Future Fashion (IP)
European Design Centre (EDC) - NL
German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Dept of Augmented Vision - GER
The Future Fashion programme aims to revolutionise the process of clothing design, whilst opening
the marketplace for entrepreneurial fashion designers. The programme contains constituent
projects producing intuitive and cost effective digital tools that target ICT innovation for individual
creators/SMEs within the fashion industry and directly connect them with consumers within the
Future Fashion’s digital tools provide the much needed impetus for this creative industry segment to
embrace sophisticated technology that enhances a fashion designer’s creativity, on an individual or
collaborative basis, whilst opening new consumer market opportunities and improving production
processes. The efficiencies provided by these tools are expected to improve the flow of creativity,
reduce design and production costs, enable greater sustainability and deliver a higher quality of
output for consumers.
Future Fashion’s suite of tools will be developed, tested and validated in collaboration with selected
leading European fashion colleges and a broad community of fashion design SMEs
Digital tool suite overview
Future Fashion produces a suite of tools – in particular, a 2D/3D fashion design application for
individual creators/SMEs, a group of ‘virtual fitting room’ applications for the consumer and a
designer/consumer interaction console.
Fashion designer application - 2D/3D Virtual Garment Designer (VGD)
The Virtual Garment Designer (VGD) software application targets the fashion designer. The VGD will
enable the fashion designer to produce complete clothing designs, using a 2D designer tool and a 3D
virtual mannequin model, incorporating intelligence for a great range of materials, the way they ‘fit’
a human body shape, while producing efficient patterns in an intuitive and interactive manner using
our future state-of-the-art display technologies and artificial intelligence. We plan to adopt a design
led approach to pioneer the development of an extended toolset, which would allow designers to
work in a 3D environment. This would allow the use of either a virtual or real mannequin and could
potentially result in the design being computationally transformed into an optimised 2D pattern
ready for production.
We plan to significantly enhance and extend an existing open-source fashion design software, the
outcome of a collaborative initiative between Columbia and University of Tokyo, entitled Sensitive
Couture. FDS already got permission and a license pending to extend the functionality of this
software, on the condition to use any improved versions strictly for non-commercial purposes, in
particular for internal training of students pursuing a MA in Digital Fashion -- we placed an updated
request at Columbia for a non-commercial license, specifically tied to the scope of this proposal and
investigated collaboration possibilities. The envisioned version of the software will remain open-
source so that the broad ecosystem of fashion designers will be benefited . The basic concept is
depicted in the figure below:
In the figure above the designer manipulates the 2D pattern on the left-hand side of the screen and
a 3D full-body garment fit of the garment is displayed on a customised avatar on the right-hand side
in real-time. The designer selects an avatar of her choice, which can be freely rotated to reveal
The VGD will be seamlessly linked to fabricators, potentially on a localised basis, for crafting any
physical design samples required during the creativity phase and eventually for manufacturing the
final product. (reference to DISC, LCF click for the link)
Once a design had been fully completed the VGD will capture the data, the digital assets and
rendering information required for 3D modelling. This data will be then synced with the consumer
app suite (VFR application product catalogue) and become part of the fashion designer’s product
catalogue (their range). This will enable their garments to enter the consumer marketplace, be
virtually worn by a potential customer and made available for order.
Consumer apps - Virtual Fitting Room (VFR)
Future Fashion will provide an affordable and highly scalable platform for the customer to
accurately measure their body followed by browsing, selecting and virtually wearing clothes from a
catalogue of products produced by enterprising individual creators and SME based fashion designers
(for instance, FDS established a collaboration with http://www.notjustalabel.com/designers). Known
as the Virtual Fitting Room (VFR), the groups of apps will be made available for a range of devices
including desktop and laptop/notebook computers, games consoles, tablets and smart phones that
are ubiquitous in the majority of modern homes. This aims to ensure widespread usage
opportunities and, therefore, improve chances of their adoption. Browser based technology (worth
checking out 13thlab’s PointCloud™ web-browser and the related SDK for iOS development – see
poincloud.io - that natively supports 3D tracking, mapping and integrates Simultaneous Localisation
and Mapping (SLAM Augmented Reality) to the browser) will be used to deploy this group of
consumer apps, powered by the cloud, and our future state-of-the-art technologies will vastly
improve the nature of the experience for the consumer.
