In Lectra’s first in a new series of guest blogs, the company delves into the importance of creative design when it comes to fashion – an industry that places a high emphasis on first impressions.
Fashion is primarily a visual landscape. A “look” is literally about first impressions and while quality, market, price, fabrics and a long list of other components add to the brand identity, the visual dimension dominates. While a few “old-school” designers may resist the onslaught of digital technology as part of the fashion design process, it can hardly be denied that tools such as digital color matching and the integration of Adobe Illustrator (AI) into PLM add a richness and power to the creative process. The ability to easily access past designs and accurately reproduce colors from prior collections in a mass-edit or batch mode can mean a creative process that is proudly built on existing references, which are then evolved. Building off of existing blocks, both figuratively and literally, is in line with a larger change across all creative practices; that of creating, reusing and changing existent materials or styles to create a ‘new’ product.
For a certain generation, it can seem almost counterintuitive that digital tools can boost creativity. Yet what happens with a PLM platform is a great illustration of a larger creative phenomenon: sharing, sharing and more sharing. Each element is enriched by the last as the new form of creation through collaboration. For fashion designers, PLM is THE tool for this new way of creating; that is, through effective collaboration. A group of people each doing what they do best and, importantly, doing it in their preferred environment.
Having an optimized collaborative creative platform makes for a new kind of work process. The impact could result in pushing the roles and responsibilities in fashion design and development to evolve even further than they already have in the past few years.
“The best designers don’t work in a vacuum; they surround themselves with the best talent in the industry in order to have the ability to execute the line according to their vision. When brands are small, this is easily achievable. Everyone sits in the same room; you can pin, tape, pinch, drape and collaborate in real time because you are physically together all the time. This becomes more difficult to do as the line grows along with your staff. Sometimes creative leaders can end up spending more time trying to communicate what they want rather than actually creating. This can put the label at risk by making them less creative,” explains Luis Velázquez Lectra Business Consultant for Professional Services North America.
A secondary influence on creative practice from working within a PLM environment is the time saved by the software taking care of details, often administrative. This is work that designers especially do not enjoy as they enjoy as they risk drowning in data. PLM helps make sense of all of it, so that people don’t have to.
“PLM allows you to free your creative leaders from spending so much time repeating the same information over and over again, sometimes entering the same information into different systems or formats. With Lectra Fashion PLM, leaders can create their aesthetic standards once, inside of the creative tool they are accustomed to working in, and everyone else on the team gets the bits of related information they need in their own toolset instantly. This makes it faster and easier to communicate and better yet it ensures the aesthetic standard can be easily followed,” confirms Velázquez.
With the possibilities presented by collaborative platforms such as PLM, creative work is more controlled; as more information is available to define the framework in which work is done. At the same time, work can be more creative as there are more possibilities: by mixing media – merging designs like a textile print with a painting to create a mash up… or having several people working on the same project around the globe in a virtual format. New creative work flows are being defined as the potential of technology which enables this is realized, stretched and customized.