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  • Writer's pictureMikelle Drew

Where does 3d fashion design software fit?

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

How does 3d fashion design software fit?
How does 3d fashion design software fit?

Jump to a video version of this blog.

I’ve been having a lot of discussions about 3d fashion design software, and for good reason. It’s the future of fashion design!

But there’s some confusion around how and where it fits into design development.

I want to go over how and when to incorporate 3d fashion design software because not everyone is incorporating it into their workflow right away, like from the beginning of ideation, and you don’t have to.

Now, there are some who will get into CLO3d or Browzwear (or some other 3d software) right out of the gate. And if you’re using something like CLO3d, I can see that. CLO has tools that make it simple for you to just play with design lines and digitally drape your ideas. So, I can see that. I don’t really recommend it, but I can see that.

Here’s what I DO recommend:

Start with rough sketches of your ideas.

And I know I’ve stated this before. Most of the time, designer’s start their design development with quick, rough sketches or even an Illustration. This is also the time you’ll be doing the most sketches of the season because you’re just getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper (or a digital canvas).

Women sketching a new fashion design with pencil and paper.
Start with drawing rough sketches of your ideas.

And because you’re just experimenting and free flowing, unedited ideas, you want to do this using a method that allows you to get those ideas out of your head as quickly as possible. I talked about digital options to do this part of your development in a previous YouTube video, but honestly, pencil and paper is just fine if that works best for you.

Walk away.

Then, walk away for awhile. And I know this can sometimes be hard to do, especially for students who are just trying to get a project done. But stepping away from your designs can help you get much more clarity. You know how some people will say, “Sleep on it” when you’re trying to make a big decision? Same idea.

So when you come back to your designs, you may see things differently or you couldn’t see the common thread that was adding cohesion to your collection and now you can. And now you can start to edit and decide which styles make the most sense for your seasonal concept and which are most cohesive.

Start sketching in Illustrator.

Now that you’ve edited, it’s time to start putting your designs into Illustrator. And I want to be very clear about this because I didn’t realize until recently that a lot of people were trying to design in Illustrator.

Do NOT do that!

You will NOT make good use of your time that way.

Approach Illustrator with a plan. You know what styles you plan to move forward with, and this is not to say you won’t rework or revise or do versions of your designs while you’re sketching, but make sure you’re not in Illustrator starting from scratch.

The nice thing, I think, about sketching in Illustrator is that now you really have to think about the actual design, how it’s constructed, and what you really want. And that’s a great exercise for all designers because you’re going to be the one to dictate the information that goes into your tech pack (even if you’re not the one actually filling it out). And so this is when you get to work out your ideas and make decisions about what’s best for the product.

A female designer working with he male assistant.
Even if someone else is doing your tech pack, YOU need to give them the information.

Complete the tech pack.

So, after you do your sketch, you’ll complete your tech pack, and I’ve created several other videos about tech packs as well as a course, so if you want to know more about tech packs, you can check out my YouTube channel or visit this page to sign up for the course.

Now, some of you skip the illustrator step and go right to 3d fashion design software, and whether you decide to do that or not depends on your business model or the workflow and software used by the company you’re working for.

To 3D or NOT to 3D fashion design.

For many designers in the corporate space, because a pattern is required to create a 3d rendering:

  • the designer hands off a tech pack to the technical design team (or a 3d team),

  • that team works in the 3d fashion design software (most likely Clo3D or Browzwear) to create an initial rendering of the designer’s sketch, and then,

  • the designer gets re-involved and works with the technical designer to approve the aesthetics and fit before a physical proto is requested.

If you’re an independent brand or fashion freelancer, you may choose to take a similar approach or if you are using 3d fashion software, skip Illustrator completely and use the software to create a 3D visualization directly from your rough sketch. And you’ll work out the remaining construction details as you create your digital drape of the garment.

adding buttons to a garment in the CLO 3D fashion design software

And corporate, indie designers and fashion freelancers may all create colorways and 3d CADs of the design that can be shared with the company’s business unit and even buyers.

Screenshot of creating a peacock print repeat and adding it to a jacket on CLO3D

So there’s a few ways you can incorporate 3d fashion design software. If you work for a corporate brand, your workflow will probably be decided for you. But if you work for yourself, you get to decide which method will work best based on the services or designs you currently offer your clients and customers.

But the one thing, I really want to stress is whether you continue to use Illustrator or go straight into 3d (or don’t use 3d at all just yet), you always want to make sure that you move to use 3d fashion design software (or Illustrator) with a plan. Have an idea first of what you’re going to do so that you can make efficient use of your time.

If you ready to learn and start using CLO3D, sign up now for my beginner CLO3D for the Fashion Designer online course.

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