Lectra previewed its new 3-D virtual prototyping solution at the IMB show in May, paving the way for an official launch scheduled for the fourth quarter. The result of eight years of development, the prototyping tool can associate 2-D patterns, fabric information and 3-D virtual models to simulate styles, fabrics, motifs and color ranges. Designers will be able to use it to check the fit of garments in different sizes. Lectra CEO Daniel Harari described the new 3-D software as "a major breakthrough" for the fashion sector. The solution is designed to reduce the time and cost of product specification and validation by reducing the number of physical prototypes required and by facilitating communication between brands and subcontractors, Lectra said. France-based women's ready-to-wear firm Lener Cordier has been using the solution for several months. Frederic Lener, CEO, said virtual prototyping is accelerating initial prototyping processes. "Product conception and design is, in part, at the heart of our business. That's where 3-D makes the difference," Lener said.
Lectra, which had an R&D budget equivalent to 8.8 percent of its revenue last year, will be competing with other developers in the growing 3-D apparel applications space, including Browzwear, OptiTex and PAD System Technologies.
In other news, David Rode has been appointed president of Lectra USA Inc., responsible for all of Lectra's business in North America, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Based in New York, Rode is charged with increasing Lectra's North American revenues from last year's $50 million to $100 million in the next five years. He will report directly to Harari.
"Lectra is set to successfully execute a number of significant sales and marketing initiatives in North America over the next 12 to 18 months in order to fully exploit all potential opportunities and accelerate its growth," said Rode, who previously was president and CEO of Intentia International Americas Group. Early in his career, Rode held numerous sales and marketing positions with Milliken & Co.
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[TC]2 Enhances High-Tech Demonstration Center
[TC]2, a not-for-profit organization offering research and value-added coaching services to the sewn products industry, has upgraded many of its systems and equipment at its headquarters and demonstration center in Cary, NC. Thousands of visitors tour [TC]2 annually for demonstrations of technologies and processes that support the transition to a digital supply chain, including a demonstration of sewn products developed in a totally digital environment. Among the recent installations and upgrades are: The Visuality tool for communication prior to product development; Estmark's fabric estimation tool; Browzwear's 3-D visualization software; Assyst's full production suite; OptiTex' 3-D visualization
and design solutions; Gerber Technology's software suite and Gerber GTXL automated cutter with cradle feeder and digitizer; Lectra's Modaris suite; Stork's Sapphire II digital printer with bulk ink; Datacolor's color measurement and management solutions; and TUKAtech's soft body form. The center also expects to add software from PAD System Technologies.
Shapely Shadow Signs adidas, Marks & Spencer
New Form Attracts Interest at IMB Show
Shapely Shadow is rolling out fit solutions for adidas and Marks & Spencer, and introducing some new products to the marketplace.
For adidas, Shapely Shadow is manufacturing 12 mannequins with Asian body shapes. The mannequins will be used in adidas factories in Shanghai, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong. "As a futuristic apparel manufacturer focused on fit, adidas has accepted the fact that apparel needs to be produced for each specific market shape," reported Shapely Shadow. "Suppliers of adidas will now be able to fit garments for quality on forms that represent the market that is purchasing the apparel." Marks & Spencer will use Shapely Shadow's FastFit software to view 360-degree images of garments to analyze fit, no matter where fit sessions are taking place at factories around the globe. The FastFit solution includes lights, a turntable, a backdrop and a camera, which create a rotating image in both HTML and QTVR formats. Shapely Shadow announced the adidas and Marks & Spencer news at this past May's IMB trade show in Germany, where it also demonstrated its new RealForms for the swimwear and lingerie sectors. A pioneer in the commercial use of the 3-D laser body scanner to build repeatable and symmetrical dress forms, Shapely Shadow has designed RealForms mannequins to react just like the human body. The forms contain a proprietary chemical formula that appears to be similar to silicone, and which creates a realistic flesh-like feel to allow designers to see how their garments might appear on a human body. Particularly suited for the development of bras, bikini tops and other products that must fit well on the breasts, the mannequin breasts have the natural droop of real breasts, and can be molded into shape by a bra, just like a real bosom. You can see the uplift and shaping that results from different types of padding and wire shapes, as well as indentations on the form caused by elastic and shoulder straps that may be too tight. In other words, you can see the result of the garment's fit on "the skin" of the RealForms. For example, if a bra underwire is sticking into the form, you know that the underwire also will poke the customer. Natural coloring can be added to the forms so that apparel firms can test swimsuit fabric transparency.
-- Niki Tait, Contributing Author
Gerber Introduces AccuNest PE
Gerber Technology has released AccuNest Professional Edition (PE) software for automatically generating markers. Integrated with Gerber's AccuMark software for pattern design, grading and marker making, AccuNest allows associates to submit their marker requirements into the software individually or in batches. The solution's UltraQueue job management component then makes the markers unattended. Advanced algorithms drive parts placement, ensuring maximum material yields in the lowest possible processing time, Gerber reported.
Rajive Heads TUKAforms
Rajive Puri has been appointed president of the TUKAgroup's TUKAforms division, responsible for development, manufacturing and sales.
TUKAforms have soft "skin" and squeezable bodies, designed to replicate live fit models for fitting of bras and tight denim as well as delicate fabrics that require draping and pinning. Puri has more than 35 years of managing growth and expansion of manufacturing, the firm reported.
OptiTex Expansion Continues
OptiTex Ltd.'s sales increased 30 percent globally last year, including 70 percent growth in European sales. The supplier of CAD and 3-D visualization technology announced the growth in May at the headquarters of its Holland-based distributor Zand Benelux, which launched a new marketing campaign. OptiTex also has signed Presto Pilot as a distributor in Hungary.
HADDS 2.0 Automates Design
Harper Arrington Publishing and Media has released the Harper Arrington Digital Design System 2.0 (HADDS), a software tool geared to fashion start-ups, entrepreneurs who want to launch clothing lines and designers who want to automate some processes. HADDS 2.0, available for $129.95, includes more than 300 trademarked digital fabrics, including distressed denim, wool, leather, fur, silk and velour. The software has more than 1,300 built-in fashion templates for designing wedding gowns, suits, ties, hats, bags, pants, tops, blazers, dresses, jogging sets, jeans, coats and more.
Update: Brother's GT-541 Direct-to-Garment Printer Insta Graphic to Supply Authorized Heat Presses
Brother International Corp. has named Insta Graphic Systems an authorized heat press supplier for its GT-541 direct-to-print ink jet garment printer. The Brother GT-541, introduced last November, can be used to print T-shirts and other garments. It uses ink jet technology to print designs on garments directly from files on a computer. The garment printer is as simple to operate as a desktop printer, and can be networked with multiple units to deliver high print quality and still remain cost effective for short-run apparel graphics applications, Brother reports.
The GT-541 is faster and less expensive to operate than traditional screenprinting machines because there is minimal setup, tear-down, clean-up, screens, squeegees or pallet adhesive, Brother said. The GT-541's water-based ink can be cured by a standard heat press (such as Insta Graphic's Model 138), eliminating the need to purchase a conveyor dryer.
Patagonia Design Wins Award
Patagonia's Spraymaster Jacket has won Outside Magazine's 2006 "Gear of the Year" Award in the "shell" category. The Spraymaster is made of Toray's Entrant DT fabric, which gives the jacket waterproof and breathable features as well as stretch. Patagonia uses Toray fabrics in all of its Patagonia H2No"shell apparel.