Apparel's Tech Conference: Suppliers Address Speed to Market (Event Outlook)


Apparel's 2004 Tech Conference will feature new technologies for applications ranging from RFID to 3-D pattern development to textile stain resistance.

The event, taking place Nov. 11 at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, is produced by Apparel magazine in conjunction with [TC]2, the Textile/Clothing Technology Corp. and FIDM. Admission is free to apparel manufacturers and retailers.

Highlights will include more than 25 educational sessions presented by 14 suppliers to the apparel industry. There also will be tabletop displays and technology demonstrations offered by these 14 suppliers, plus another 10 suppliers, ranging from vendors of retail software to thread to quality testing services. Participating suppliers are sponsors of the event.

Tabletop displays will offer a wide range of demonstrations. OptiTex reports it will present a sneak preview of some 3-D animation technology that is "the next thing coming" for the apparel industry, as well as an early look at its new PDM solution. The firm also will preview version 10 of its design and pattern-making suite, which has a focus on decreasing file size. In addition, OptiTex will show its latest textile design solutions for working with 3-D designs and turning them into 2-D patterns, as well as for achieving more realistic looks in the visualization of fabrics.

Among other programs, PAD System Technologies will demonstrate its new 4D Box program for fabric design. An alternative to using non-industry-specific programs such as Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator, 4D Box automatically generates knitting and weaving instructions from designs.

Cotton Incorporated will share details about the development of 100 percent cotton fabrics that repel water and stains. The organization developed a special construction, processing technique and finish formulation for 10-ounce cotton canvas that has passed water- and stain-repellency tests. Information also will be shared related to stain-repellent knits. Cotton Incorporated also will highlight new findings relating to ozone washing of water- and stain-repellant garments. It reports that ozone washing, an alternative to the use of stones and chemicals for achieving a wash-down look, offers advantages such as a reduction in water and chemical usage, processing time and fabric degradation.

On the RFID front, Avery Dennison Retail Information Services will have a range of RFID labels on hand to show Tech Conference attendees. The company will demonstrate the operation of its new 64-05 RFID printer/programmer, and describe how the printer can be used as part of its RFID "Starter Kit" to help apparel businesses ramp up quickly with RFID. The firm also will discuss its new RFID Ticket Express service (see "Product News" in this issue for more details on this offering).

Porini will demonstrate its integrated suite of software applications, including solutions for PDM, ERP and supply chain and business intelligence management. Kirk Feldman of Porini USA says a focus will be on how the systems can improve speed to market, streamline operations and enable better visibility and decision-making.

Tech Conference Presentations

Here is a listing of presentations that will be offered by sponsors of Tech Conference 2004.

3-D Scanning of Fit Models or Forms to Achieve the Perfect Dress Form

Presented by: Ilona Foyer & Roxy Starr, Shapely Shadow Inc.

Summary: This session will explore 3-D scanning and how scan data can be used in perfecting dress forms. It will include information about scanning and 3-D modeling and how it can be used in the manufacturing process.

Advancements in Global Color Communication

Presented by: Karen Gaskins, Datacolor

Summary: This session will focus on how to track color approvals, from mind to market, across the global supply chain. The presenter will explain how brands and retailers are reducing their product development calendars and improving their color quality by using the most advanced forms of color technology.

Collaboration: Turbo-Charging Your Supply Chain

Presented by: Business Management Systems

Summary: This session's speakers will discuss the challenges, solutions and successes different companies have encountered in their drive for increased speed to market. A focus will be on how collaboration between enterprises and their offshore contractors has become the lynchpin in getting products to market on time.

Color My Apparel: What Are the Hidden Costs?

Presented by: Tom Stutts, Datacolor

Summary: This session will quantify the cost of color, from mind to market, starting with the designer's inspiration through development, merchandising and production and to the retail floor.

Design Matters: Rethinking the Way We Innovate, Create and Compete

Presented by: Tim Copeland, Lectra North America

Summary: From apparel to furniture and automobiles to hotel rooms, the power of design to weave together customer experiences with branding will determine future business success. This session will explore how leveraging creativity is a key to differentiating yourself from the competition, including the role of technology.

eDistribution - Combining Electronic and Physical Distribution Strategies for a Faster, More Responsive Supply Chain (Presented Twice)

Presented by: John Wilkins, FedEx Services

Summary: This session's speaker will discuss the combining of new technologies with traditional processes and networks to enhance apparel companies' offshore and domestic capabilities.

The Future of 3-D Virtual Garments

Presented by: Julie Lefebvre, PAD System

Summary: This session will examine the evolution of 3-D technology and how it has become more precise and easier to use for 3-D sample making and as an integral tool in the product development process. The speaker also will explore new possibilities for the technology.

Garment Visualization of Assessment of Fit (Presented Twice)

Presented by: Janice Wang, Alvanon Inc.

Summary: This session will explore how the use of standardized mannequins and garment visualization technology can help firms tackle the difficult and complex issue of fit assessment. It will address how the alignment of these objective assessment tools between different stakeholders in the garment production process can reduce the sample development cycle.

