in the Fashion Technology program at Buffalo State College working on the collaborative Buffalo State Loves Cotton project [sponsored by Cotton INC]  recently completed computerized flat patterns for garments that were designed by students in another class. Once the garment patterns were developed using the OptiTex PDS application they were stitched together and the repeat designs that were developed by another class were applied to them and then simulations were created using the OptiTex 3D module. Pasted below is a four-way image of a 3D garment simulation using the OptiTex system.

To see many more of the OptiTex students designs and video rotational views of their garment simulations CLICK THIS LINK to access the FTT Adobe Student Gallery Buffalo Loves Cotton OptiTex post. These garments will be featured in Runway 4.0. The April 16th, 2011 Runway 4.0 event tickets are currently on sale. CLICK HERE to get ticket info.

Optitex has an online 3D virtual clothing application where you can try on garments and view them in 3D mode. CLICK HERE to link to it.

Buffalo Loves Cotton Posts:

Transition a Company to OptiTex

August 13, 2010 4 comments

Transitioning over to OptiTex can position a company on the leading edge of Technology.  A multidimensional easy to learn Windows based application like OptiTex can shorten the development time and expand communication and collaboration between product development team members.

Destination Maternity’s New CAD System is a Perfect Fit by Stacey Kusterbeck, Apparel Contributing Writer  is an article about a the Destination Maternity company (NASDAQ:DEST) that tested various CAD systems before settling on the Optitex system. Implementation of the system in the company was swift and seamless. “The company designs everything from bras to swimsuits to wedding gowns, for its brands A Pea in the Pod, A Pea in the Pod Collection, and Motherhood Maternity, sold at more than 1,000 retail locations and online.”

Mari Alessi-Kowalski, director of technical design stated that “To be able to switch out of the old technology in a relatively painless process, and increase the pattern skills and confidence in such a short period of time, is pretty amazing.”

The article details the process of a company first researching and testing applications  to locate the most advanced pattern and marker making application and then shifting over to the new system without affecting the production process. The company is now in the stage of integrating the 3D aspects of the Optitex multidimensional application into the product development process.

A quote from the article relative to 3D Technology”

“Team members can review and approve product faster, because the initial sample starts out in a better place. “It could prevent the need to sew two or three additional fit/drape samples per style. That would mean a savings of two or more weeks in any given production cycle,” says Alessi-Kowalski.

Alessi-Kowalski sees being ahead of the curve with 3D as a big competitive advantage. “More and more companies are adopting 3D technology to speed up the lifecycle of their product,” she says. “Probably in the next 10 years, fitting virtually will be done in most large apparel environments.”

From a training and development perspective, team members have much more opportunity to grow and refine their CAD skill set in OptiTex than they could in the prior system. “The sky’s the limit for them,” says Alessi-Kowalski. “Switching our CAD system and adopting 3D technology was a step in the right direction for the future. “”

OptiTex at Buffalo State College Update

July 8, 2010 1 comment

We have successfully integrated the OptiTex multidimensional application at Buffalo State college. The company is wonderful to work with. We had to integrate the application first with 2d only due to the initial hardware limitations in our lab. The students had no trouble learning the 2D applications but they were anxious to work on the 3D aspects of the OptiTex system. 


Our OptiTex instructor, David Brinson has been preparing for full integration of the 3D aspects this coming fall 2010.  According to David,  his goal “was to see if there were any limitations  to the program. It ‘s based on a virtual gravity field that the operator can control. The operator must place the pattern pieces so they will drape over the areas where clothing naturally hangs on the body.”

I am attaching some OptiTex draping images that he has created this summer from 2D patterns. The fashion students at Buffalo State college are very fortunate to have an opportunity to work on this exceptional  multidimensional application.

Search “OptiTex” on this blog to review past posts.

