3D technology is having a revolutionary impact on the product design and development process. This technology is transforming how garments are made, designed, and how businesses are operating. Apparel 3D technology increases the efficiency of additive techniques to provide a transformative effect on the product design workflow. Within the next decade, there will be an increase in 3D adoption by the apparel industry. Along with the apparel industry, there are multiple industries that are regularly using 3D technology. In this article, let’s explore the current process of product development in apparel industry and the transformations happening with 3D.  

Product Development in Apparel Industry

Creating Digital Fabrics:  

Apparel companies use different software to create digital fabrics. The designer will create the CAD file, fills fabric data, and save the file. Post saving all the data is pushed to the data management software where the data is processed to create a new fabric or modify the existing one. The system will then get updated with the new fabric data. 

With 3D technology, there will be no need for an additional system to create fabrics or manage the data. Digital fabrics can be created within the 3D software. These fabrics will have all the physics of the physical fabrics. The 3D software will have all the metadata of the fabric stored in the digital library which will be integrated with the PLM software.  

Creating 2D Pattern:  

2D patterns are required to create the 3D model. Creating a 2D pattern requires tools like Gerber, Optitex, etc. The pattern master will create the 2D pattern using the tool and upload it into the PLM software. 

2D patterns can be created in the 3D apparel design software itself. The 3D design software has all the minimal features required to create the 2D pattern.  

Creating Virtual Samples:  

The 2D pattern and all the other data are available on the PLM software. The 2D design is created using Adobe Illustrator. All this data is given to the vendors to create physical samples. Once the samples are created, the brands will test them on the mannequin and accept those that fit right. 

With apparel 3D software, there will be no need to create the proto-physical sample. Once the 2D pattern is created, the designer will create a 3D Design and add all the components like fabrics, trims, colors, pockets, zippers, etc. to create the virtual sample and test it on the virtual avatar.  

Additional Changes in 3D Product Development in Apparel Industry

  • Virtual Collaboration – Brands & Vendors can annotate the 3D Design, add comments, or attach an image in the 3D design software. Hence, there will be a more intimate collaboration between brands and vendors, increasing efficiency, and making co-creation a reality.  
  • Seasonal Line Reviews – Seasonal line reviews of the 3D assets will be done on the software. The process of reviews and feedback for the 3D assets is updated instantly on the apparel 3D design software.  
  • High-quality product images – 3D design software has the capability to generate high-quality product images that can be used for reviews and e-commerce websites. 
  • Digital Platforms – 3D technology is the foundation for the development of digital platforms like Virtual Showrooms and Metaverse.  
    • Virtual Showrooms – Getting products onto the virtual showroom is a unique way of showcasing them to visitors along with giving details about them. 
    • Metaverse – Metaverse is a platform that encourages the involvement of avatars. Creating these avatars and customizing them is possible through 3D design software.  


3D will bring new changes to Product Development in Apparel Industry. Businesses need to understand these changes, their impact on the business, and the ROIs to implement 3D in the product development process. Implementing 3D has its own advantages like releasing products faster to the market, enhancing product quality, reducing or eliminating physical samples, reducing carbon footprints, and enhancing sustainability. 3D has a long way to go and there is no excuse not to utilize this technology to its fullest.