’It’s as if I was in a computer game. Once you know the rules, you can play for hours’, explains Design student Jennifer Droguett. This “game” is 3D virtual prototyping software developed by Lectra. Designing clothes with this technology can feel like playing a game with an avatar and is all part of the 3D Hypercraft programme at AMFI.
Last week AMFI organised the fifth Lectra Awards where nineteen students presented their work to a jury of industry professionals and Lectra representatives. The four pairs of Management students were briefed to design sportswear specifically for the bicycle brand Bio-racer. They chose their own target market and developed a concept around their individual brand. The results were shop-ready, exciting and innovative. At the start of the programme the twelve Design students were given a carte blanche within their collection concept. The only restriction was to create three outfits where prints and knits are developed. The advice being given to experiment and test the boundaries of designing in 3D simulation and they did just that.
The sentiments towards the software were all in the same vein. Initially it was met with apprehension and after a quick learning period, the world of design as we know it bursts open. Design students Shanita de Vries and Marijn Rikken commented that the ability to change patterns and colours in the blink of an eye meant that suddenly one’s designs drastically changed, and sometimes for the better. Without the software, it would take a few physical samples in order to realise the final garment, whereas now only one sample is needed. Properties of materials can be changed within the software, as well as stitch types and other important details. This means that for every virtual garment, you are able to see what it would look like and how it will drape in reality, down to the very last detail. Critics argue that technology stifles creativity, while these students argue that it enhances and validates the creative process.
When asked if this software would replace the need to learn pattern making Lectra’s Marketing Manager Isabelle Foucart states that without that critical knowledge, the virtual garment could never look as good. And it all did look very good. Prizes were awarded to students who fully pushed the boundaries of the software. Sandra Kuijpers and Ineke Siersema, both teachers at AMFI, have developed the 3D Hypercraft programme over the years and stress the value of learning software like this for young graduates. Sandra: ‘For companies such as Adidas and Nike the virtualisation of their collections is already implemented. By reducing samples they reduce costs, that’s a fact.’ Ineke: ‘Fashion companies like Dior Homme and other fashion brands are following. They will all need the 21st century designers that graduate with these 3D skills in their portfolio.
Text by Jade Wilting, 2nd year International Fashion & Management student.