Datacolor800 + MatchTEXTILE software. Photo courtesy of Datacolor

Emerging and improved textile design solutions have enabled brands and manufacturers to tighten the grip on their supply chains. With recent advances in textile software, printing and color formulation, in-house textile design significantly reduces lead times, streamlines design processes and caters to sustainability.

Textile design software solutions have made remarkable strides. One of industry’s oldest textile design platforms hails from French software and manufacturing technology firm Lectra, whose Kaledo textile design suite was first introduced in the Eighties. Its interface features live textile simulations that allow users to create technical sketches digitally by hand or upload handmade paintings and drawings. The platform reduces lead times for brands by allowing designers to easily interact with various parts of the supply chain on one platform.

Daniella Ambrogi, the vice president of marketing at Lectra, told WWD, “Lectra’s design solutions integrate fashion expertise and design best practices to create innovative fabric designs and styles, in record time. Kaledo allows designers to share sketches and textile designs with product development and suppliers on a unique platform, to make certain that products reach fashion-hungry consumers on time.” Ambrogi continued, “Kaledo’s print designs do not require designers to create separate files from the original to do color ways. In fact, it automatically creates color palette data, which generates production-ready files, minimizing time spent templating for production. Kaledo also has the ability to easily send screen separations, reducing re-works for vendors. And with digital integration and collaboration in mind, Kaledo is fully AI integrated so that merchandisers, textile designers, product designers and the supply chain can communicate at every stage of production in real time.”

Advances in color development software have also contributed to speeding up time-to-market design processes. Datacolor, a color management solution firm, supports apparel and textile companies in color development, measurement and quality control. The company provides an extensive selection of software, hardware and services for end-end color control, formulation, communication and specification. Via its formulation solution, Match Textile, users can quickly locate accurate color matches with low-cost dye recipes. The software helps brands meet client demands for quality and productivity, as well as shorten lead times.

A print that was done on a slub-based fabric. Photograph courtesy of Trusty Trading. 

Its solution is differentiated in the market for its expediency and supply chain integration, which gratifies a hard-to-please consumer base. Dustin Bowersox, the marketing manager for textiles and apparel at Datacolor, told WWD, “Consumers are more trend-savvy than ever. Social media has given them exposure to trends [and] influencers instantaneously. Thus the consumer has an expectation that trends be available for purchase immediately. This has placed pressure on brands to deliver fast fashion more quickly by shortening the product development calendars in order to meet the consumer demand.” Bowersox continued, “With the right technology and procedures in place, costly sampling processes (lab dipping, strikeoffs) can be streamlined and in some cases eliminated completely, objective color quality decision can be made at point of manufacture and eliminates the need to ship physical samples to brands for approval. Datacolor works closely with our textile customers [and] partners to continuously enhance our solution to increase efficiency, reduce waste and improve sustainability. ”

Specially formulated dyes have also piqued the interest of brands adopting sustainability throughout the supply chain. Trusty Trading, a vertical manufacturer that develops and distributes technical textiles and apparel fabrics, recently launched a new collection of non-chemical dye color groups. Its “vegetal” dyes, created from plant material, yield impressive color fastness and feature anti-microbial functions in the cotton fibers. As part of a collaboration with Archroma, a Swiss color and specialty chemical company, the collection also debuted its “Denim” print, an indigo-look wash effect that can be printed on denim, woven and knit fabrications.

And printing technologies from companies such as Kornit Digital, a printing solution firm for the apparel, garment and textile industry, cater to the rise of domestic textile printing. Wayne Colbath, business development manager for the southeast region, told WWD, “Kornit Allegro allows manufacturers to keep up with fast fashion by being able to take a digital file and print short to long runs as quickly and as easily as possible.” Colbath added, “You can easily manipulate the files and do mass customization, personalization and data drops on a multitude of fabrics from many different cottons, polyester, Lycra, all on one machine.”

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