He is a man of education and research. And yet he has never retreated into the ivory tower, working intensively with apparel companies, actively involving them in his projects. At least those that are ready for active collaboration. His name is Michael Ernst. His top domain: 3D systems, solutions, and requirement profiles for all clothing sectors. And if there is one expert who knows what the market is currently offering, who deals intensively with all 2D-3D software programs and works with them, then it is Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. Michael Ernst.
Yvonne Heinen-Foudeh (YH-F): With all the upcoming and necessary changes from your point of view Professor Ernst, where can apparel companies go in the short and long term? You mention innovative business models. Do you expect that completely new players will increasingly appear on the scene in the global fashion business be – it start-ups with new concepts or perhaps also the tech players – keyword GAFA – who have immense investment potential? – Creativity is certainly easier to buy than manufacturing know-how.
Michael Ernst (ME): Without question, completely new players will appear on the scene. The takeover of the Berlin start-up Fit Analytics by Snapchat or of Presize from Munich by Facebook/Meta are just two recent examples. But even on the side of tech providers for fashion, development is by no means standing still. Let's take TG3D as an example: The Taiwanese company offers a complete virtual product development portfolio with its tools ranging from body scanning, 2D-3D program, and fabric scanner to an online shopping platform with a Made To Mrsdure approach. – A flexible concept that offers a fast response to requirements.
It was the same with the now quite established provider CLO Virtual Fashion a few years ago – no one really knew the program. But then the Korean developer started its successful course – initially from the design departments and is now also firmly established in technical product development in very many companies. Browzwear is one of the pioneers and with the two programs V-stitcher and Lotta as well as numerous additional features such as plug-in control starting from Grafis – a constant in the industry and is in steady development.
These three 3D programs are stand-alone systems in a way since they do not control the 3D component from a 2D CAD system that has been very highly developed over decades, as Lectra, Gerber, Assyst, Tukatech, Optitex, etc. do. As a result, they initially appear somewhat cumbersome to the viewer who is not so deeply familiar with the subject matter, compared to stand-alone systems. But when in the end, hopefully, products have to be converted into reality, with all the info and details on cutting, grading, and a sectional view for industrial production, the true bonus of these systems becomes apparent.
YH-F: So a clear plea for holistically integrated eco-systems, to be implemented as a cross-process management issue?
ME: There's no question about it: you can see this clearly with the structures of outsourcing focused exclusively on cost reduction and where this has brought us – loss of know-how and constantly increasing dependencies.
Similar dangers threaten us with the up to the now dominant application of 3D technology: If I only want to transmit pictures and " maybe" a few dimensions to have perfectly fitting products produced as cheaply as possible, this sounds nice and easy and cool – but always presupposes the corresponding know-how on the implementation side – a kind of "mind" reading.
(to be continued….)