Home Guest blogs The Emergence of a Hybrid Business Model: Visual Communication, the Power of 3D

The Emergence of a Hybrid Business Model: Visual Communication, the Power of 3D


In this series, we have seen the importance of collaboration and a design-to-cost approach.   In this, the third in their series of guest blogs, Lectra continues to discuss how the emergence of hybrid business models is changing the landscape of fashion from. Here, the company focuses on how 3D technology has radically transformed the product development process. 

The pace of demand for newness has accelerated to a rate that is difficult to address with traditional technology and process models. Consumers want new products as fast as they can think of them and always for less money. Luckily, technology is also evolving and innovations in design and development solutions, like 3D virtual prototyping and virtual fitting, support the ability to respond to consumer demand with faster production to give companies the control and flexibility they need to stay competitive.

A common visual language

Lectra’s 3D solution builds bridges between departments and offers a new way of working that allows all the departments involved in making a product to work closely together from the first simulation. To say it simply, with 3D technology, companies share a common visual language for each actor involved in the process—from design to pattern-making to marketing to suppliers.


With 3D technology designers, pattern makers, sales, marketing and other teams can now view a virtual prototype at any point in the design and development process.

By allowing design to see how product development has interpreted their ideas, the two teams can visualize the same product in real time to make style or fit decisions before making a physical sample of either the fabric or the garment itself. Styles can be viewed before materials are ordered, and with advanced pre-production tools that connect design and manufacturing, pre-costing is more accurate—and easier—than ever before. In this case, a 3D technology integrated into a holistic process provides a way of sharing information much more efficiently than individual efforts would.

Ensuring Fit and Consistency

Prototyping is one of the most expensive and time-consuming phases of product development. Traditionally, three, four or even more prototypes were needed to validate style and fit. With 3D technology, intermediary paper and fabric prototypes are eliminated, saving a physical prototype for final validation, where it is needed most. Pattern makers can directly visualize entire size ranges on screen, from the smallest to the largest sizes, which contributes to more accurate finished patterns. The product development teams can also adjust silhouettes on screen and check the smallest of details at once. That way, fashion and apparel companies can safely send their garments to production and address customer needs quickly, or develop their own branded garments.

All this improves communication, which is crucial to fostering collaboration and space for the creativity that ultimately defines a company’s value in the eyes of its customers.

What better, faster and simpler way to share concepts between the product team and pattern makers in order to keep up with their growing business?

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.