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What is fashion design software?
Fashion design software simplifies fashion design, marker and pattern making, cutting, and production planning. These systems make it easier to store and explore design alternatives (e.g., styles, fabrics, colors), and manage production steps including pattern printing, fabric cutting, seam sewing, and shipment delivery. Fashion design software also offers tools for apparel, jewelry, shoes, and other accessories.
Aggregating fashion design software in one software package help fashion companies enhance productivity, increase accuracy, reduce costs, and shorten time to market (TTM).
The benefits of fashion design software
While fashion designers have historically sketched outfits on paper, today’s designers rely on computer-aided design (CAD), which allows:
- Faster time to market. Design iterations on paper often require designers to start from scratch to make significant changes. On a computer, iterative design upgrades can happen in seconds. Design evolution is easy to see, versions are saved digitally, and designs are instantly shareable with other members of the production team, regardless of physical location.
- Lower overhead. Design inspiration can be tested on the computer before incurring costs associated with fabric inventory, storage, and model fees. CAD also facilitates highly efficient pattern layout, preventing costly fabric waste.
- Broader participation. Drawing by hand is a talent not everyone masters. CAD, on the other hand, is a learned skill supplemented by abundant tutorials and documentation. Designers who aren’t confident illustrators on paper can use CAD to make accurate and impressive renderings.
Typical features of fashion design software
While there are many fashion design software options available, few can do everything. While most software options specialize in specific aspects of the design or production process, the majority of products offer one to three of the following features:
- Computer-aided design: CAD makes it easier to create detailed drawings and technical illustrations for production. CAD is precise, repeatable, extensible, and true-to-life.
- Digital designs: Digital designs are easier to change and share than hard copies.
- Pattern creation: Tools that layout fabric patterns. Time-saving functions such as cut, copy, and print quickly duplicate patterns and bring them to life.
- Design database: Purpose-built databases store patterns, colors, sizes, and decorations to centralize assets and expedite workflow. Central databases are easily accessible for all stakeholders throughout the design, supply, and production chains.
- Asset editing: Fashion designers can edit existing patterns and designs, expediting revision, approval, and production workflows.
The clothing design software directory lets you filter by feature(s) to only view options that meet your business needs, helping you to quickly narrow your software shortlist.
Considerations when purchasing fashion design software
- Choose software that makes your business faster. Fashion business models are designed to rush production from the drawing board to the clothing rack in as little as two weeks. Cloth design software can speed up production when integrated with your existing systems, reducing TTM. Look for products with positive reviews for customer service to feel confident that if you have trouble with your software, tech support can get you up and running again quickly.
- Pick apart your process. Fashion software tends to focus on either design or production. Understand exactly which part of your process needs a boost from software before comparing features, prices, ratings, and reviews. Knowing your production gaps helps pinpoint the best fashion design software for your business.
- Check the update history. Before investing in any clothing design software, look at how frequently developers have offered updates. If months pass between updates, new features and security fixes may not come quickly in the future. Infrequent updates can even be a sign that a software company is struggling, which is a source of risk if your business depends on that software. Some software providers may even charge for updates, so be sure to thoroughly research update history and frequency before purchasing.
Relevant fashion design software trends
- Wearables. Wearable technology has entered the mainstream. According to a Capterra research, 54% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are building or plan to build wearable computing into their operations within the next one to two years. Smartwatches, sweatshirts, jackets, shoes, and other apparel/accessories are integrating smart technology. As this marketplace grows, so will competition to offer better technology and more appealing styles. These trends demand complex designs on an accelerating upgrade schedule. Clothing design software are built for this evolving environment. Wearable technology is changing lives, and consumers want clothing and apparel that complements and reflects these changes.