Getting a new collection to market is challenging enough – but in today’s world of working with partners overseas, rising expenses and supply chain delays, it can seem nearly impossible. As solutions in the shape of advanced technology continue to become more accessible, we ask ourselves, are “impossible” processes finally becoming possible?
Since launching in 2017, the science-backed software company SEDDI has been driven to change the way fashion goes to market. The company’s collaborative, cloud-native 3D textile and apparel simulation solutions are used by brands, mills and manufacturers to create digital twins for the apparel industry. The overarching goal? To make effective virtual try-on (VTO) that the fashion industry can rely on.
SEDDI’s most important foundation, said Graham Sullivan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SEDDI, is its accuracy.
Reflecting on the early days of SEDDI, Sullivan shared with FMG Studios that it became clear that true VTO technology needed to be built on a solid scientific foundation of true-to-life digital textiles, garments and avatars. With a clear goal of making VTO not only a reality but effective, this understanding put the company on a five-year journey of research and development to create just that – highly detailed textile digitalization and 3D garment engineering software solutions.
Importantly, while the company’s north star vision is to bring a true virtual try-on solution to life – if done right – SEDDI sees a bigger picture of contributing to companies’ sustainability goals and making strong headway towards a future with less waste and fewer returns.
“After years of fixing companies, I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Sullivan. “We started SEDDI to reduce the unnecessary waste and pollution in the apparel industry and to help people find clothes they love because they look good and fit well.”
“VTO helps consumers make more informed clothing purchases and reduces returns,” said Sullivan. “We can’t solve all of the fashion industry’s problems, but we can help brands get it right more often. Our software will make it possible to bring fashion to market with little-to-no waste, and SEDDI will continue to invent tools for a new generation of fashion designers for whom sustainability is a top priority.”
Within SEDDI’s suite of products currently available are SEDDI Textura and SEDDI Author. Both Textura and Author are browser-based with computation in the cloud and designed to offer the user the ability to create digital assets at a fraction of the time and cost.
SEDDI Textura is the company’s AI-powered, textile digitalization software that enables a smarter way to scale a brand’s digital fabric library. What makes Textura unique from other solutions is the software’s AI engine which uses physical textile data and intelligent neural networks, to construct accurate and trustworthy 3D fabric simulations with just a desktop scanner and the cloud.
SEDDI Author offers brands digital craftsmanship for accurate, agile and collaborative garment design. According to the company, Author is the only garment-engineering software that enables true digital sewing, by fusing science and design. Author’s TrueSeams™ technology simulates the construction of clothing down to the seam and stitch geometry. Author is cloud-native and designed for multiple stakeholders to easily collaborate in real-time from anywhere.
Notably, while the technology is complex, the products have been created to be incredibly simple for a brand or designer to use. All of SEDDI’s products are intuitively designed, accessible with a web browser (no special hardware necessary) and simple enough for anyone new to 3D design to operate.
DESIGNED IN DETAIL
“VTO is one of the great economic opportunities of our time, but it is extraordinarily challenging,” said Sullivan. “If it was easy, it would have been done properly long ago. History is littered with failed startups that have tried. The tech they counted on is not capable of meeting the challenge.”
Jorge Lopez-Moreno, Founder and Chief Science Officer at SEDDI, added that SEDDI’s data capture hardware and VTO algorithms were designed with accuracy and predictability in mind – scanning how the light refracts on fibers and even simulating fabrics with yarn-level stitches and engineering-grade techniques are the building blocks of understanding the fabrics and garments.
“Our technology enables brands to make production-ready decisions based only on digital assets,” said Lopez-Moreno.
TOMORROW’S CONSUMER JOURNEY
With SEDDI’s technology, the company believes VTO will become commonplace in the coming years. But what will this look like for brands and consumers in the future? Sullivan says it will be nothing short of “game-changing,” as brands and retailers become able to engage customers directly with products through the technology.
The opportunity to gather fit data from a broad set of customers to fine tune sizing, identify emerging trends, inform production and design, as well as offer clothing that will actually fit individual customers, will bring about extraordinary changes to the industry,” said Sullivan. “To reduce online returns we must transform the cycle of buy, try, and return to an experience of try, buy and keep.”
Aligning with its goal of providing accuracy, Sullivan shared that his team operates on the belief that consumers want to see how clothing really looks and fits. In this way, the interaction should mirror the act of going into a physical dressing room in a store to try on clothing. In that reality, consumers make informed buying decisions. It’s not shocking, he said, that when consumers have this experience, there is a much lower rate of returns for clothing compared to apparel purchased online
Another key element in finding a consumer’s perfect fit also relies on shoppers’ avatars.
While until now there has not been a compelling in-real-life use for an authentic digital version of themselves (rather the use of avatars is predominantly for gaming and virtual worlds where accuracy is not needed), to try on clothes to buy and wear, an avatar has to faithfully represent the consumer’s body to get the drape and fit correctly.
At SEDDI, Sullivan explained, the team has developed the science, the technology and the IP for accurate simulation of clothing in the cloud to meet this challenge. “We are not your ordinary startup in an accelerator program. We are a large, highly accomplished team doing the hard work for several years across many disciplines to make accurate VTO possible.”
With SEDDI’s VTO technology, avatars will also be kept private. Avatars can be created by various means and used with SEDDI’s technology as long as the consumer is comfortable that the avatar is a good proxy for their body when trying on clothes.
For brands and retailers, providing their customers with a convenient, authentic virtual try-on solution to improve the omnichannel shopping experience is essential to remain competitive. SEDDI believes that VTO technology will someday allow customers in a store to scan a clothing tag and try the item on virtually without stepping into a physical dressing room. They might also add an item to a digital shopping cart and be met by a store associate with the items in their size.
“We believe that the hybrid experience of quick virtual try-on while handling the items for the feel of the clothes may reinvigorate in-store shopping,” said Sullivan.
“Many consumers want personalization of clothing. True-to-life, virtual try-on reveals where the fitting needs to be altered,” said Sullivan. “We believe SEDDI’s VTO will be a boon to bespoke clothing manufacturers.”
SEDDI plans to introduce its VTO technology to select customers in 2023, ushering in a new era of consumer engagement.