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Hacking 3D Fashion Design: tips to master digital fashion

By Partner


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Credits: Digital Assets created by Stitch 3D in-house fashion designer Fayette van Dijck

Learning to design digital fashion in 3D can be overwhelming for any fashion designer. You need to figure out where to start, choose a software and learn how to use it. Then develop a workflow for all the 3D tools you will need depending on if you are creating digital-only or if it's going to the manufacturer. It's a lot and you don’t always have the time to do it all while launching a new collection every season.

If you are already using 3D design tools to create garments for your brand, you know it’ll get easier the more you work with these softwares. The learning curve is steep but can get more manageable if you are consistent and incorporate best practices while creating a new workflow.

Upgrading 2D into 3D is easier said than done if you don’t have the right guidance. So we asked our 3D design wizards at Stitch 3D what hacks make the difference in their daily routine to share it with you.

You can see the hacks in action in this video from our Stitch Academy library:

Work on your Digital Mindset first

"3D design tools offer a completely different creative experience if you’re open about what you can accomplish with it," says Fayette van Dijck, in-house 3D fashion designer at Stitch 3D. The moment you start creating within the digital mindset, there comes the epiphany: if everything is possible in 3D, why should we limit ourselves to old arrangements?

Instead of copy-pasting 2D processes into 3D design tools, the hack is to think digitally. Remember that if you are staying digital, you're not restricted to real life physics. You can manipulate its behavior to create the desired simulation in the digital space, like the bow in our Met Gala digital dress.

And if the design process gets too complicated, rethink, refresh and restart. What does it mean? Rethink the problem you are facing. If you're struggling with the lining, think again if it’s necessary for the outcome you're planning. Then refresh your thoughts, go for a walk (in real life or virtually) and look for some inspiration. Search for other ways to do it, reframing the problem. And restart the process with a fresh point of view. Maybe you don't need a lining at all.

Credits: Digital Assets created by Stitch 3D in-house fashion designer Fayette van Dijck

Choose your Fashion Battles

In 3D design, there are always different ways of doing the same thing. There is no right or wrong. But the hack here is: be wise and choose your - fashion - battles.

"Picking your battles means being smart about your time. Only work on the elements that will be visible in the end," says Rebekka Seyffarth, 3D transformation specialist at Stitch Academy.

Not everything you need for a garment physically is required digitally. When creating for manufacturing, you will need to keep it realistic and detailed to be production ready. But when designing for digital-only, you can make different choices and focus your time on going beyond the physical constraints of real-life fashion.

In the Met Gala dress video, we could have drawn the skirts including the lining and elements like zippers and buttons. But why, if it's not visible and it's for digital-only use?

Ask yourself "is it worth the time to create everything by myself?" There are few parts you can leave out of your digital creation and have an equally stunning result.

Credits: Digital Assets created by Stitch 3D in-house fashion designer Fayette van Dijck

Fake it until you make it

Just because you can do everything in 3D yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to. When all you need is a 3D garment with a realistic look, fake it until you make it!

Learn how you can explore the softwares libraries, and build your own as well. Save useful digital garments and accessories, textures and fabrics, and you can create wonderful things on top of it. No need for reinventing the wheel.

For the Met Gala dress, van Dijck started from a previously designed dress from her Stitch library on VSticher. Upon that model, she changed the fabric, adjusted the patterns and added more elements to create the glamorous visual she was looking for.

Another example of good fakes is the bow on the back of the Met Gala dress. Creating an element like that in 3D demands a lot of time reproducing volume, folds and the general aspect of a real life bow - which is already difficult to create. If you just need a realistic representation, you can break it down into different elements and manipulate the fabric's physics to recreate the expected visual.

From material development to realistic avatars, the opportunities in 3D fashion design are endless. Think where you want to go and if you need guidance, our Stitch Academy team is here to help.

About Stitch 3D and Stitch Academy

Stitch 3D is a digital platform for fashion brands to upskill their teams and scale creative and production processes beyond 3D design. To help the brands with their educational purposes and to train people for the future of our industry, came the Stitch Academy. Our team of transformation experts guide designers and fashion professionals on how to embrace a 3D mindset and adopt smart processes and workflows. We’ve upskilled hundreds of users across brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Scotch & Soda. Want to learn more about Stitch 3D and Stitch Academy? Access our website.

Digital Fashion
Stitch 3D