Material Selection and Fashion Design: There’s Got to Be a Better Way
Written By: Blake Simms

Does this sound familiar? You’re searching for a certain fabric sample that you came across from a new vendor. It had a very nice feel, and you’d like to keep it in mind for next season’s lines. But where is it now? There’s a stack of swatch books on the table over there. No, that’s not it. Could it be down in the sample room? Maybe… And the search continues, until you’re interrupted by a design colleague. She’s looking for something too. Great.


For many apparel, footwear, and fashion brands, this situation is just one of many time-consuming events that can occur around material selection. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have an excellent filing system for new fabrics and an archived library of favorites, things can still get confusing when it’s time to see what materials might work best for a new style or collection. There’s got to be a better way.


Reimagine the Material Selection Process


Imagine This: Being able to search, filter, and download from an online database to reduce time spent looking for fabric samples and manually entering data. A centralized repository of up-to-the-minute data and images, reducing the need for physical samples and swatches. Decluttering your design studio and organizing fabrics more efficiently by making your material selection from a digital library.


Imagine That: A platform that lets design and product development teams pull materials specs and pictures into 3D design programs, allowing them to change materials and colorways instantly and continuously throughout the design process.Don’t like how a certain color looks on your product? See what other options look like without having to work backwards.


Imagine the Speed:A digital visualization solution thatmakes decisions about colorways, design and material easier before you create physical or virtual prototypes. A tool that lets designers and developers test designs and improve compliance before production.


Imagine the Savings: An onlinetool that’s able to populate PLM data to give development teams line-of-sight into material costs, availability, quality and compliance issues.Getting the exact specs for every item in the bill of materials instantly.


The good news is you don’t have to just imagine these outcomes. They are delivered by a digital material visualization platformMaterial Exchangea solution developed by PTC and a diverse group of partners including Decker Brands, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, and Material Exchange Ventures AB. 


Don’t tear apart your design studio searching around for that misplaced fabric sample you saved last season. With a digital material visualization platform, you can streamline your fashion and apparel material selection process and accelerate product design and development.


Learn more about the benefits and potential use cases of a digital materials library in our on-demand webinar featuring Chris Hillyer of Deckers Brands and Brion Carroll of PTC's Retail Business Unit:

Digital Material Libraries Are Solving 3 Product Development Challenges

Tags: Augmented Reality Retail and Consumer Products Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
About the Author Blake Simms

Blake is a high-performing, results, and data-driven, strategic marketing leader with extensive international experience in B2B technology marketing, specifically enterprise SaaS, Cloud, and subscription solutions in Retail, Footwear, Apparel, GM & CPG sectors.

With a bachelor’s degree in marketing management, strategy and communications, Blake has worked for a variety of leading global organizations and supported them by developing and delivering their Go-to-Market strategy, with measurable outcomes in new ACV bookings and ARR growth.

As a Marketing Director, Blake has a proven track record of nurturing teams and building highly successful, best-in-class, innovative marketing programs from the ground up, driving real results against KPIs in the areas of lead generation and pipeline creation, brand awareness, product launches, customer engagement and retention, product marketing, communications, sales-enablement, and account-based marketing.