Browzwear and Sketchfab join forces to allow 3-D virtual clothes to be shared anywhere online.

One of the biggest digital challenges in apparel is conveying a realistic sense of a given garment to remote viewers over the Internet. But tech purveyors are racing to crack it.

Browzwear, for one, thinks it has the answer. A 3-D technology developer for the fashion industry with partners like YKK, Jeanologia and PVH Corp., the company has hooked up with Sketchfab, an online platform built to allow sharing of 3-D content, so anyone can view interactive 3-D apparel models over the web.

Sketchfab wasn’t necessarily built to show off virtual garments, per se, which makes the whole workflow look like a creative use of different 3-D tools.

Thanks to a software update in January, Browzwear’s VStitcher program could import and export 3-D files from other applications, with no loss in quality. That’s a pivotal detail for producing realistic virtual garments. The company built on that with support for Sketchfab’s HTML 3-D viewer, which supports high-quality files.

“In giving the apparel industry the most realistic, accurate 3-D models, we’re enabling a future in which businesses produce fewer physical samples, yet sell more of them,” said Uri Tzadikevitch, Browzwear’s vice president of product.

“Every tool we create in partnership with innovators like Sketchfab adds to our customers’ ability to increase creativity with efficiency, reduce waste and grow revenue,” he continued. “Combined, this leads to more sustainable businesses, both economically and ecologically.”

The nuts and bolts suggest that the change targets designers, in particular those looking for better ways to collaborate remotely.

But it’s not hard to see how apparel companies could use the technology in other ways — like the BetaBrand approach of posting proposed products for feedback and community voting, before putting them into production. Or even someday to help development of fashion assets in mixed reality platforms.

It may not be a panacea that solves all the challenges of virtual clothes shopping. But it’s another step along the way.

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