Uncharted Territory

Hohenstein accurately determines drape using a drapemeter; an important step in achieving realistic 3D simulation of textile fabrics.

Facing a host of challenges in 2020, textile firms set forth to discover how to engage with their audience by boldly going where industry never dared to go before: the virtual world. And now, having found success online with initiatives launched over the course of the past year and into the early months of 2021, fabric suppliers are continuing to explore the digital space in a variety of ways.

Creating textiles in a visually compelling manner that is both user-friendly and industry relevant is one way forward. So, too, is digital engagement that humanizes the product, the technology, and/or the company in a modern, relatable way. Overall, presentations are improving as the fabric community gets more comfortable with digital tech and becomes more confident in transferring physical fabric features, along with brand personality, virtually.

Create a Digitized Material Library with Hohenstein

The textile testing partner Hohenstein is helping 3D designers and fabric suppliers create libraries of accurately digitized materials with a physical swatch book add-on. The material parameters, based on Hohenstein’s universal translator approach, include data needed for consistent simulation across digital design platforms. The optional swatch book, which specifies the inputs for specific platforms, allows designers to see and feel fabric samples.

“Accurate digital material parameters are often neglected but have a huge impact on realistic simulation and fit,” says Simone Morlock, head of Hohenstein’s Digital Fitting Lab. “We also recognize the value in getting your hands on the material. Even if the process is digital, these products are still being designed by - and for - humans.”

According to Hohenstein, the new service addresses the challenges caused by lack of standardization, where each 3D program requires different parameters, uses different names and units and recommends different testing kits. Hohenstein’s universal translator approach was developed during an internal research project to standardize material digitization. It analyzed the different requirements, data formats, units and results of the various 3D apparel design systems. After narrowing the test parameters to five essential textile-physical tests, the laboratory created a conversion that ensures consistent visualization and behavior across the different systems.

Designers will access digitized materials that correlate exactly to the fabrics they have chosen. The swatch books can be customized by brands or suppliers to match specific collections. With the increased adoption of digital design, suppliers are under pressure to make their fabrics available in all digital formats. For suppliers, ensuring their fabric is represented accurately, no matter what platform the customer is using, will be crucial.

Book Time at Cordura Library

The new Cordura Fabric Finder allows brands to navigate a user-friendly digital interface to view an assortment of over 500 fabrics. The digital fabric library includes images of all fabric angles, and close-up details as well as fabric content information so that partners can choose the best fabric fit for their upcoming collections as well learn about new and trending Cordura fabrics.

The Cordura Fabric Finder was designed with customers in mind says Kim Sanders, digital transformation leader for Cordura Brand. “We relied on a group of designers who provided invaluable feedback which elevated the functionality of the library to meet their needs,” says Sanders. “Today, designers and brand customers have direct access to hundreds of our certified fabrics, technical details, and our authorized mill partner network.”

Cindy McNaull, business development director, Cordura Brand, adds, “Through the launch of this virtual platform we can quickly communicate the latest in Cordura advanced fabric solutions and sustainable innovations.”

Using Fabric Finder is a snap, and available by an established brand or retailer working as a designer, buyer, or in material sourcing. The helpful videos pave the way to accessing the wide variety of fabrics “at your fingertips,” while having a “sustainable experience,” according to Cordura.

Take a Tour with Lenzing

“Looking back over the past year, there was the desire to see and talk with others — even if it was only a video conference. As we learned to adapt we noticed people were getting tired of the same video conference with talking heads,” explains Tricia Carey, Lenzing’s director global business development – Apparel.

With that in mind, Lenzing started  a “live and learn” series in November 2020 to bring the discovery process into the discussions. The series kicked off with a Lenzing Virtual Open House “Live from Austria” that featured Lenzing headquarters, a backdrop of snow capped mountains, and participation by a handful of staff members. Environmentally- responsible production of Tencel Lyocell and Modal fibers was the theme of the online event. The presentation was notable for a laid back style, with execs explaining textile processes conversationally, often with phones in hand to show the scenery — and capture the sound of the nearby rail line and trucks entering the parking lot.

Lenzing has hosted four tours of its headquarters in Lenzing, as well as virtual trips to Mexico and The Netherlands. “We plan to host more “live and learn’ this spring,” says Carey, “you just need a digital passport to go!”

By optimizing digital material parameters, Hohenstein realistically simulates texture and opacity of fabric.

Visit a Farm with Supima

Every October for the past 15 years, Supima has been inviting its brand partners from across the globe to experience the harvesting process of its American-grown extra-long staple cotton. From cotton gin to classing office to riding a cotton harvester in the fields, the annual Supima harvest celebration has been an educational program and networking event that reinforces why Supima cotton is the top one percent of the cotton produced around the world.

Covid disrupted the in-person aspect of the Symposium last year, but tours and visits were still possible. The first-ever virtual Supima Harvest Symposium was held in November 2020, billed as a “three-day, carbon-free networking and education conference” in partnership with Cotton USA and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol.

A virtual farm visit with Supima grower Jake Cauzza, Cauzza Growers as well as a virtual visit to a cotton gin hosted by Kirk Gilkey, Gilkey Enterprises were both on the agenda. The videos did a great job of blending education with entertainment.

Watch RadiciGroup Corporate Values at Play

The Italian textile firm RadiciGroup recently released a new corporate video with the collaboration and participation of Bergamo’s Atalanta football club, described as “a visual narrative of the emotional parallels between the everyday operations at the Group sites and the typical activities of a football team.”

“We have always been convinced, and in the past year even more so,” Maurizio Radici, VP of RadiciGroup, emphasizes, “that people are the wealth of a company, and their ability to get involved and work in a team, particularly during difficult times, is essential for any kind of activity to succeed.”

Hence, the idea of the video, an Oki Doki Film production realized under the creative direction of Riccardo Ciunci of the George agency, with the participation of the Nerazzurri team players.

“At RadiciGroup, we have always loved the Atalanta club,” Mr. Radici continues. “Our partnership is based on strongly shared values and community engagement. That’s why we chose Valentine’s Day to launch our video and briefly explain who we are and who our heart beats for.”

The relationship between RadiciGroup and Atalanta was established during the 2017-2018 season of the Europa League and the Coppa Italia tournaments, when the Group was the main sponsor. This year RadiciGroup has assumed an even greater role as heart sponsor, evidence of the Group’s closeness to its local communities and their passions.

To illustrate its corporate values, RadiciGroup has chosen people who work “in the field” every day.

In the video, (filmed before the pandemic) employees of the Group’s Italian companies are shown in clips shot at various company sites operating in the chemicals, fibers and engineering polymers sectors. The Atalanta players appearing in the video are: Mattia Caldara, Robin Gosens, Marten de Roon and Marco Sportiello.

Also in this issue

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Bringing Consumers into the Loop
Going Green(er)
Winning Active Endeavors
Netting Zero
Upbeat on Recycled Down
Dressing Like an Onion