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Mary McFadden Takes Vintage to a New Level: 3D


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In this featured advertorial, WhichPLM readers are able to discover how Gerber Technology has partnered with Charlotte Smith, a collector of rare vintage clothing, to explore the potential of 3D for The Darnell Collection 2015.

Charlotte Smith of Sydney, Australia has a groundbreaking plan for The Darnell Collection 2015. This collector of rare vintage clothing, and storyteller about the authentic and timeless materials used to create it, has evolved her collection’s concept entirely. To blaze a trail for today’s designers who appreciate the classic styles of clothing, Smith partnered with Gerber Technology’s Mary McFadden.

Mary was able to make Smith’s dream a reality, catapulting her into the 3D-world and exploring the potential of taking 250 years of fashion to the 21st century.

“The Darnell Collection is important on so many levels, but perhaps the highest being its role in bringing the true art of fashion to life. It serves as an inspiration, and allows us to delve into the past and bring details and ideas to the present in a new and exciting way,” said McFadden, who is executive director, CAD Product Management, with Gerber.

The process of converting these garments to a computer generated dress for a 3D avatar yields astonishing results. Being vintage and highly constructed, some with corsets, yards of fabric and even boning, the dresses that McFadden 3D-rendered were a challenge.

“I was almost afraid to touch them at first because they were so delicate,” said McFadden. “But the authentic 1960s cotton and silk organdie party dress that I was working with was so fabulous that I set my reservations aside and got to work.”


With these garments being older and fragile, there were unique steps taken. 3D rendering vintage garments requires attention to lots of small and specialized details in order to make sure that fabric is as flowing and life-like in the digital world, as it is in person.


“I knew that this would be an extraordinary project, and Mary rose to the occasion and completely surpassed even my highest expectations. To be able to collaborate and further extend the Darnell Collection’s role as a large design resource was amazing,” said Smith.

Using AccuMark® Silhouette™, McFadden was able to actually trace the finished garments using an advanced stylus. After drawing lines around the entire piece in detail and connecting many dots, she took pictures of the original fabric and used these as fill to reproduce the details in the fabric on the computer. McFadden then pulled the piece up on the AccuMark screen and fit the garment to an avatar, allowing us to see the dress in 3D through this state-of-the-art simulation system.

This year, Gerber Technology’s ideation2015 recognizes The Darnell Collection, a tribute to classic fashion, as it hosts a design competition for college students studying fashion design, with the theme, “Everything has changed, but one thing hasn’t.” Working with dresses spanning the course of five decades, students were asked to submit garments inspired by any elements of the original dresses. There will be a fashion show at ideation2015 (Oct. 29-30) in which the finalists will show their creations, many of them newly 3D-rendered by Mary McFadden.

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.