Supported by the City of Sydney, the first pilot program for the Australian Fashion Council’s (AFC’s) FashTech Lab was conducted in 2022. It partnered fashion brands with technology partners to transition from a physical clothing sampling process to digital sampling.
The pilot was created to explore alternatives to the production of physical clothing samples, which can occur over several months to test measurements, drape, volume and fit for new garments. However, most of these samples are unsellable and end up in landfill, impacting the bottom line for brands and the environment.
The results of the first pilot program are outlined in the business case for digital sampling. By producing 30 digital samples in place of physical samples, the program delivered a 50% reduction in sampling costs, a decrease in sampling time from 12 to 4 weeks; and up to 450 metres less textile waste.
Supported by the City of Sydney, a second digital sampling pilot will operate in 2023. The participants are some of Australia’s most innovative and well known fashion brands and they include Country Road, Jac + Jack, The Upside, Manning Cartell, Jordan Gogos, Liandra Swim and Ihraa Swim.
Brands transitioning from physical to digital sampling also reported a faster time to market and the ability to test multiple sizes of a garment without producing a single physical sample. This allowed brands to improve the fit of their garments and reduce their garment fault rate due to poor fit, further reducing costs and textile waste.
“We essentially produced our garment digitally - without creating a single sample. You undertake fits and make rounds of changes digitally, then once you are happy with the sample on screen you can make a physical garment, saving rounds of samples.”
“We’ve been able to iterate quicker. It’s not so much the pattern making - as our pattern maker can whip up a pattern quickly. It’s the alterations and sampling that takes a long time, and digital sampling has really delivered in this regard.”