Archive for October, 2008

IBM & FRI UPDATE: Virtual Fashion for Real World Production

October 12, 2008 2 comments

The video below illustrates a 3D Fashion LookBook titled “Nautical Dreams,” on the FRI island of Shengri La. The book contains Technical sketches, color chips, textile fabric swatches  and a large variety of possible product protypes for various styles under the “Nautical Dream” fashion trend theme.

IBM announced on 10/09/08  that “it has signed a multi-million IBM Global Business Services agreement with the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) to implement a first-of-a-kind Virtual World Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Enterprise System.”

“Fashion Research Institute, headquartered in New York, NY, conducts research into technology-based initiatives and develops emerging technologies to overhaul traditional fashion practices and methodologies. FRI’s mission is to reduce the carbon footprint and change the environmental impact of the industry in ways that are sustainable, replicable, respectful of the practitioners, and meaningful for all stakeholders. FRI maintains Shengri-La, a five-island complex in Second Life, and an OpenSim complex.”

This is a really exciting project. It will empower fashion designers to use 3D tools via a Second Life interface that connects to the OpenSim virtual world platform to create fashion products. The system currently in development will enable a highly efficient and creative workflow process for small and large businesses that encourages modifications, collaborations and the generation of virtual product samples that can be formulated into accurate specifications for cost effective mass production for real world manufacturing.

In the past, Shenlei Winkler (pictured to the left),  the Director of the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) was a designer for WallMart so she knows first hand the time and costs that are involved in development of a fashion product from start to finish. [ note: Fashion goes 3D [FORTUNE] Jon Fortt

According to Shenlei,

“Shengri La is the Fashion Research Institute’s Second Life ‘collaboratory’, which is maintained both to offer a permanent home for collaboration and to offer a shelter to the new and recently rezzed avatars of FRI’s collaborators.  Everything on the Shengri La is designed to encourage our collaborators to bring their associates into a virtual world and assist them in learning to use the virtual world to best advantage. 

Activities help people learn to move around and to use the associated tools to look at and learn about this world.  Events encourage social and business networking, which in turn allows avatars to develop deeper bonds with others and with the virtual world.”

This image links to FLICKR slideshow

 Some of the  goals of this project are to provide a simpler and more intuitive design interface, and to reduce market time

“As the Fashion Research Institute continues to enhance the IT capabilities of the fashion and consumer packaged goods industries, IBM’s deep knowledge in product design, enterprise systems, and virtual worlds will help FRI bring new market opportunities to the fashion world,” said Jeffrey Russell, IBM Global Business Services. “A design house implementing this solution could reduce dozens of weeks of design time, minimize the number of physical samples manufactured, and increase product manufacturing quality enough to put into development and production many additional collections.”

Read the rest of the announcement HERE.

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