adapt­ing to chang­ing fash­ion land­scape???

Perfect Sourcing - - Front Page - (The ar­ti­cle is con­trib­uted by Tukat­ech Team)

The fash­ion land­scape has changed dras­ti­cally in the last decade. Many devel­op­ments in re­tail and con­sumer be­hav­iour are driv­ing the new direc­tions of fash­ion. The mil­len­nial’s of to­day are more in­formed and tech savvy. They are the ones who re driv­ing new pat­terns of buy­ing. Their pref­er­ences are very dif­fer­ent, not driven by brands but by value, for which they are ready to pay a fair price. They are also very im­pa­tient and look for in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion. Though no one can re­ally pre­dict the fu­ture, some be­lieve that the pe­riod be­tween 2017 to 2020 will for­ever change the ap­parel busi­ness around the world.

For the last five years, many big-box re­tail­ers, chains, and brands have ei­ther been los­ing ground or are stag­nant with their growth. Thirty-seven out of thirty-nine re­tail­ers lost sales and share prices for three years in a row. Hun­dreds of stores are clos­ing, and thou­sands of jobs are lost weekly. Yet there are com­pa­nies like Ama­zon and Wal­mart who plans to hire an­other 100,000 em­ploy­ees.

The big­gest chal­lenge for brands to­day is to re­duce the to­tal prod­uct cy­cle time from ini­tial de­sign con­cept to de­liv­ery to the con­sumer. The last re­main­ing op­por­tu­nity they have is to tackle the prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and ap­proval time, as that process counts for at least 65% of the to­tal lead time (and can some­times reach as much as seventy-five per­cent). This means that a 120day lead time typ­i­cally in­volves over 85 days in prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and ap­provals.

One part of the world that re­ally un­der­stands how to do fash­ion fast is Cal­i­for­nia. In the “Golden State,” com­pa­nies de­velop be­tween 1,000 and 2,000 new styles every four weeks. Th­ese com­pa­nies set the de­sign trends through­out the fash­ion in­dus­try, and they also work very dif­fer­ently than the rest of the in­dus­try. Whereas the norm in most “high-tech” prod­uct de­vel­op­ment cy­cles in­cludes big teams of peo­ple with tech packs and cum­ber­some prod­uct man­age­ment sys­tems, Cal­i­for­nia com­pa­nies sim­plify the process by us­ing the most “old-school” meth­ods i.e face-to­face com­mu­ni­ca­tion and or­gan­ised as­sets. Not only do th­ese cut down on op­er­a­tions costs, but they also help de­sign­ers avoid mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which saves time. None of th­ese fast fash­ion com­pa­nies could sur­vive if their prod­uct de­vel­op­ment time and cost was as high as it is for the typ­i­cal im­porter.

To re­duce the amount of time and re­sources

Many in­ter­na­tional brands, re­tail­ers, and ven­dors have adopted 3D sam­ple-mak­ing. It’s true that it’s faster to send a dig­i­tal sam­ple over the in­ter­net, rather than send a phys­i­cal sam­ple by Fedex. But de­sign­ers still need to see mul­ti­ple sam­ple it­er­a­tions of a style be­fore they sign off with an ap­proval. A backand forth process, whether it hap­pens in 80 days or 8 days, is still an in­ef­fi­cient process. But not many peo­ple are look­ing at the real prob­lem here: tech packs.

Typ­i­cally, a fash­ion de­signer de­scribes what he/she wants to a tech­ni­cal de­signer, who cre­ates a

The big­gest chal­lenge for brands to­day is to re­duce the to­tal prod­uct cy­cle time from ini­tial de­sign con­cept to de­liv­ery to the con­sumer. The last re­main­ing op­por­tu­nity they have is to tackle the prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and ap­proval time, as that process counts for at least 65% of the to­tal lead time (and can some­times reach as much as sev­en­ty­five per­cent)

flat sketch of the gar­ment, and adds it to a tech pack with all the in­for­ma­tion about that de­sign, so that it can be sent to a ven­dor to make the ac­com­pa­ny­ing pat­tern. But no one checks to see if the tech­ni­cal de­signer re­ally un­der­stood what the fash­ion de­signer wanted in the first place. When the ven­dor re­ceives this book, or tech pack, it’s not just the pat­tern­maker who re­views and in­ter­prets the de­sign, but rather a whole team of man­agers and mer­chan­dis­ers must come to a con­sen­sus that the first sam­ple sent to the fash­ion de­signer is a true rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the il­lus­tra­tion in the tech pack. Some­times this process re­quires two or three in­ter­nal it­er­a­tions in it­self, be­fore a sam­ple is con­sid­ered good enough to send for ap­proval.

even still, when the first sam­ple ar­rives, the first six words from the fash­ion de­signer’s mouth are (ac­cord­ing to 97% of 317 de­sign­ers in­ter­viewed over a pe­riod of eigh­teen months), “this is not what i wanted!” the real de­sign process ac­tu­ally starts at this point, be­cause the de­signer now has a ref­er­ence gar­ment to which they can re­quest changes. But to get here, al­ready be­tween twelve and four­teen work­ing days have been wasted.