OptiTex at Cornell: Kudos to Susan Ashdown

 Susan Ashdown, Professor from the Fiber Science & Apparel Design Departmentat Cornell University  is a former collaborator that I was recently very happy to see again in person. Susan is an expert researcher in the area of FIT body scanning technology. During my visit to Cornell [4/29/09] I had a chance to see the exciting integration of the multidimensional OptiTex system that is taking place there.

In the past I posted an article titled “OptiTex#2: FIT Technology” I wrote about the critical importance of developing accurate real life fit when working with a virtual avatar form as well as the creative strategic partnerships that are in continual development at OptiTex.

I stated that :

“The benefits of using 3D avatar/ mannequins for fashion product development are perfect fit, mass customization, cost effectiveness for design, development, prototyping and e-commerce marketing. “

I also wrote about the partnership that OptiTex developed at ALVAFORM but Susan has immediate access to a  body scanner so she can develop customized virtual avatar dress forms for the OptiTex application or work from the measurements of the ALVAFORMS she has.

Susan is teaching the OptiTex system at Cornell and I observed first hand how she has creatively integrated the use of ALVA dress forms into the OptiTex class. Students print out the patterns that they created on the OptiTex system in half scale. They then construct the half size garments and fit them on to a half size ALVAFORMS that they have at Cornell. The half scale forms were made from the 3D file created for the full size dress forms, so rescaling the full size patterns by 50% results in an accurate fit on these small dress forms, with half the materials, time, and space that it would take to make full scale garments. This is really an exciting OptiTex accurate real VS virtual FIT project for students to work on. I am posting some images of Susan holding up some of the OptiTex garments that students developed, constructed and fit on to the ALVAFORMS.

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[UPDATE: I asked Susan why she selected the half size ALVA forms to experiment with and not just any other half size dress form. She replied that the difference is that the Alva forms are  1) body shaped, they have realistic breasts and buttocks, since they were made from a scan of a real person (not a scan that Susan made, but one that they did at Alvanon), 2) they are all identical, and all a precise half scale of the full forms as they all come from the same forms that are used to shape the fiberglass (the Wolf forms are shaped by hand and vary a lot), and 3) they have legs - Susan stated that she has never found another half scale form with legs!]

Here is a link to the ALVAFORM Academic Series Web page.  

CLICK HERE for ALVAFORM academic information and contact information for Susan Ashdown.

Multidimensional Fashion Technology I

There is a reason that my posts have not been frequent since the spring semester ended. I have been focusing on developing two on-line courses for fall 2008. One is totally in world and on ANGEL. See post titled: Register for College Level Intro to Virtual Fashion in SL [fall 08'] I would like to invite Fashion professors from other countries that would like to sponsor a fashion student for an independent study to participate in this class with me. If you are interested – please e-mail me at Learning to conceptualize, work and develop in a free 3D virtual application like Second Life will introduce fashion students for the transformative changes that are currently underway in the global fashion industry. If students gain a comfort level working in a virtual world, their learning curve for a multidimensional product development application will be substantially reduced.

I have also been “officially” retooling over to the multidimensional OptiTex technology; it is the next logical step to prepare future professionals for the 3D transformational changes that are currently taking place in the global fashion industry. I have a twenty year CAD/CAM technology background that includes retooling, developing course materials and teaching surface/textile design for industry, computer pattern making, marker making and more recently 3D fashion applications.

The 360 degree rotational images that are possible with this system can be used for marketing or pre-marketing. Perhaps even using the digital 3D imagary for a mass personalization retail marketing application like MVM’s BrandMe. Developing a fashion product in digital format from square one will save time, cut costs and facilitate marketing of the product on line in addition to collaborating directly with the manufacturer in 3D to eliminate costly development miscommunication errors.

I would like to integrate the OptiTex cutting-edge CAD/CAM Marker, PDS and Modulate programs in the curriculum. The reasons why I selected OptiTex to retool on are listed in my blog posting titled: Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions.

