How 3D digital samples can change the fashion industry
Dutch fashiontech startup The Fabricant and Scandinavian sportswear brand Peak Performance share insights on what can reduce fashion brands’ carbon footprint by up to 30 percent.
11 Mar 2021

The Fabricant was established in 2018 by Kerry Murphy and Amber Slooten, with a mission to bring digital transformation to the fashion industry.

— At that time, it was the last creative industry to embrace digitization and the change was long overdue. If you looked at film, music, or photography, the transition to digital practices was already a huge and growing part of every industry, tells Michaela Larosse, Head of Communications.

— We’re now a world-leading digital fashion house, which means we create 3D digital garments and fashion narratives that are entirely non-physical, which exist only in the digital space. There are two strands to our business: our own fashion house and label, which creates digital couture. Our garments will never exist in the real world, and they allow wearers to express themselves through fashion beyond the limits of the physical environment. The second part of our work involves collaborating with established physical brands to bring them into the digital fashion space, so they can participate in and benefit from this innovative and evolving sector of the fashion industry.

One of the latter is Peak Performance, where VP Operations, Nikol Rakic, shares how 3D’s been in their heads for some time.

— And during the crisis it became obvious to us that we needed to move faster than our roadmap suggested. We ended up finding a great partner in The Fabricant and a great project team who pushed us hard to develop our last collection in 3D, a powerful asset to support our selling process. Why we partnered with them? Easy, cultural match and the aspiration to change habits together, fast.

Michaela Larosse, what have you two done together?

— Digitized a large part of Peak Performance’s FW21 collection, helping to streamline its marketing processes, eliminate unnecessary carbon impact, and build in the ability for faster, more agile decision making on colours and fit. Our project mainly involved working with them to create 3D digital samples and a base of highly crafted digital marketing assets which they can build on. Peak Performance credits the approach with allowing it to reduce several key resources: energy, water consumption, time, and cost. A study by Imperial College London found that these kinds of digital interventions can reduce a fashion brand’s carbon footprint by up to 30 percent.

Nikol Rakic tells how Peak Performance has received a lot of positive feedback on the assets, as well on the ability to modify and transform them quickly. 

— It is not an easy roadmap; it has been a lot of work, but we’ve learned a lot. All this new knowledge will be incorporated into our processes going forward. I strongly believe we have inspired others to use this technique to become more sustainable.

Will you develop the cooperation further onwards?

— Absolutely, we will continue to work together on future collections. The plan is to add more styles in 3D for each season. Together, the two of us have already started to think about how we can take it to the next level and truly incorporating 3D in our creative process, right from the start. For example, we want to develop our avatar and sketches for future seasons; making it possible to open a product and look inside. We want to push ourselves, which hopefully will open up new ways of working, adding speed, and agility to our processes. Imagining the future before we create it! says Rakic.

— Our collaboration, The Fabricant’s Larosse tells, enables the continued development of digital methods across its supply chain, allowing it to further instill sustainable practices throughout its operations, and benefit from the associated gains. Our wider mission is to enable a cultural transition across the fashion industry towards digital garments being an instinctive part of their offering. From our perspective as 3D specialists working at the intersection of fashion and technology, we envision a world where digital garments replace physical inventory when possible, particularly when self-expression is conducted via a screen. Digital spaces open the door to new ways to experience fashion, and that journey has only just begun for the industry.

How can you and your service drive change in the fashion industry?

— Through our 3D digital projects and the clear benefits they bring to brands, such as engagement with new audiences, new revenue streams, sustainability, hyper-real marketing assets, and the opening of new creative avenues, we’ve paved the way for an entirely new sector of digital fashion. The possibilities of the digital space are immense, and with every new project we’re demonstrating to the wider fashion world what can be done to build a more resilient, innovative, and less wasteful industry suitable for the 21st century and beyond, says Larosse, continuing,

— Our work is pretty diverse, as inevitably in a space that is under evolution many of the projects we participate in have never been done before and are groundbreaking in some way. To give you a snapshot of what our team is doing right now: we’re collaborating with footwear brand Buffalo London on its first-ever digital sneaker, to help evolve its business model towards including digital items; creating a blockchain-enabled digital garment with Atari that is used in gaming and other digital environments, and running a 3D design competition in collaboration with adidas and supermodel Karlie Kloss to empower new talent in the tech space.