PI Apparel Los Angeles 2022 showcases the latest technology in the apparel industry
After the pandemic changed the nature of many businesses to embrace more virtual environments, apparel companies and manufacturers have increasingly sought out new and innovative technologies to help better serve customers and customers. PI Apparel Los Angeles 2022 took place at Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles from March 15-16, bringing together leaders from the apparel and footwear industries to discuss the challenges and technologies disrupting the industry.
After the opening remarks by Safir Bellali, senior director of advanced digital creation at V.F. Corporationwho also chaired the event, guests were able to browse the exhibit hall and attend panel discussions on 3D technologies, digital assets and virtual fit, NFTs, metaverse and Web3, sustainability, new shopping experience with AR and VR elements, and more.
“The very idea of the metaverse is important right now as many brands are trying to figure out what their presence in the metaverse should be,” Bellali said. “They understand there is an opportunity to enter the space and opportunities to have a voice. There are also financial opportunities. There are new digital markets opening up, and I think that’s going to create some really exciting changes in our industry.
During the Integrating 3D Technology Across the Whole Product Lifecycle session, Hidi Fankhauser and Christl Schad from Design work discussed how 3D technology can impact all aspects of the product lifecycle.
Fankhauser noted how 3D can save time in three different phases of a product: between designers and merchandisers, when transferring design to technical designers, and during the development phase. Using 3D technology can also reduce the length of the traditional prototype process, which can normally take three to six weeks, to just a few days depending on the type of product. Time and money are also saved during the sizing process as there is no need to create physical samples or use templates or dress forms.
A hot topic of discussion during this edition of PI Apparel was NFTs and the Metaverse. Many panels and keynotes have discussed the uses of NFTs and the Metaverse and how brands can adapt these uses to drive engagement and better connect with customers. The NFT Mechanics and Ideations session featured guest speakers Eric Holdener, CEO of Kinestryand Rachel Victor, Director of Strategic Vision and User Experience at Kinestry, who discussed ways apparel brands can enter the NFT and Web3 space.
How can we leverage more sustainable practices to increase results, market share, and consumer engagement? The panel discussed how to reconcile the high costs of manufacturing sustainable products while maintaining consumer-friendly prices. Another topic discussed was the responsibility of brands to help educate the consumer about products that are truly sustainable and not an example of greenwashing.
On day two, footwear specialist Sean Scott, who helped grow the TOM shoes, was a keynote speaker at Looking to the Future of Decentralized Manucfacuring & Local Production. Scott is the co-founder and CEO of the COMMUNITYmade brand, and he is well experienced in sourcing locally while looking out for the well-being of the surrounding community.
Scott explained the benefits of domestic manufacturing and how for so long the industry has looked at the manufacturing world the wrong way.
“Simply making a fair profit for your shareholders is not enough. And it was quite a shift in perspective for us,” Scott said. “I’m a big fan of the limits that drive creative innovation. I think it’s much more efficient. I just wanted to make the best shoes I could get for the best price, but in doing so, whether I understood it or not, I had an incentive to cut labor costs. I had an incentive to impress them,” Scott explained.
Lenny Marano, President of the Americas, Gerber & Lectra Technologylaunched the roundtable No Waste, No Hassle: Digitize Fashion Across Your Entire Value Chain to Enable Your Business to Be Sustainable and Profitable by stating that the fashion space is changing and satisfaction needs will be essential.
“We’ve heard a lot about inclusivity over the past few days, meaning being able to adapt to market needs. Customization, personalization is going to be really mandated by our customer metrics,” Marano said. “We’re going to see this continue to grow in corporate social responsibility.”
Tiffany Radon and Mark Charlton of Carhartt Inc.. guided the conversation during the Gender Relevance for Apparel Sizing & A Non-Binary Approach session. Charlton began the presentation with the title “Style has no gender”. With the Gen Z consumer, “there’s an interesting shift in removing the gender delineation,” Charlton said.
A key factor in this discussion was that non-binary clothing is less of a trend than a movement, with Gen Z making up 32% of the world’s population and having over $143 billion in US spending power.
In addition to lectures and educational sessions, the PI Apparel exhibit floor showcased some of the latest technologies to come to the apparel space, including FIT: MATCH, brown clothes, The Squad Nation, CLO, Human Solutions, VNTANA,and others.
FIT:MATCH representative Justice Jackson explained that the company’s technology enables apparel brands to provide their customers with the best-fitting products, dramatically reducing returns while driving conversion and loyalty. the brand.
“What we’re doing is monumental in the fashion industry,” Jackson said. “Essentially what we do is take the new iPhone and using their LiDAR technology to take body scans, creating an all-inclusive experience for everyone. Jackson added that the data from each scan is completely private.
Krista Lippert, Business Development Manager for Browzwear for Education (North America), explained the digital assembly line for design, manufacturing, and sales programmed into the company’s technology.
“When you create something in 3D, it can be used throughout the whole process that a designer or a brand can go through, not just the design, but also the thinking about manufacturing,” Lippert said.
The importance of digitizing the manufacturing experience is that it drastically reduces the carbon footprint of production, Lippert explained. “The whole process is done with one file, and when you get to e-commerce, what customers see, you have that same file that you can distribute to the world.”
The Squad Nation CEO Stephanie Muhlenfeld shared that connection is the lifeblood of her business. The company offers customer acquisition and partnerships for brands looking to outsource certain digital and creative aspects of their business to people under the umbrella of The Squad Nation working remotely.
“Squad Nation was built on the belief that people should be spread out and live where they want to live, giving them back responsibility and authority over their own lives – we were before the curve [COVID-19]. We already had our infrastructure configured to have a remote team.
Vice President of Business Development at 3D fashion software company CLO, Ryan Teng, explained the bridge between apparel and the future of a virtual world. “CLO is a company that strives to have a creative tool, capable of creating things in 2D and 3D and helping people make more important decisions without making physical samples.”
Representative Melinda Miller of Human Solutions, which offers body measurement data and CAD ergonomic design simulation, said the company is making sizing and fit optimization easily accessible to the apparel industry.
“I came on board because I believe in what [Human Solutions] done,” Miller said. “It’s based on science – doing technical body scans so you have a real understanding of what America looks like.”
VNTANA worked with Hugo Boss, Staud and Diesel, among others, and allows brands to easily upload, embed and share 3D and augmented reality assets. According to co-founder and CEO Ashley Crowder, “Having 3D on your e-commerce site and being able to see it, turn it, and look at it from all angles has been shown to increase conversion rates because it gives people a better understanding of the product in addition to increasing basket size and reducing returns.
John Havens, who spoke at the Business of Sustainability panel, roamed the exhibit floor and spoke with people about his campaign, Planet Positive 2030, to get people to start thinking with a more positive mindset for the earth, because simply becoming carbon neutral is not enough to start having an impact on the earth.
Alongside Havens, Gabrielle Aruta, an art gallery owner and art buyer, wanted to pair businesses with international artists to create impactful NFTs, where there is carbon offset or money can be collected through the sale of the NFT for a charitable donation on behalf of the company. “I try to match artists from marginalized communities to give them more of a platform for exposure and also to get people to think more ethically about creating NFT,” Aruta said.