Designing for the immersive future of fashion.
“We aim to surprise our customers and tell a unique and interesting story with our brands. Today, this is possible through embracing 3D and immersive technology.”
Vice President of Business Operations Excellence, HUGO BOSS
The world of today is digital and that of tomorrow is even more so. This also applies to the fashion industry. In order to remain fit for the future, HUGO BOSS is working hard to advance digitisation throughout the company. HUGO BOSS sees digitalisation as the key to a personalised, omnichannel customer experience. At the same time, it is an important enabler for implementing the vision of HUGO BOSS to be the leading premium tech-driven fashion platform worldwide.
“Innovation has always been important at HUGO BOSS and in the fashion industry as a whole,” explains Sebastian Berg, Vice President of Business Operations Excellence, HUGO BOSS. “The most important thing in fashion is how a design makes someone feel. So, we aim to surprise our customers and tell a unique, interesting story with our brands. Today, this is possible through embracing 3D and immersive technology.”
Fostering creativity at speed
HUGO BOSS sees digitalisation as the future of fashion. Today, more than 400 designers, pattern makers, collection managers, material library managers and artists across the company use Adobe Substance 3D collection to drive innovation in design, manufacturing, marketing, e-commerce and customer engagement.
“Putting 3D art in the hands of more people is vital to 3D transformation,” explains Berg. “We can only create an end-to-end 3D workflow if it is common enough that people in many different positions can easily create, edit and manipulate 3D artwork.”
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are mainstays used by creators across HUGO BOSS. Substance 3D apps are just as easy to learn, which has led to quick adoption. The use of 3D starts in the product development phase. Rather than creating 2D illustrations of potential garment designs, most designers now work primarily in 3D. The results are much more realistic and life-like. For example, the addition of the Z-Axis is used to add depth and realism. Results like these allow designers to accurately capture how garments should fit on customers, where design details should lay and how the fabric should flow. Design teams provide feedback on 3D designs, with designers iterating on colour or texture design details in just minutes.
“The typical creation-to-shelf timeline in the fashion industry is about a year. Using 3D models, we can reduce that timeline to six to eight weeks,” says Berg.
Working in 3D also supports sustainability goals by eliminating the physical waste associated with producing multiple rounds of sample garments, often from factories located thousands of miles away. HUGO BOSS has already reduced the number of physical samples used per collection by more than 30%. The photorealistic quality of 3D designs is so good, teams can skip making physical samples.
Left, before and right, after: the evolution of 3D design with Adobe Substance
“Digitalisation opens so many doors for me creatively,” adds Cristina Caviglia, Senior 3D Design Project Manager at HUGO BOSS. “We can experiment with looks, adjusting 3D models as many times as we want for no cost. As a result, we can now create even more creative and polished designs.”
HUGO BOSS employs a material library team that focuses on digitising fabric textures for use with 3D models. While HUGO BOSS currently works with only existing materials, designers in the future might use the material library as a guideline, experimenting with colour and weave to fully bring their ideas to life.
“Digitalisation opens so many doors for me creatively. We can experiment with looks, adjusting 3D models as many times as we want for no cost. We can now create even more creative and polished designs.”
Senior 3D Design Project Manager, HUGO BOSS
While 3D streamlines production, its impact on sales is just as important. With digital sales continuing to grow — including a double-digit sales increase on the flagship site hugoboss.com — improving the digital shopping experience is a priority.
High-quality 3D modelling can be used to offer 360-degree views of products to e-commerce sites. Marketers and product teams use Substance 3D Stager to take life-like photographs of products from all angles without expensive physical photoshoots. They can combine different products to create unique outfits for every region or customer.
“We’re working on a virtual try-on system that will allow customers to create avatars; think personalised mannequins made in their exact dimensions,” says Nora Lauffer, Team Lead 3D Experience & Immersive Tech at HUGO BOSS. “Customers will be able to try on 3D garments and see exactly how they will fit on their bodies. Not only do we think this will be a fun tool for customers, but it will also help us to reduce return rates, as the poor fit is one of the biggest reasons for returns.”
Capturing accurate textures is critical when selling to customers. “HUGO BOSS is a brand known for quality,” says Lauffer. “No one wants to buy a high-end, thousand-dollar leather coat based on a poor 3D rendering. Substance 3D stands out for its ability to accurately visualise all textures and materials, including difficult ones such as leather or denim.”
More immersive digital experiences
HUGO BOSS has digitised 64% of its design workflows, aiming to have 90% digitised in a year. With more realistic 3D representations of its products on hand, the company can explore even more ways of connecting with consumers.
The company is starting to rely on digital showrooms to sell HUGO BOSS products to retailers worldwide, increasing the brand’s reach globally. 3D assets allow the blending of the digital and physical worlds, facilitating participation in the Metaverse. A digital collaboration with Imaginary Ones marked the brand’s first foray into the metaverse space.
“Immersive digital spaces are evolving and it’s a huge opportunity for our brands to explore new ways of reaching our customers and get much closer to them for years to come,” says Berg.