Today, I'm going to teach you something very important about manufacturing.
When you think of prototyping your designs, you probably think of building a one-of-a-kind early rendition, then rinsing and repeating until you have something perfect. These physical, traditional prototypes are also, yeah, 3D...but when we say "3D prototyping", we're actually referring to a different, much more efficient process.
Once upon a time, all design- not just clothing- was done by hand, with tools, by workers. This, however, is expensive, so US clothing manufacturers have gone overseas, where labor is cheaper and more plentiful...at the expense of American workers and ethical manufacturing.
Make no mistake: reducing labor cost is a smart business move, and any serious apparel entrepreneur should want to do it. But what if you were able to save money and American jobs?
This is where 3D prototyping comes in.
#1: FITTING SESSIONS ARE EASIER THAN EVER, THANKS TO CUSTOM AVATARS
Let's face it: not everyone looks like Angelina Jolie or Chris Hemsworth. (I certainly don't!) If you only design apparel around those body types, you're going to get a lot of unhappy consumers.
Using custom avatars, you can create your average body for the demographic you're targeting. You can really create any kind of custom avatar you want- what's important is that it matches with your target demographic.
Once you have a custom avatar and 3D prototyping, you get to perform virtual fitting sessions. Virtual fitting sessions will show how your design looks on a realistic human form, allowing you to spot and fix design issues more quickly, and see how well it actually fits.
With the right parameters, you can create a tension map, showing how the clothes fit the model, whether it's too tight, too loose or just right. All this without leaving your computer, without having to pay to get a traditional prototype manufactured or a model to try it on.
#2: 3D SAMPLES CAN BE USED FOR CROWDFUNDING, INVESTMENT, AND MARKETING PURPOSES
3D prototyping can also be used to create photorealistic renders of your product, which can then be used for marketing purposes.
Say, for instance, you want to launch a Kickstarter campaign for an innovative shoe design- 3D prototyping can get you a very enticing proof of concept at a fraction of the price.
#3: GREATLY STREAMLINES APPAREL CREATION PROCESS
Efficiency is the name of the game in business.
With traditional clothing and apparel manufacturing, you have four steps: design, prototype, tech design, and final manufacturing. The problem is that these steps cost time and labor that you're trying to save money on, and you may have to repeat these steps multiple times before you can finish the process.
With 3D prototyping, you can streamline the first three steps into one, which can be quickly and easily repeated and iterated on until you've reached perfection.
#4: IT'S CHEAPER AND MORE ETHICAL
You hear the horror stories all the time. People working for unimaginably low wages- children, even. Low safety standards. Accidents. Laborers overseas being cruelly exploited, en masse, for the benefit of American consumers.
If you're interested in ethical manufacturing, that probably bothers you. Fortunately, you don't need to stoop to that to be successful in this business- thanks to the reasons listed above, 3D prototyping will save you a lot of money, money that would normally be unfathomably more expensive with American manufacturing.
You won't be hiring as many workers, sure, but the ones you have will be safe, happy, and well-compensated for their work. And you will have a sustainable manufacturing model.
If all of this is compelling to you, then I want to help you out.
I run an Apparel Academy Mentoring Group. For $20, you can get a month of mentoring from myself and other experts at Clothier Design Source, where we can teach you all you need to know about manufacturing clothing and making the most of innovative technologies like 3D prototyping.