I have been working on it for the past three-four weeks now and it’s a totally amazing application! I am planning to develop some basic pattern development and modification tutorials, so I thought I would begin by sharing a bit of the stitching, simulation and 3D viewing for a basic sloper video [posted above] that I created following the instructions from Helen Joseph Armstrong’s Patternmaking for Fashion Design. The Optitex online support Wiki is both an exceptional learning and teaching tool, it will facilitate quick response retooling for educators and industry.

Oh by the way – the fabric pattern in the video above was from a portion of a Second Life screen shot during a visit last evening with Bettina Tizzy [and some close colleagues from FIT] at CHakryn Forest. Bettina founded the working group “Not Possible IRL,” : 1) To identify, showcase and promote content creation in virtual worlds that would not be possible in Real Life; 2) To seek and disseminate knowledge that empowers content creators; and 3) To advocate for better recognition and protection of the rights of content creators in virtual environments. Here are some FLICKER links to NPIRL [Not Possible In real Life]  : Situations Not Possible in Real Life (NPIRL) and Avatars Not Possible in Real Life (NPIRL).

Here is the one screenshot I took…

…and here one of the textures [that I used in the video above] that I developed from the image above in Photoshop.

Here are two more from the same inspiration…







As I stated during my presentation at Technology Day at FIT, RMIT and Ryerson, if fashion education does not initiate the type of quick response solution (that students are taught with regards to the real world) to the unprecedented transformational technology shift that is taking place over to 3D, they run the serious risk of becoming redundant and obsolete and could actually be the driving force for industry to develop private training institutes.”

The primary focus of this Virtual Fashion Technology blog is to document the transition and expansion from 2D traditional to 2D Digital to 3D virtual for apparel textile product design, development and retailing. Retooling on a multidimensional fashion product development application will be a major contribution.

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

Technology Day at FIT Part II

April 27, 2008 5 comments

Technology Day at FIT: Teaching and learning in Four Dimensions

My Avatar Myself - Elaine Polvinen aka Finn1 Flintlock

I was next at Technology Day at FIT to present “My Avatar Myself: How Avatars are Transforming Product Development, Marketing, Retailing and Education.”

My presentation was an expansive overview of how avatars that represent personal representations of the user are totally and completely transforming all aspects of fashion product development, marketing, retailing and how fashion education can respond.

I began my presentation with the OptiTex Red Dress video to illustrate what a multidimensional product development application is capable of producing. I have been totally immersed in researching and retooling on cutting edge technology for fashion/textiles education for the last 20 or so years and I have never witnessed technology transforming as quickly as it currently is now shifting over to 3D and virtual reality.

There is just no way a software application company can keep up internally with the changes taking place in the industry without forming multiple external liaisons and partnerships. In the same vein there is no way that retailers can respond to the mass personalization and customization [MCP] trend that the user centric social community market is driving without shifting to an integrated multidimensional product development and/or retailing application. The user is totally driving the market that is requiring these transformational changes. Fashion education in turn can successfully respond to this transformational technology and market trend by also forming liaisons, partnerships and linkages with industry and other fashion educators on a global level. Sharing resources, knowledge and skills regarding this shift over to multidimensional product development, MCP marketing and retailing will enable a quick and positive response to prepare future entry level professionals for the fashion industry.

Elaine Polvinen and Beth Harris meet for the first time in the real world at the FIT Technology Day.At the time I was researching for a manuscript I was working on last fall, one of the reasons that OptiTex caught my eye was because they were the only apparel/textile application I could locate that had formulated a variety of highly successful partnerships and/or liaisons that resulted in novel and creative  pre-marketing, and MCP marketing applications (in addition to a relatiively uniform level of development of multiple modules). This company was definitely ahead of the MCP social community trend that is currently taking place in the fashion industry. Technology leadership today is a precarious position to be in for any company especially when you have a multidimensional application that requires cutting edge development for multiple modular applications. It’s a high speed, high stakes race to the future – correctly predicting and preparing for future trends at the warp speed that is required for todays software applications. Quick response is a definite stratigic market positioning advantage.

