What is a digital fabric?
A digital fabric is a representation of a physical fabric that can be used in a 3D design environment, such as Browzwear or CLO3D. Sometimes called digital twins, digital fabrics must reflect the visual and physical characteristics of their real-life counterparts—having the same drape, weight, and texture, and behaving the same under light and in motion.
To do this, digital materials consist of two components:
A set of measurements describing the fabric’s physical properties, often referred to as physics. These are taken using proprietary testing kits or offered as presets in 3D design software.
A set of images of the fabric’s surface, often referred to in digital product creation (DPC) as the texture. This is usually derived from a high-quality scan of the physical fabric.
Why are digital fabrics important?
Digital fabrics offer the fashion industry many advantages. As part of digital product creation workflows, digital fabrics allow designers to iterate and visualize new styles much faster than traditional physical sampling allows. Tech designers and patternmakers rely on accurate physics measurements to begin fitting garments in 3D before a physical prototype is ever made.
This has allowed many companies to greatly reduce physical sampling, thereby decreasing waste and time to production, and conserving resources associated with manufacturing, shipping, and storing garment samples.
Beyond the Design Process
Once digital prototypes are made, they can also be used for other purposes beyond the design process, from sales presentations to consumer marketing.
Cotton in Digital Product Development
Cotton is a vital part of many fashion and textile products. As such, it’s important to be able to work with accurate, reliable cotton fabrics in the most popular 3D garment design tools on the market.
That’s where CottonWorks™ comes in. As a free industry resource, we can equip designers with a constant influx of new cotton fabrics for inspiration and/or direct application into product lines. New developments from the FABRICAST™ collection, Cotton Incorporated’s inspirational cotton and cotton-rich fabrics, are made both digitally and physically.
Registered users can download a digital fabric and find that fabric’s specifications—a path to manufacturing the cotton fabric you want based on the inspiration provided. For those working directly in 3D software, our digital fabrics are individually measured in both CLO and Browzwear physics testing kits to provide the most accurate representation of the fabric.
Digital Garment Renderings vs. Actual Garments
Augmented Reality (AR)
The digital fabric library offers the ability to view fabrics in augmented reality (AR), which overlays a 3D model of the fabric into your physical space using a smartphone. This function can help you quickly visualize the appearance and scale of the fabric before you download it.
To use the AR feature, navigate to a FABRICAST™ fabric you’re interested in on your desktop or tablet, select the 3D icon below the image, and click “View in AR” at the top left.
Scan the QR code with your smartphone’s camera and then point the camera at an empty spot on the floor. Move the camera around the room and the model will appear in your viewer.
You can resize, rotate, and move the model around the room to see the fabric in your lighting conditions.
Explore the Digital Collection