The Sustainability of Digital Fashion

CLIENT: ARD Fashion Consulting for Jenn Faux at Highlights

INDUSTRY: Commercial

SERVICES: Soft Goods

Shopping for your favorite shirt is now a quick process with the click of a button, but have you ever thought about how many test samples and time it took to achieve that perfect fit and how much waste is created in the process? Each new design created for a fashion line means a brand must make 1-3 garment samples to review the fabric, fit, and construction. This process takes a long lead time of 6 plus weeks and produces about 3 samples per design that will eventually end up in a landfill.

ARD Fashion Consulting and Jenn Faux from the kid’s magazine brand, Highlights, asked Priority Designs to help update the fit of their core t-shirt design for 34 different sizes. With current global supply chain delay issues, and the expense to recruit 34 fit models, Priority Designs’ goal was to digitally create and preview a unisex t-shirt design in all sizes for adults, children, and toddlers using a faster method with less of an environmental impact.

Digitizing Sustainable Fashion Design
Using CLO3D

CLO3D, a digital garment rendering tool created in 2010, has made strides to help the garment industry become more sustainable. CLO3D allows designers to render true-to-life 3D digital garments with real-time fabric movement and characteristics that mimic how a garment will fit the human body. With a wide range of digital textiles and different-sized avatars to fit, samples can now be made quicker in a virtual format to help expedite the sample fitting process.

With CLO3D, samples can be created in a 1-week period and require no shipping of physical materials from across the globe or recruiting models to conduct fit reviews. Utilizing CLO3D to create digital samples is a much faster and more sustainable method of developing garment designs for production. Virtual prototyping can help a brand reduce its carbon footprint and will help speed a product to market by cutting sampling costs in half.

Establishing Sizing & Creating Patterns

To define the starting sizes and measurements to accommodate a wide variety of wearer populations, Priority Designs examined current market unisex tees and tee sizes currently offered by Highlights. Our team reviewed several different market samples against standard sizing specifications (ASTM sizing data) and utilized our expertise in garment sizing to determine the best sizing formula for the North American market.

Defining this sizing data allowed us to create graded-sized patterns in our digital patterning software, Gerber Accumark. This software helped to quickly streamline the process of importing the sizing data into CLO3D and allowed for real-time pattern changes with the Highlights team to perfect fit based on their comments.

Usually, this fit review process would have a 2-week lead time to make pattern changes that are sent to a factory to create a new sample and then sent back to be reviewed again. With only a few clicks, patterns were imported into CLO3D where we digitally sewed garments together and applied them to standard-sized avatars to review for overall fit.

Digital Fit Sessions Using CLO3D Software

Our team conducted two digital fit sessions with ARD Fashion Consulting and Jenn Faux from Highlights. The digital fit review sessions allowed our teams to measure, fit, and model the shirts in a fraction of the time, all while in different locations. During the first session, our team reviewed the base size fit, movement on the body, and overall aesthetic. Using the CLO3D software, we made on-the-spot updates and corrections to the fit – such as shortening sleeves, opening the neckline, and examining different fabric options digitally to see how they would affect the fit and drape of the garment.

After the initial changes were made, we created a series of garments for all size ranges. We evaluated overall fit by displaying each size on multiple-sized avatars, without spending time and money sourcing real-life models. Can you imagine trying to get 34 different models of different sizes and genders in the same room at the same time? With that many additional resources, the project cost, physical waste, and timeline would increase exponentially.

During our second digital fit session, we used multiple fitting features quickly and efficiently in CLO3D. Within a few clicks, we reviewed the garment movement on avatars, used pressure mapping on different poses, and utilized “graded review mode” to see new adjustments to all sizes in one view.

By utilizing the 3D rendering technology in CLO3D, we created a streamlined design process, reduced costs, and improved the overall fit of the product. The ability to evaluate the fit of the garments on multiple 34 anthropometric and standard sizes allows us to feel confident in any physical sample that will be created using this data. Eliminating the need for 34+ physical samples and 6 weeks of time it takes to review each sample, the general timeline of product development has been reduced by more than half.

Grading Database and Tech Pack Creation

With the results from our digital garment renderings, we created a grading database for adults, children, and toddlers to quickly generate base sizes for future garment development. Our final renders allowed us to create a complete technical package that includes patterns that will be used to produce physical samples for future manufacturing.

Final Solution

The final solution was a full-size set of digital unisex t-shirt designs for adults, children, and toddlers. As an extra benefit, the digital garment renders allowed for graphic prints to be applied to each sized garment for fast and easy placement review. This graphic activity would normally be conducted at the end of the garment development cycle and would require another round of sample fittings; thus, increasing the time and cost of the project. With the help of CLO3D and Gerber Accumark, we eliminated the need for up to 68 physical samples and need to recruit 34 live fit models, saving significant time and money.


By utilizing the CLO3D technology, Priority Designs helped the Highlights team reduce their sampling and cost for this sizing development by 50%. Virtual fittings not only enabled us to meet faster turnaround times for the project schedule but helped us achieve Highlights’ goal of creating a universal t-shirt for multiple sizes through sustainable practices. Ultimately, the 3D renders aided the Highlights team in communication with their upper management resulting in improved communication and decision-making.

Overall, the use of virtual prototyping through CLO3D resulted in a faster turnaround time for the project, allowed for collaborative fit sessions and on-the-spot updates with the client, reduced waste from physical sampling, improved communication for Highlights internal team, and provided valuable speed to market.

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