A multidimensional system empowers the user to work seamlessly from 2D to 3D and back to 2D again in real time. And most important to retailers is to develop the product in digital content from square one. This equals BIG $$$ and time savings as well as enabling pre-marketing and MCP options. Why even discuss the lack of global sizing standards when parametric sizing is possible and fit models can simply body scan themselves into becoming the 3D virtual avatar dress forms that are then used to design and create a brands garments on? A brand can focus on developing sizing standards for their target customers. Multiple functions were displayed in the presentation that are mentioned in previous posts:

 Where is this mass customization emerging from? Think Webkinz – a multi-million dollar success story that involves exceptionally cute little furry avatar creatures that young children love. And who knows a young WebKinz addicted child that only has one Webkinz? Purchase of these little avatars enable entry into a very special social community that empowers the owner to do all sorts of things on line. And just to keep the purchases strong there they “expire” after one year, while others are forced into “retirement,” and there are continual introductions to new Webkinz [see video below]. Open your wallets!

Club Penquin is another on line social community that markets to young children leading to Barbie online and the Meez social community. The ability to make the animated Meez gifs in such a variety of backgrounds and movements had led kids to string them together to make some creative videos [see video posted below]. Search for Meez on You Tube. Oh yes I almost forgot all the Meez clothes are available for purchase at Sears. Sweet marketing concept.

The Club Penquin avatars have also inspired some creative YouTube videos

The crème de la crème of this trend for the youth market is the Sims and H&M “Where Fashion Design and the Virtual World Meet,” branding and promotion that created the Sims2 H&M Fashion Runway product. The on line Sims2 H&M Fashion Runway community votes to select the best design that will be produced for the H&M product line – what a creative and unique personalization and social community concept. This is an excellent virtual preparation for an emerging fashion design student.

Where is this social marketing trend moving after youngsters, tweens and teens? Try the MVM BrandMe personalized model trend that is rapidly expanding into fashion products. MVM  develops customized user centric applications specifically for retailers that empower the user to personalize their shopping experience and share it with a social community or “push” it to a blog or e-mail.  Viral marketing strategies for retailers are a reality with the MVM Dressing Room and Home Products Outfitting Solutions. Retailers can track buyer’s preferences and offer promotional items based on those preferences. [note: search MVM and/or BrandMe for previous blog posts]

Duel virtual and real world marketing is already taking place. Examples are House of Nyla and the Playboy line developed in partnership with Second Life fashion designers. Virtual World Product Life Management solutions for the apparel industry are currently under development as evidenced by the Black Dress Technology Subsidiary that represents collaboration between the Fashion Research Institute and IBM. A gargantuan virtual world is currently under development in the form of the Cyber Recreation District in Beijing China that has the potential to impact the world economy if successful. The need to download a virtual world application in order to access it may soon be a thing of the past with multiple developers [MetaPlace and SocioTown] to name a few] racing to release the most successful 3D virtual world that is easily accessible via the “flat Web browser” we currently use.

How can education prepare students for the 3D and virtual transformation that we are currently undergoing? Introduce them incrementally to a virtual experience like Second Life. Getting acclimated to a virtual 3D experience will provide them with the ability to think and conceptualize in 3D. Whatever the application they will be required to work on in the real world will be – they will already be halfway there because they have experienced and achieved a level of comfort by completing simulated fashion related projects in a virtual world. Projects like developing fashion collections, exhibits, brand logos, fashion show production, store layout and design, 2.0 Web applications, simultaneous real world/virtual world marketing and promotion.

If fashion education does not initiate the type of quick response solution (that students are taught with regards to the real world) to the unprecedented transformational technology shift that is taking place over to 3D, they run the serious risk of becoming redundant and obsolete and could actually be the driving force for industry to develop private training institutes.

