Mannequins displaying prototypes of the new Girl Scouts of the USA uniforms.
Recognizing the expanding importance of 3D Fashion Design, forward looking executives from Cotton Incorporated approached the DTech Lab to reimagine fashion exhibitions as a way to inspire designers and communicate key values of cotton fabric to a wide audience.

The project sought to build new relationships between brands, retailers and designers by leveraging 3D technologies from industry leaders such as Cinema 4D, Browzwear, and CLO3D, which all have applications in design, marketing and retail.

The result of combining 3D virtual prototypes and established high-end media production workflows was the production of three virtual fashion exhibition videos, featuring Cotton, Incorporated fabric.
Our transdisciplinary team of faculty and students evaluated different approaches to integrating virtual fashion prototypes into media production.

After careful review of the available in-market options, we settled on a computer-generated imagery (CGI)/Video Effects (VFX) production workflow built around Cinema 4D.

Our decision to use CGI and VFX production was driven by the capacity of these tools to create visual experiences that have a strong emotional impact on the viewer and can be delivered using conventional and evolving media platforms.
Mood board of uniform designs based on current trends.
Design-thinking methodology was used during the pre-production stage to develop clear brand messaging and storyboarding. The research, design development and production planning phase included:
Desk research
Social listening
Empathy interviews (included designers both with and without 3D design experience)
Affinity mapping
Journey mapping
Design sprint (ideation workshop)
Identification of key messaging for each concept
Audio and stock asset research
Design concept presentation
The team developed designs utilizing digital fabric swatches provided by Cotton Incorporated. We downloaded pre-produced avatar animations and dressed them in student designs using CLO3D software.

The animated avatar was exported into curated scenes created in Cinema 4D.

Animation sequence development and test rendering was generated on DTech Lab computers using Cinema 4D’s team render service. This process allowed us to utilize DTech’s high-performance machines as a local render farm.
Adobe Premiere Pro was used to assemble and edit the exported animation sequences.  The scenes were combined with stock video clips, musical underscore and sound effects to elevate the viewer’s overall experience.

Titles and graphic design assets were developed in Adobe AfterEffects and inserted into final sequences.

Mood board of uniform designs based on current trends.
Key Insights
Although 3D fashion design programs can be coerced to work in a high-end CGI production pipeline, we learned that there are challenges with taking this approach.

The incredible range of technical and creative skills required to execute high-impact media is daunting. The process requires expertise in 3D modeling, animation, lighting and the development of shader networks for textures and materials. These skill sets are in addition to the fashion design expertise and overall storytelling required to execute a finished piece.

As the industry expands their use of digital fashion exhibition formats to present seasonal collections, even more areas of production expertise will be incorporated into the creative and marketing workflow, including game development and virtual reality.

TEam MEmbers
Cotton Incorporated
Mark Messura,
Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Marketing

FIT  Design Students
Brianna Rodriguez
Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design

Kenneth Espinosa
Fashion Design

Julian Catasus y Brueggemann
Advertising and Digital Design

FIT Faculty
Amy Sperber
Fashion Design

C.J. Yeh
Advertising and Digital Design

Christie Shin
Creative Technology and Design

The Seal of Cotton is a registered trademark of Cotton Incorporated.