It’s been on the fashion industry’s radar for a while now, and the covid-19 pandemic has triggered a surge in ecommerce that has made its resurfacing a necessity. The truth is that 3D technology is here to stay. The question is not anymore about if it is coming, but more where it is coming.
Avatars, virtual rooms, 3D, augmented reality — all these fashion-tech innovations have been picking up speed in a world driven by mobile and ecommerce sales led by social media. It is not the future any longer, it’s the present. And if you think avatars are weird, and that trying out clothes virtually is strange, remember that Gen Z is all-too familiar with this technology and using it will just be a natural extension of their online behaviour. This is where fashion consumption is heading.
“There’s no doubt that this is the future,” says fashion designer Ditte Bjerring, the founder of Vonoa DK.
How do we start with 3D?
Vonoa is one of Denmark’s pioneers when it comes to working with 3D in the apparel industry. To understand where 3D is heading, we talked to Bjerring to learn more about what they do at Vonoa and where they recommend brands should start with 3D.
“Brands should begin experimenting with 3D in Sales & Marketing. We know it can help with production, but that is a larger transformation. It is easier to start small and move forward.”
3D has become a magic weapon for content marketing, as it makes it possible to show your product in ways that text, images and video can’t. Bjerring and her team are thinking out of the box. They see 3D and these technologies as an opportunity to boost the sales process, generate awareness and introduce new ways of showing your products that will ultimately help consumers make better purchase decisions.
Vonoa helps clothing, textile and lifestyle companies that use virtual product development, workflow and marketing.
Ditte Bjerring is a 3D designer from Silkeborg, Denmark, who was originally educated to work as a buyer in the fashion industry, before working throughout the whole supply and value chain: including textile design, design process and virtual content. She started working with 3D design and founded Vonoa as a response to the needs of the market.
At the moment webshops are very still. People these days demand more experiences. And that’s what they offer: the chance to do the things you are doing now but differently by using 3D — in order to grab the attention of your customers.
“3D moved quite fast last year and then sped up during the coronavirus. It is something a company needs to look into, and it doesn’t have to be a 100% transformation. They can start introducing this technology slowly.”
Don’t hold back, 3D is not as difficult as it looks
3D is not as complicated as it looks; designers will love it because there is more flexibility to work with. The first step is a difficult one to take, but 3D is not about resolving one challenge. It is about creating one opportunity that can later be used many times. Once you do it, all product data will be stored so it can be used for future collections — integrating with 2D pattern pieces for example.
“Once you’ve done it the first time, depending on how much you alter the silhouette of the clothing, it is actually really easy to make changes for the next season. This is one of the reasons that keeps companies from starting with 3D, because at the beginning it is quite hard, but when you are done with one collection, the next one will be easier to change and make new samples,” says Bjerring.
Perhaps that’s exactly what’s holding back many companies — that there is not a whole solution yet. But there is no doubt that this is how brands will work in the future and that it is moving quite fast, so making a start somewhere is highly recommended.
“My aim is to have a deeper understanding of the needs of brands and their customers. We teach companies how to use it and why they should use it. And learn together.”
Is 3D a tool that allows you to be experimental?
The good thing about 3D is that it is very flexible and much faster than the old way of doing your designs. With 3D you can play more, and be more free to try colors and patterns, than in real life when you have to play it safe with decisions, or otherwise the costs can spike. It gives you space to be more creative and take more risks. If it doesn’t work, you delete it and start again. It is a tool that allows you to be playful.
Vonoa is also working on a few projects in which the virtual showroom is being used during virtual sales meetings, which has become the new norm due to the covid-19 pandemic.
“One of the projects we are working on is taking photos and videos at the headquarters, using our 360 camera, to provide a real feel of the HQ and then build it in 3D. It is what the customer knows, and what the customer is familiar with. We then create these universes where people can experience the clothes and see behind the scenes and the materials.”
Who’s already trying 3D with Vonoa?
Vonoa and Stine Goya worked on a social media project called “Goya Morning Classes”, a series of virtual 3D morning classes inspired by the brand team’s own workout routine. Each model was wearing a Stine Goya outfit and performing a yoga pose. Each clip was distributed via their different social media channels with catchy captions like: “Release your inner Jane Fonda with today’s workout; 3 sets of 30 jumping jacks followed by a double espresso and a croissant!”.
The sports giant recently acquired Newline. They were struggling to get physical samples, so they teamed up with Vonoa to get still and animated virtual samples to provide realistic insights into upcoming styles and collections.
“A cool thing about the Newline project was that the designer was able to identify things about the product that should be changed, providing proof of how accurate the 3D sample was.”