Products will be automatically filtered according to the customer’s body dimensions. In order to
achieve this, a virtual mannequin will be constructed using the results of an accurate automatic size
extraction technique and the clothes will be rendered onto the resulting avatar using 3D modelling.
At first, the customer will be required to undertake a body scan, using her device’s 2D or 3D camera,
to determine accurate measurements that can be used to match products that ‘fit’ their body
dimensions, as shown in the figure below:
The app will store and process this data so that the customer will be able to browse the selection of
products available to them. Natural interfaces utilising immersive interaction techniques will be
used to display selected products whereby the user’s screen operates as a virtual mirror or virtual
display aid (in the context of the small screen devices). Human computer interaction will be based
on a natural interaction paradigm. With the wider adoption of smartphones and tablets, touch and
gesture based interaction has become popular and people now associate certain gestures with
corresponding actions (select, scroll, zoom, etc.). Recent developments in the area of gesture/object
tracking and Augmented Reality (AR) enable the creation of virtual mirrors, where the user can
virtually try on glasses, shoes and clothes by selecting different products, colours and textures – all
enabled through the use of gestures. Organisations, such as Total Immersion1, offer AR software for
eyewear, watches, shoes and jewellery. For these items you do not need the body size and they are
just projected on the camera image. Virtual mirrors for clothes are also available but they work in
2D, meaning that the clothes are again projected on the body. At present, the ‘virtual fitting
experience’ is not realistic enough since it does not provide a realistic physical simulation of the
clothes. The simulation and visualisation of 3D clothing is a complex problem and a certain number
of challenges need to be addressed related to the validation of the simulation, modelling,
visualisation and rendering of complex materials and design transfer. Since Future Fashion will be
making a precise body scan available for computational processes, the construction of a realistic 3D
physical simulation in a virtual mirror can be tackled more successfully.
Motion tracking will be used to inspect the selected garment from different angles, by moving and
walking around or gesturing, enabling a view from whichever angle as desired, as shown in the figure
User Experience Design (UX)
There is more in buying clothes than knowing what size you are. Body scanners provide
valuable sizing information that can be used to create highly accurate made–to–measure
garments. Such accuracy is particularly desirable when producing functional apparel such as
work–wear, uniforms and sportswear, however in reality, achieving an optimal fit is only one of
the forces that drive customers in retail situations , . To take full advantage of all that
body scanning offers to the fashion and clothing industry, we need to appreciate that the
experience of being scanned should resonate with how and why people consume fashion.
Recently, a certain emphasis has been put on creating retail environments that offer a complete
experience, where customers are led on a curated journey from the moment that they enter the
store until they leave. The architecture, store layout, music, imagery and even the smell of the
environment are carefully chosen in order to create a narrative that strengthens both the brand
and the take–home experience [33–35]. Associations are powerful influences on how we
perceive these experiences and an ill–chosen stimulus can spoil the illusion and overall
Essentially, the fashion experience is more than just people clothing themselves. For many, it offers
a means of self–expression and aspiration . These are powerful human emotions and can
entirely dictate how a product is perceived. As a result, a successful employment of body scanners
within a fashion context requires a holistic appreciation of the entire experience, for instance it is
worth investigating on how the technical nature of the device will not conflict with the rest of the
experience. It is also important to explore the personal service aspect (do–it–yourself attitude) of the
tailoring/fitting experience, to see if it can be removed without compromising the customer’s
Designer and consumer - Interaction Console (IC)
The designer and consumer software elements, as introduced in the previous two sections pertain to
the way the core interface will work for each audience. Key to their success is an integrated console
application that integrates the two.
For the designer, the integration of the IC will provide the tools necessary to undertake a range of
activities such as:
Promotion - for new designs via social media integrations and direct past client base
promotion. For example – the designer could automatically inform her/his Twitter
followers that a new garment had been released for general purchase, enticing buyers
to virtually wear the product within their VFRs.
Sales management - for customer purchases made via the VFR apps.
Customer care - for responding to enquires and other client management activities.
