Transitioning From Physical to Digital Sampling – a Local, Optimistic Brand Journey

New Optimist is merging technological innovations with local design and production to create a more sustainable future for fashion. With the use of 3D software, New Optimist is able to make the transition to digital sampling and eventually sell on demand using 3D generated styles. This project was initiated to overcome challenges that we face as small local producers but the opportunities go far beyond cost and waste reduction. The jump from physical to digital sampling is the first foundational step in this project. 

Shout out to our brilliant team including: 3D consultant Dominic Sluiter, technical designer Olga Vokalova, multidisciplinary designer and content creator Diane Wallinger and New Optimist’s very own designer Giulia Verona. Together, we are continuously working to move beyond traditional fashion production. Our motivation in entering the digital world is clear. As local producers, New Optimist has the ability to integrate 3D tools as a means of creating a more efficient workflow. Xander Slager, co-founder of New Optimist, initiated this project with the end goal to skip the physical sampling process and to be able to produce small runs from virtual samples. 3D imaging that accurately translates material characteristics, stitching and garment fit are key elements to this digital process. With these innovative tools, New Optimist is able to design virtually as well as produce on demand, without excess. Slager has a clear vision on the opportunities that lay ahead in 3D design, “The fashion supply chain has been driven by volume and price almost entirely. Due to this, it has become the standard to produce far away and long ahead. The model has overshot its mark: continuous sale of oversupply, bad planning of merchandise and even destruction of goods unsold. 3D design has the potential to change this and enable new business models.” After one year in operation, New Optimist is ready to dramatically save time and material resources in design development by transition to digital sampling. 

How does it work? The translation of New Optimist designs into the digital form allows decision making to happen without needing to physically stitch anything. Sewing can now be done on screen. It all starts with the digitization of every element that makes up a New Optimist garment. Our garment ingredients are currently being physically scanned and tested so they can be imitated on screen. As we wait for the results of this process, Olga is busy working on the digital crafting and fitting of three New Optimist styles into blocks. Blocks are standard patterns that can be used in the construction of future designs. From there, the team will hand off the 3D generated samples and patterns to production who will stitch the garments using this new system of directions and asset organization. And this is just phase one of the project.

If you are interested in learning more about where the team is heading next, we invite you to the first of a series of events for a deep dive into the world of 3D fashion design and sampling. Through these participatory meetings, we will bring you along on our journey of merging technological innovation and local production. For more information on these workshops please visit this link. You can stay up to date on this project and other things that we do by following our social platforms, or by subscribing to our newsletter our newsletter.

At New Optimist, we see a bright, positive and optimised future in the merging of physical and digital craftsmanship. Join us on this exciting journey! 

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