In today’s guest article, Twine Solutions Ltd discusses the role of the creative in the near-term future. Twine is revolutionizing the textile industry by changing thread dyeing to a digital, clean, in-house, on-demand production.
Much has been said about fast fashion, with its unsustainable production processes and the lack of variety seen in the stores. Walking through the different high streets of London recently, I couldn’t help but notice how similar all of the clothing looked: the designs, cuts and colours.
It’s true that sourcing materials, designing, sampling, manufacturing, and marketing and selling products is a difficult and costly challenge. But this challenge is becoming a call to action for the creatives to increase their skills beyond the traditional cut and sew skill set, and learn the new tools entering the industry, to bring more sustainable and efficient methods, and add more colour and aesthetic designs into our closets. Creatives are facing an exciting future, where they can finally realise what they imagine into reality in extremely short time.
We will see designers immersing themselves in their 3D design software, of which there are already a number to choose from. In these virtual environments, they will shape their designs accurately to size, choose from libraries of materials and textures that will be realistically rendered and simulated to match the look and behavior of real materials, and have extensive colour palettes to choose from. Designers will still sketch, collect scrapbooks, and use other traditional tools, but it’s in the 3D virtual environment where their imaginations will flourish.
The greatest part of it will be that designers will be able to match what they imagine in the virtual environment with the real world. The textile materials they design with in their software will match the materials they will make their products with. Designers will enjoy using new materials emerging, for example, bamboo, hemp, lab grown textiles, improved synthetics and many more. Knowing and working with a variety of materials will allow designers more power to satisfy the growing demand for sustainability from their customers.
Designers will take joy in seeing their items produced soon after design, working with production facilities, or micro-factories, in their local regions. They will utilize various, more readily available digitally controlled machinery to manufacture at affordable costs, even at low volumes. These facilities will have the production expertise, but armed with knowledge of how the various tools operate, with the patterns they export from their design software, designers will be able to direct the production to match their designs exactly.
A designer will be able to walk through the woods, see an inspiring pattern in the natural environment, take a photo on their phone, use that image to design that pattern in their 3D software, transfer that design to a textile printer and produce fabric ready for a digital cutting machine to produce the cuts accurately ready for immediate sewing. This digital interfacing will add the same freedom for designers across all techniques including embroidery, knitting and weaving.
Through this process creatives will maintain contact with their customers, even at the design stage. They will share their 3D rendered designs online, receiving immediate feedback from their followers before progressing to production.
We all know the internet has already changed the face of fashion. Online sales are expected to grow to upward of 30% by 2022. Designers will be able to interface their new tools with the ever-growing online environment to sell their products and then manufacture them. Their customers will have their individual sizes in their profiles, and with a digital body double, or ‘virtual mirror’, and be able to ‘try on’ the designers’ products immediately, either in shops or in the comfort of their own homes.
These customers are growing in their demand for personalization, more functionality, and longer lasting sustainable materials. The digital tools the designer will interact with will all be needed to satisfy this demand.
This requires removing one of the biggest limiting factors in the textile industry: colour.
Playing a crucial role in fashion, colour is also central to the work of creatives. Until today it is a huge limiting factor for designers in fashion and textiles. Restrictions imposed by traditional dye houses with overly large order requirements limit the numbers of colours decided on by the fashion world for upcoming seasons, causing huge costs in logistics across the industry, the environment and even to the variety of designs.
Digitizing the dyeing process will remove this limitation. A digital thread dyeing system gives designers control over the most basic component of their products – the thread or yarn.
Dyeing systems digitally dye white or raw polyester thread in any colour, on-demand, ready for immediate use. Because the dyeing process is digitally controlled, the designer is now free to choose any colour of thread, accurately for the sewing, embroidery or knitting of products, immediately and in the precise amount needed.
With digital thread dyeing, designers will also be able to design their thread with multiple colours or colour gradients on a single thread. Such a system will be part of the digital tool set that their manufacturers will offer. From their design software, designers can link directly to PLM tools, and go to production in the quantities they choose, on-demand, and finally offer real personalization and fresh designs to their customers.
The combination of digital dyeing with all the innovations and other digital tools being developed for fashion and textiles, provide the brands and manufacturers more efficient and true sustainable solutions for producing products. It’s the creatives that must drive this change to a more aesthetic and varied product range to meet customer demands.
It’s upon the creatives to enrich themselves with this amazing array of knowledge and new tools, and combine them with their talent to brand themselves individually, so that even the big brands will have to stand up and take notice. They will have growing power to make fashion more personal, more sustainable, and cause us to enjoy aesthetically pleasing designs on a more regular basis.
Images within this article – Designer: Stav Ofman; Photography: Ofir Abe; Model: Stav Ben Yoel for Say Talent