For the consumer, this application will provide the tools necessary to undertake a range of activities
Creation of virtual wardrobes – as publicly viewable or private.
Sharing - for virtual wardrobes, whole outfits or specific products with others by, for
example, posting a 3D mannequin image on Facebook, which shows the selected
garments he/she was considering to purchase – asking for friends to provide their
opinions/advice about a potential purchase.
‘Like’ and ‘+1’ and similar integrated functionality - for promoting the designer or one of
Order management – for orders placed with designers.
Communication - with designers about their products/ranges or potential/existing
The most novel and creativity inspiring element of this console application will be the way it allows
the designer and the customer to collaborate. It will enable a close collaboration to take place that
represents a new and exciting prospect for individual creators and SMEs within the fashion industry.
The application will provide functionality for:
Customisation requests – by a customer to a designer for an existing product.
Bespoke requests - by a customer for a completely new design from a specific designer.
Collaboration space – for a designer to share new designs or customisations with the
customer client for their comment/acceptance.
The social interaction during the ‘styling’ and ‘design’ process is two-fold: it will serve both as
increased motivation towards e-shopping and as a multiplying effect within the crowd for the
fashion designers, generating buzz in networks, so that additional users are attracted to her/his
fashion range. This acts as a considerable driver in terms of inspiration and encouragement, both of
which are key enabling factors for creativity.
Design, implementation, testing, refinement and validation
The software applications will be developed according to the Agile methodology, incorporating
fortnightly sprints, retrospectives and releases. Functionality definition and prioritisation will be
heavily influenced by a deliberately close collaboration with individual creators and SMEs. This
collaboration will be constituted from (three or more) leading European fashion colleges and
individual creators and SMEs from industry networks within the same countries.
Each major (productive) software release will reach designer focus groups in each of the countries
actively test the software in order to validate its suitability for their creative design work, make
suggestions for new assets and review priorities for scheduled functionality.
Future Fashion networking activities will trigger consumer’s appetite to access the VFR apps. This
process will result in a limited number of consumers being invited to use the apps in return for
constructive user experience feedback, solicited in a combination of ways, after each major software
release or product population cycle. The aim of this process will be the similar to the designer focus
groups – to validate the appropriateness for the consumer, make suggestions for new functionality
and review priorities for scheduled functionality.
Feedback from designers and consumers will be assimilated and the resulting re-prioritised
requirements fed directly into the cyclic design and implementation sprints to improve the software.
When 6 months of co-funding for the Future Fashion programme remain, the software product
development cycle will freeze the implementation of new functionality in order to concentrate on
consolidation, exhaustive tests, debugging, refactoring code and scaling of existing functionality. This
will coincide with a concerted push to increase the size of the designer and consumer user base
ready for the implementation of the exploitation plan, at the end of the programme co-funding.
A communication and dissemination plan will underpin the programme’s stakeholder engagement
and outreach. This plan will provide the scope and extent of activities to be implemented, including
stakeholders, key messages, relevant media and events, communication tools, campaigns and an
appropriate implementation timeline. This will be a living document that shall evolve over the
duration of the programme’s life.
Future Fashion will have a programme website, which will be used as a key dissemination tool for
the research being undertaken and be a conduit for collaboration with individual creators, SMEs and
other research institutions. It will deliver the brand identity for the programme and provide access
to all the tools, apps and other feedback gathering systems for all the stakeholders involved.
Communication and dissemination activities will contribute significantly to the impact of the
project’s activities and the uptake of results (i.e. market entry) once the co-funding arrangement
has ceased. Utilisation of partner networks will be crucial for ensuring engagement with the
programme and the outputs of its constituent projects.
Yearly research papers will be produced covering the core research topics undertaken within the
programme. Research will be presented at conferences and other informal and formal gatherings
throughout the duration of the programme.
We believe the Future Fashion concept has great potential and wide appeal for both the fashion
design industry and consumers. Throughout the duration of the co-funding period an exploitation
plan will be created and maintained, identifying a range of opportunities, measures and potential
partnerships that could present viable routes for a sustainable growth of the research and products
produced. This will particularly focus on access to finance, expanding the user base and commercial
models for sustainability.