What can be done to make sure that the first sam­ple that a de­signer sees is ac­tu­ally the gar­ment they en­vi­sioned? One Cal­i­for­nia de­signer, Joie Rucker, says that in her ex­pe­ri­ence whether de­sign­ing for Guess, Levi’s, or her own name-sake brand, Joie, “a sew-by is the most di­rect way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with any of my sup­pli­ers. It elim­i­nates the need for page, upon page, upon book of tech packs. A sewby is a kind of sam­ple gar­ment that a de­signer sends as a ref­er­ence (per­haps with com­ments at­tached) to a ven­dor, rather than a flat sketch and pages of tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion. Rucker con­tin­ues, “No mat­ter how long or de­tailed your tech pack is, peo­ple just don’t have the time in their day to read a book on one gar­ment, let alone many books on many gar­ments.” Since the dawn of the tech pack, the sew-by has be­come a less pop­u­lar tool, largely in part be­cause the fash­ion de­sign­ers of to­day don’t have the pat­tern-mak­ing skills re­quired to make such a thing. The de­sign­ers of to­day, largely, are fo­cused on the “look” of a gar­ment

ver­sus the con­struc­tion. Op­tions to ex­press their vi­sion may end at sketch­ing, or work­ing with a tech­ni­cal de­signer to com­mu­ni­cate their

vi­sion, which as has been demon­strated, usu­ally doesn’t work.

In New York City, the salary for a tech­ni­cal de­signer, av­er­ages around $60,000 a year, and a fash­ion de­signer av­er­ages nearly $10,000 more than that. Brands, buy­ers, and re­tail­ers are will­ing to pay for tal­ent, but how much of that tal­ent goes to waste be­cause of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the ven­dor who will pro­duce the fi­nalised de­sign?

What seems to work best in com­mu­ni­cat­ing a de­sign idea is a ref­er­ence gar­ment (whether it’s an ini­tial sew-by, or the first sam­ple it­er­a­tion from a tech pack), as­set or­gan­i­sa­tion, and face to-face col­lab­o­ra­tion. This seems to work well in Cal­i­for­nia, where com­pa­nies are ver­ti­cally in­te­grated and is­sues can be ad­dressed on the same day. But what about the rest of the in­dus­try? How does a de­signer in New York who has no pat­tern­mak­ing skills send a ref­er­ence gar­ment? How can they com­mu­ni­cate with a pat­tern­maker who lives in a time-zone twelve hours ahead of them?

The an­swer is adopt­ing lat­est 3D tech­nol­ogy tools.

Com­pa­nies like Tukat­ech of­fers pre­mium tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion sub­scrip­tions start­ing as low as $29 a month. For decades, TUKACAD sys­tems for pat­tern­mak­ing, grad­ing, and mark­er­mak­ing have given man­u­fac­tur­ers power in process en­gi­neer­ing and ef­fi­ciency. More re­cently, the TUKA3D ap­pli­ca­tion for vir­tual sam­ple-mak­ing has helped re­duce the amount of time and num­ber of it­er­a­tions re­quired to ap­prove a sam­ple for pro­duc­tion. The “new kid on the block,”

Tuka­cloud, has given ven­dors and de­sign­ers more mo­bil­ity in the sam­ple ap­proval process with vis­ual data-host­ing, sim­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and flex­i­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion on the web.

In TUKA3D De­signer Edi­tion (DE), ex­ist­ing vir­tual sam­ples are brought into the Gar­ment Builder* mod­ule, where al­ready-sim­u­lated style com­po­nents can be swapped, added, or deleted to “snap” to­gether a new sil­hou­ette. This be­comes a dig­i­tal sew-by, without the de­signer even look­ing at a pat­tern. Next, the print de­signer can use this dig­i­tal sew-by as a blank can­vas in the Print Visu­al­izer mod­ule, in which they can pre­view their own devel­op­ments. A process that is typ­i­cal even shar­ing and col­lab­o­rat­ing about the styles on Tuka­cloud*.

Founded in 1995, Tukat­ech, Inc. is the ap­parel in­dus­try’s lead­ing provider of fash­ion tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions, with teams of ap­parel in­dus­try ex­pert engi­neers world­wide. Tukat­ech of­fers pow­er­ful soft­ware and hard­ware for every process from the pat­tern-room to the cut­ting— room it’s avail­able for the pat­tern-maker to use when they re­ceive the dig­i­tal sew-by. At this point, all they need to do is au­dit the pat­tern and pre­pare it for pro­duc­tion pro­cesses.

From here, those who are al­ready es­tab­lished on TUKA3D and Tuka­cloud con­tinue their process as they have, but the first 3D sam­ple it­er­a­tion is a lot closer (if not ex­act) to what the de­signer wanted.

In TUKA3D De­signer Edi­tion (DE), ex­ist­ing vir­tual sam­ples are brought into the Gar­ment Builder* mod­ule, where al­ready-sim­u­lated style com­po­nents can be swapped, added, or deleted to “snap” to­gether a new sil­hou­ette. This be­comes a dig­i­tal sew-by, without the de­signer even look­ing at a pat­tern.

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