3 Ways 3D Fashion Contributes to Sustainability

Published/Updated on:
April 23, 2022
Over the past few decades, the rapid increase in clothing production and consumption has incurred a steep environmental cost in the form of textile waste. As a result, people have begun looking for ways to reduce their negative impact on the environment, and sustainability has become a fast-growing movement in the fashion industry. If being eco-friendly is something you are moving towards, incorporating 3D fashion into your work processes is one of the ways to do so!

3D outfit designed by graduate Paul Leslie Lu on CLO-3D

The Sobering Reality of Textile Waste 

One of the main culprits of textile waste is the increased consumption of clothes. With the variety of clothes available to us nowadays, people buy 60% more clothing than they did in 2000. However, with most people only wearing their clothes half as long as they did in 2000, clothes now also have a shorter lifespan. Many of us can probably relate to the experience of buying a trendy item only for it to collect dust in our wardrobe and eventually be thrown away. 

Textile Waste in the Fashion Industry

Nevertheless, the production side is not without blame. Did you know that the fashion industry is the 2nd-largest consumer of water in the world? This is because many clothes are cotton-based, which is a very water-intensive plant. Pollution issues also arise from wastewater being dumped into rivers and leftover scrap fabrics collecting in landfills. This explains why the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions - surpassing the aviation industry! 

How Can 3D Fashion Help? 

1) Reducing Waste During Prototyping

For fashion designers, there are several areas in which they can help in reducing textile waste - the first one being apparel design. After drafting patterns and outfits, most designers will create a physical sample to visualise the silhouette and fit. During the process, it is very common to produce a number of samples when changes are made to the design. However, once the design is finalised, the other samples get discarded - thus contributing to textile waste.

physical prototyping of clothes
Physical prototyping of clothes

To get around creating multiple physical samples, clothing design softwares that create 3D prototypes have started to become popular. An example of one such software is CLO-3D. 2D pattern design, 3D garment editing, draping, and layering are only a few of the many features available in this software. With these features, fashion designers can easily create real-to-life versions using their 2D patterns, allowing them to visualise their designs and make modifications without having to make extra samples. If this is something that you are interested in, check out our Virtual Prototyping Course!

2) Sustainable international collaborations

In addition to reducing waste during the prototyping process, 3D fashion also enables more sustainable and efficient cross-border collaborations. If you are collaborating with manufacturers from other countries, using virtual prototyping tools such as CLO-3D or Browzwear can help to ease communication when it comes to certain changes that you need to make with regard to sizing, design and draping of the garment.

Manufacturers no longer have to send their prototypes across the globe repeatedly, which in turn means - less emissions!

3) Cultivating an interest in 3D clothes

With fashion trends that come and go rapidly within a season or few months, the life span of clothes are getting shorter and shorter. The rise of fashionistas and influencers on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, has also accelerated the chase towards trendy fashion. This means that certain clothes in our wardrobe may only stay relevant for some time.

To counter this problem, digital fashion brands such as DressX, The Fabricant, and Tribute pride themselves as advocates of "Don't shop less, shop digital fashion". You can keep up with the various trends - but not contribute to the waste!

Multicoloured dress by KAIKAI on DressX

There are even designer outfits that you can try on, such as the designer outfit that Gemma Chan wore on the cover of Vogue Singapore, from Miss Sohee’s fall/winter Haenyeo 21 collection, on DressX!

Gemma Chan
Gemma Chan wearing Miss Sohee’s fall/winter Haenyeo 21 collection
Gemma Chan's outfit on Dress-X

According to The Fabricant, digital clothes reduce: 

With the benefits of digital fashion being plenty, it is definitely a trend to look out for! 

In Conclusion

Besides the few ways listed above, there are also plenty of other ways we can contribute towards sustainability. It is important to educate ourselves about how we can be more eco-friendly as consumers and designers. This can include researching about eco-friendly fashion brands and knowing how to source sustainable fabrics. Moreover, as a design school in Singapore, TaF.tc ensures that our fashion design courses equip our students with the latest industry knowledge - especially in terms of creating a sustainable fashion value chain.

In the spirit of Earth Day, let's take our step towards sustainability today!

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