The acceleration of digital presentations during physical lockdown has dominated fashion news in recent weeks, but a partnership between Adobe ADBE Substance and Browzwear is a game changer in terms of simplifying the garment design and production pipeline. It’s a partnership that leverages the powerful textile design tools of Adobe Substance within Browzwear’s 3D digital garment sampling solution that replaces physical prototypes with digital ones, without loss of garment accuracy and integrity in the final physical product. In short, this solution is eliminating physical print iterations for dozens of U.S. and European brands manufacturing in the Far East who are battling with Covid-19 challenges.
Adobe and Browzwear Partnership
Avihay Feld, CPO and Co-CEO of Browzwear said: “It has to be the case that the final physical product is a twin of the digital one—that’s our lighthouse.” In terms of motivation for the partnership with Adobe, he said: “We’re making it as easy as possible to achieve (the physical twin) for designers and supply chain partners and our end goal is always the physical garment. We are not necessarily coming from gaming or movies. The intention is to change the workflow so that we create a physical final output that meets our client’s expectations.” Those clients include Adidas and PVH PVH , who—Feld says—have been asking for a way to visualise printed materials more realistically in their software for some time.
Typically, to achieve realistic digital print designs in 3D, separate software solutions that create lighting effects are used to apply real-world shadows that trick the eye into believing the digital product is ‘in real life,’ with accurate representation of surface depth, textures and shadows. However, these digital effects behind the ‘real-life’ visual are not accompanied by print production data, meaning that the visuals are just that—seen, but can’t be manufactured. This means that, in the traditional workflow, many physical print tests are then produced by the manufacturer, and sent back and forth to the designer for approval, to eventually replicate the look of the 3D digital design. Integrating Adobe Substance into Browzwear software has eliminated this process entirely, as it provides production-ready manufacturing data via a Tech pack straight to the manufacturer, enabling creation of a physical twin that matches the digital one—without compromise.
Artwork without Adobe Substance print effects
Print Artwork with Adobe Substance embossed print effect
Digital Vs Physical Workflow
Feld explained that there are between 5 and 10 print effects most in demand in print factories across the industry today. These have been categorized into digital toolkits with many intricate editing functionalities to allows the designer to achieve the exact result they’re looking for, without any knowledge of graphic design or 3D mapping. Previously, a 3D designer with specialist these mapping and lighting skills would be required to execute the vision of the print designer, due to the skills gap. Browzwear’s partnership with Substance eliminates the need for this extra step. The result is the “true-to-life visualization” enables the entire apparel workflow to be optimized, making decisions over print execution that are an accurate representation of the physical end result, and that also fulfil the creative vision of the print designer.
Feld elaborated on the value of this solution by saying that specific print effects can be pre-defined for each brand within their toolkit. With large sportswear companies typically producing in excess of 60 prints variants, this custom solution offers a way to not only eliminate physical print sampling and endless replication, but also to slash textile waste and production lead times. With pressure mounting to reduce costs, waste and overstock in the face of Covid-19-induced economic strain, this appears to be a significant ‘value-add’ for global brands.
Browzwear subscribers receive a suite of 3D design tools, of which this functionality is now a part. When asked about further scope for eliminating textile sampling and test runs, Feld explained that the solution is “not just for print, but also embroidery. It will streamline the pipeline and give the print or embroidery the very final look (in digital)—all the way to the final execution. This technical solution brings power to the creativity of the designers, allowing apparel and print design simultaneously.”
Reflecting on the business importance of this 3D solution, Francois Cottin, Marketing Director of 3D and Immersive at Substance said: “Once a novelty in the domain of VFX and gaming, 3D technology is now core to a business’ ability to compete. Fashion is no different.” He added: “By collaborating with Browzwear, Substance is helping free designers from the limitations of physical prototyping while addressing the fashion industry’s priorities of saving time, reducing costs and eliminating waste.”
Sustainability and Efficiency
But what sort of time, cost and waste saving can be gained from this solution? To quantify the potential impact, I asked Feld to provide some figures following implementation of the solution in May. While stating that it is still early on to make sweeping deductions from the use of the tool so far, Feld said that uptake has been swift and many more print executions have been requested from their clients, demonstrating that it is solving print execution problems. “One of the best outcomes we have seen is hundreds of print executions made by dozens of clients since May,” he said. He is unable to place an exact figure on cost and waste reduction at this early stage, but Feld said it is not unreasonable to assume that the typical print lead time of 3-6 months could be reduced by a month with this solution. Feedback from manufacturers in China who are executing digital printing from the Browzwear Substance tech packs is expected in the coming months.
Following the launch of this collaboration, Browzwear announced their new shared leadership structure, with Sharon Lim (long-time CEO) and Avihay Feld (CPO) being named co-CEOs. This decentralization allows for quicker negotiations and execution, they say—clearly crucial in the rapidly changing fashion industry that is increasingly looking for digital solutions to its material problems.