Innovative Solutions for Product Development - Today and Tomorrow, Part 1

Presented by: Ram Sareen, TUKAweb

Innovative Solutions for Product Development - Today and Tomorrow, Part 2

Presented by: Paul Clarke, TUKAweb

Summary: These sessions will focus on speed to market. The speakers will explore how the product development cycle can be reduced using today's technology and tomorrow's technology. They will feature testimonials about the use of technology.

Introduction to RFID - It's More Than a Chip

Presented by: Avery Dennison Retail Information Services

Summary: This session will offer an overview of the structure of an RFID label and the electronic product code (EPC), the components of an RFID system and options for implementing RFID. The speaker also will address read performance for RFID labels on different types of products and for RFID labels with different antenna designs.

IT Integration Enabling Speed to Market & Lean Operations (Presented Twice)

Presented by: Kirk Feldman, Porini USA Inc. & Denise Goldstein, Harari

Summary: This session's speakers will describe how Harari's deployment and integration of a suite of IT applications has enabled the firm to streamline its processes, from product development to delivery. They will discuss how the technology was deployed to improve critical processes, including the role of and key integration points for product development systems, ERP and management analysis/business intelligence.

The Power of Planning Your Patterns Using CAD

Presented by: Kristine Gloviak, PAD System

Summary: This session will explore how CAD technology has revolutionized pattern making and question how to best leverage CAD while still benefiting from the age-old art of manual pattern making. The speaker will address how manual techniques and technologies address the challenge that every human body is unique and every fabric behaves differently.

The Product Development Executive Dashboard

Presented by: Scott Oldham, Business Management Systems

Summary: This session will address how the latest dashboard technology can give apparel executives critical, real-time information related to their responsibilities. The speaker will explain how the technology, which provides information packaged on a single screen, can transform how apparel executives view their business and control the production calendar. "Dashboard technology has the ability to give any level executive in an apparel organization the ability to monitor their key performance indicators on a daily or even hourly basis," says Scott Oldham, manager of business development at Business Management Systems. "There are a thousand different factors that can be important to a specific manager or executive of a company. A complete PLM product can manage the business from concept to delivery."

Product Lifecycle Management Solutions: Collaborative Teamwork: Unlock the Hidden Potential within Your Organization (Presented Twice)

Presented by: Steen Poulsen, Geac

Summary: This speaker will discuss how to increase productivity and speed time to market while optimizing technology usage skills and know-how of each individual employed with the business. The session will cover the advantages of following workflow and keeping knowledge in the company.

Product Lifecycle Management Solutions: The Key to Overcoming National Borders, Time Zones & Language Barriers (Parts 1 and 2)

Presented by: Sabrena McBride, Gerber Technology Inc.

Summary: These sessions will explore how technology can enable apparel firms to launch new lines in a timely manner by conducting business as if there were no national borders, time zones or language barriers. The role of new functionality in PDM, CAD and 3-D visualization software will be discussed.

Sketch, Spec and Share - A Smart New Way to Produce Apparel Specifications

Presented by: Tim Copeland, Lectra North America

Summary: Learning to design, specify and communicate collections at a reduced cost is the subject of this presentation, which will offer examples of how software can be used for the development and communication of apparel specifications. The session will cover technical sketching, style classification and more.

Speed to Market: Reducing the Fit & Sample Process through Digital Video Photography

Presented by: Ilona Foyer & Roxy Starr, Shapely Shadow Inc.

Summary: This session will address how simple digital photography can be used to view samples prior to shipping. The speakers will describe how apparel firms can save one digital file that can provide 360-degree views of a garment on a fit model or dress form, eliminating the need to save 10 to 15 different jpeg files per sample.

Synchronizing Your Supply Chain Processes (Parts 1 and 2)

Presented by: Giovanni Bencomo, Jesta I.S. Inc.

Summary: These sessions will focus on understanding and simplifying business processes in today's increasingly global apparel industry, in which more processes are outsourced. The speaker will describe how companies can continually reinvent their supply chain processes and accommodate growth by developing new processes rapidly, adapting quickly to changes in the marketplace and giving free reign to their people to improve business performance.

Wal-Mart RFID Case Study

Presented by: Avery Dennison Retail Information Services

Summary: This session will focus on how Avery Dennison's Office Products Division implemented RFID for Wal-Mart, including product planning, cost benefit analysis and determination of product flow/logistics. In addition to sharing lessons learned, the speaker will share how the company, a volunteer supplier in the first phase of Wal-Mart's RFID rollout, dealt with key issues, such as whether to apply RFID labels at the DC or at the point of manufacturing.

Tech Conference educational sessions also will be presented by Asheboro Elastics Corp., but descriptions of these sessions were not available at press time. Please visit for the most updated program details.

KATHLEEN DESMARTEAU is editor in chief and MICHAEL COLE is assistant editor of Apparel 

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