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How the Fashion Industry Came to Rely on CAD

Most people associate CAD drafting with engineering, architecture, and manufacturing, not high fashion. But, like many other modern industries, modern clothing companies and fashion brands now rely on computer aided design to help them design, model, and produce everything, from off-the-rack jeans and jackets to high-end lingerie.

21st Century Fashion

While the old fashioned image of the designer slaving away at a sewing machine and sticking pins into a mannequin isn’t a completely outdated one, the truth of the 21st century fashion industry is that the majority of clothing design is done using computers and virtual dummies. As 3D modeling technology has advanced and allowed for the creation of more accurate and more detailed models of the human body, clothing companies have come to rely on it more than ever to quickly create and produce their multiple yearly clothing lines.

According to Holly Beum, director of software product management at Gerber Technology, many clothing companies are expected to produce six to eight “seasons” worth of designs in order to stay current with fickle fashion trends. In order to take that many garments from their initial design stages, all the way through production in time to meet demand, clothing companies need to lean heavily on the efficiency of computer aided modeling (CAM) software. Companies who are known to make heavy use of CAM include Gap, Levi’s, Sears, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Gucci, and Eddie Bauer, along with many others.

More Accurate Models

One of the ways that CAM allows the fashion industry to create their products more efficiently is that it lets them send accurate, easily readable plans and prototypes anywhere in the world for production. Fashion industry CAD programs can be used not only to create and model patterns, but to produce highly detailed 3D models of those designs made for different sizes and body types, all with exact measurements that can easily be transferred digitally to production facilities anywhere in the world.

CAM also helps with the process the clothing industry refers to as “nesting,” which is the process of determining how best to lay out parts in order to minimize waste. Like with other industries that have turned to computer modeling to plan production of their materials more efficiently and cost-effectively, fashion industry CAM makes the production of clothing a smoother, more highly planned process. By figuring out the best way to go about manufacturing each item virtually, instead of using real-world supplies and manufacturing time, designers and companies are using CAM to save money and make their products at lower costs.

Leveling the Playing Field

CAM isn’t just used by big brands and retail chains, either. Amateur designers and clothing artisans are also using fashion design software to make their own lines of clothing, and selling them through online outlets like Etsy. Some experts also predict that consumer-grade fashion CAM will soon become commonly used in online spaces like the virtual world simulator Second Life, allowing users to design and create custom fashion designs for their online avatars.

Interested in learning more about the exciting ways that CAD/CAM is being used? Contact Q-CAD today at 800-700-3305.