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  • Mikelle Drew

Will 3D Fashion Sketches replace Flat Sketches?

Will 3d fashion design software replace illustrator for fashion design?
Will 3d fashion design software replace Illustrator?

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We’ve been talking a lot about 3d clothing design and 3d fashion design software, but the question is, “Will 3d sketches replace what I’m doing in Illustrator?”

There’s been a lot of discussion about 3D fashion design software. I've even done some YouTube videos about it as well as some Browzwear video tutorials on YouTube, but for all of us who normally use Illustrator for our fashion sketching, you might be wondering, “Is 3D fashion design software like Clo3d or Browzwear going to replace flat sketching in Illustrator?”

Good question, and my answer is “That depends”.

I think it’ll come down to your business model and what your goals are. It’ll also come down to whether you are working in corporate, you have your own brand, or you’re a fashion freelancer.

Working in Corporate

So if you’re a student or a designer planning to work for an established brand, there are a few things you’ll need to consider:

  1. timing,

  2. company size, and

  3. company initiatives and vision.


3D fashion design is still pretty new in the industry. People are beginning to adopt it, but fashion is notoriously slow to adopt new technology. There may be some acceleration because of COVID, but there’s still going to be a bit of a lag with most companies.

So, if you are getting into the fashion industry NOW at the time of this posting, you’d still want to be sure you’re well versed in using Illustrator. For any design job you’re looking for, you’ll still see people looking for that skill.

Young female pointing to technology hologram.
Always be looking toward the future of fashion.

I always recommend that designers look ahead and keep up with what’s happening in the industry, but if you are looking for work right now, you still need to know Illustrator.

I would suggest, however, that you learn to use 3D fashion design software. It’s definitely coming. I mean, it’s here . . . , and you want to be able to learn it while you can leisurely do it rather than when you are forced and under pressure to learn.

The other thing you want to be aware of is that many companies are training their tech design departments to work in 3D, not apparel design teams, at least not at first. So many times, the apparel designers are still handing off a flat sketch and/or tech pack to the tech department, then, the tech department is making a pattern in the 3D fashion design software; then, the apparel design team is coming back into the picture to aesthetically approve the first 3D fit sample. So the apparel design team is still initially working in Illustrator to sketch their designs.