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Transitioning from physical to digital sampling

AFC’s FashTech Lab helps Australian fashion brands transition from physical to digital sampling and the results from the first pilot program are in, with participants reducing sampling costs by 50% and sampling time from 12 weeks to just 4 weeks.

by The AFC

2 March 2023

Supported by the City of Sydney, the first pilot program for AFC’s FashTech Lab was held in 2022 to help fashion brands transition from a physical clothing sampling process to digital sampling. The outcomes included significant reductions in sampling costs, sampling time and textile waste.

Compelling pilot program outcomes

Participants in the first pilot program included Bianca Spender, Cue, Daniel Avakian, Eupheme, Matteau, West 14th, Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp and Palasade and they were supported by world-leading technology partners Style Atlas, Bandicoot Imaging, Ponz Studios, Couture Cad, Neuno and Ordre.

By producing 30 digital samples in place of physical samples, the brands reported:

• 50% reduction in sampling costs
• Decrease in sampling from 12 weeks on average to 4 weeks
• 225 metres of textile waste eliminated
“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.” - Matteau

Additional learnings

While brands in the pilot program relied on one final physical sample before confirming production, as brand confidence in digital sampling grows, this sample would eventually be removed. When combining digital sampling with circular business models like made-to-order production, digital sampling could see brands significantly reducing the number of samples sent to landfill.

Brands reported an improved time to market and the ability to test multiple sizes of a garment without producing a single physical sample. This is a critical benefit that allows brands to improve the fit of their garments and reduce their garment fault rate due to poor fit, further reducing costs and textile waste.

Brands were also impressed with the realism of digital fabrics compared to physical fabrics, and the factors which influenced the adoption of digital sampling technology include the size of the organisation and the current systems in use.

A second pilot in 2023 is confirmed

The AFC is excited to announce FashTech Lab will be returning in 2023, once again supported by the City of Sydney. Joining the digital transformation journey will be Australian Fashion certified brands including Jordan Gogos, The Upside, Commas and Jac + Jack.

For the first time in Australia, brands participating in the second program will get access to an environmental footprint calculator developed in the UK, to allow them to quantify the water and carbon saved from eliminating physical samples.

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