Avatars are permeated throughout product development, marketing and retailing. Their use has multiple benefits for industry in the form of cost effectiveness and quick response, pre-marketing and MCP options. The use of multidimensional applications provide retailers with digital content to pre-market a product to a social community similar to the MCP Sims/H&M branding/marketing concept on a grand scale.

Virtual worlds hold great promise for product development, just-in-time manufacturing and multidimensional retailing. How will industry, retailers and education respond? This is like a massive multi player game of musical chairs [or Survivor] to see who survives and prospers by responding to the users [that are driving the MCP social marketing trend] and by creating strategic linkages.

continued on … Technology Day at FIT Part III

Link to my FLICKR images from the conference.

© 2008 All Rights Reserved.

OptiTex #6: What Else and Why?

April 19, 2008 1 comment

There are several more videos I will share with you in this final post of this OptiTex Outside of the Box Technology Series.

The integrated collaboration and development goals of the OptiTex product have resulted in a unique multidimensional  product development tool for the Fashion industry that is leading many to ask is it real or is it virtual?

 The OptiTex cloth rendering and animation engines are exceptional. I will share two more videos [posted below] to demonstrate that in this final post of the series.

 In a past post I mentioned that companies and/or brand could use the OptiTex multidimensional application to develop their own set of sizing standards either by inputting body scans of the fit models or using a plug-in for standardized industry dress forms.

Companies and/or Brands can also globally centralize the fabric/material testing and  input the individual cloth properties such as bend, stretch, shear, damping, shrinkage, weight, thickness for the OptiTex fashion product developers.

3D Chalk/Vector Tool

Another upcoming development in a future version will be the OptiTex 3D Chalk Tool [see video above]. It is another example of expanding communication options by working simultaneously in a multidimensional 2D>3D environment. It enables the user to sketch notes anywhere on the 3D image. More important to me then the 3D Chalk tool is the vector Pen Tool. This handy little Pen Tool enables the user to position the 3D image in any rotational view so that a technical vector flat sketch can easily and quickly be drawn over the 3D fashion product. This is an exceptional technical spec tool. The user can very quickly develop front, back and side technical specs from the 3D rotational views. This feature will be available in Version 11.


This brings us to the end of the most recent OptiTex series. You may be wondering why I have focused so much on the OptiTex product?  Quite honestly I an a fashion/textile technology addict for the past 21 years. I started out transferring all my traditional, aesthetic and technical skills over to 2D technology in 1987 and have been retooling ever since. I love all aspects of Fashion Technology and the OptiTex product is the first product I have come across over the years that truly integrates all the separate aspects (on an equally high quality level) of fashion technology ( first 2D and more recently 3D) that I have been working on for the last 21 years like garment pattern development, marker making, technical specs, texture mapping, print,  weave and knit surface CAD design, [and more recently] 3D fashion product development, simulation and animation.

Yes, there are many other excellent high quality widly used industry flat pattern development and marker making applications like Gerber, Lectra, Assyst, PAD and 3D applications like Maya and 3D Studio MAX.  Quite honestly some of the most widely known fashion applications in the industry have only recently realized the critical necessity of integrating 3D technology into existing 2D applications and the highly significant impact the resulting quick response, cost effectiveness, global fitting standardization, pre-marketing and marketing uses this multidimensional application will provide for the fashion industry. In house development on some integrated 2D/3D integrated systems has been uneven. Not all companies embrace external partnerships and collaborations like OptiTex has with established leaders in industry.

I can tell you from many years of first hand experience in fashion education with struggling to integrate different technology applications that there is nothing like a turn-key integrated equally high quality multi-application system for all aspects of fashion product development. It is an exceptional educational tool for visually teaching students how their 2D flat-pattern designs will look on a 3D form.

I wanted to share the results of my years of hands on experience and research with you. If I run across another similar high quality integrated system I will share the results of my new research with you…


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