Abasi Rosborough has seen the future of fashion, and it centers around technology.
The New York-based duo of Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough is pioneering a new way to create their collection, using computer-generated imaging rather than traditional patterns and countless iterations of samples for their spring 2020 line.
The way it works is that their spring collection will be converted into 3-D images that will be uploaded onto their web site or presented to clients in person. The garments are also placed in virtual reality environments where they can be experienced with special goggles. This technology has been embraced by motion graphic film designers and the video game industry but has yet to be applied to the fashion industry, they said.
They will encourage their “community” of customers through e-mail and social media to provide feedback on the shape, fabric and construction of the pieces. When the reaction is strong, Abasi Rosborough will take orders and manufacture the pieces. If not, the file can simply be deleted. This avoids manufacturing excess garments and ensures that unpopular pieces are not produced and ultimately sold at a hefty discount or discarded.
“Imagine a world where there is no unwanted clothing in the market,” Rosborough said. “Everything newly made is spoken for and has someone who wants to wear it. Minimal wastage. No massive sales discounts at the end of the season. Yes, this is a utopian vision, but our times demand that we think in new ways. Every day we read the headlines about the effects of global warming, pollution and excess of the fashion industry, and how big retailers are failing. We want to be part of the solution, and we’ve built a model backed by tech that is new and powerful, to share and build upon with other designers.”
“We make the suits for people who don’t have to wear suits but choose to anyway,” Abasi added. “We found that they are willing to wait a few weeks to get something custom and special. Starting this month, we will launch our new designs and tailoring concepts using 3-D visualization. When the client reaction is strong, we take orders and make the clothing. If not, we are now able to change the colors, or simply delete the file and start over, without a wasted stitch ever being sewn.”
Abasi Rosborough will showcase this new “digital bespoke” technology at an event tonight in the Meatpacking district. It is being co-hosted by Clo Virtual Fashion, the Seoul-based company that developed the 3-D design software that allows the duo to draw, drape, sew and fit garment in real time. Other companies that have jumped on board are sponsors Lexus, which is providing the location and funding support; Nike, which is providing the footwear; Oculus, which is providing the virtual reality headsets, and Squarespace, which is the host of the web site.
“It’s impressive to see how Abasi Rosborough has worked with our technology to not only design and execute their new collection, but how they pushed it further, building a model around it, streamlining the design decision-making and manufacturing processes,” said Simon Kim, chief executive officer of Clo Virtual Fashion. “We built the software meticulously to be true to life and we are grateful to see designers using the technology to its full potential.”
The duo met while studying tailoring at the Fashion Institute of Technology and launched their men’s wear label in 2013. Abasi, a former military sergeant, and Rosborough, a former basketball player, decided to work together to reengineer suits and tailoring for a modern man. Their label was a finalist for the prestigious LVMH prize in Paris in 2017, and is a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund this year.
“This is a quantum leap forward,” Rosborough said. “We’re still making clothing, but it cuts out all the unnecessary steps. And we’re only making things that we’re guaranteed will sell. We’re doing the whole vetting process digitally.”
The duo will release its first 3-D designs on their web site at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 25. Orders taken at that time will be produced and shipped in January. The most popular items will also be shipped to a handful of specialty stores that carry the collection in different, proprietary fabrics.
They said the plan is to introduce new pieces this way on a more frequent basis than simply the traditional spring and fall seasons. The plan is to create six collections a year, Rosborough said, which will also help the company’s cash flow.
This new focus on technology is also intended to replace a runway show this season. “We loved doing shows,” Rosborough said, “but that’s primarily for press and we need to talk directly to our customers.”
Abasi summed it up this way: “Twenty-five years ago, the thought of selling online was unthinkable. This may seem like science fiction, but in five years, 3-D will be commonplace.”