Technology

“Virtual” embraces hand-made crafting techniques

Roberto Cavalli, the Florentine maison that creates garments with its unique design inspired by its illustrious founder, has, in its last two collection, used 3D software by Optitex to speed up creation and production times, which is capable of maintaining quality standards unchanged by employing a new function that optimises the positioning of models on printed fabrics garment
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roberto cavalliRoberto Cavalli, the Florentine maison that creates garments with its unique design inspired by its illustrious founder, has, in its last two collection, used 3D software to speed up creation and production times, which is capable of maintaining quality standards unchanged by employing a new function that optimises the positioning of models on printed fabrics garment.«Don’t call me a designer, because I’ve never even been able to draw a silhouette», Roberto Cavalli tells us in his new autobiography “Just Me”, which was published in 2013. «Rather, my talent lie in identifying what makes a fabric, an item of clothing or a woman special, always thinking of fashion as being a pret-à-portér dream, just waiting to be worn». Roberto Cavalli’s unique and artistic personality translates into garments that are unequivocal in style, nonchalant, sensual, inspired and never, ever conventional, which are paraded along high fashion, female catwalks. Clothes where printed fabrics play a decisive part, together with the animal graphics that have become the brand’s icon, and to which Mediterranean and tropical fruits have been added, as well as other themes that have been inspired by travel and nature. Garments that require great care and attention in the choice of fabrics, prints and in combining different materials and textures.

Optitex has implemented, together with management at Roberto Cavalli, a specific solution known as Printed Fabric, which is capable of optimising the design process for printed fabric garments
Optitex has implemented, together with management at Roberto Cavalli, a specific solution known as Printed Fabric, which is capable of optimising the design process for printed fabric garments
All this, therefore, leads to a high level of complexity in the working techniques adopted, which demand high-level, handmade crafting skills together with most cutting edge IT technology. «Roberto Cavalli, – explained Paolo Ottolia, Product Manager RTW – is a company that has its very roots embedded in a product’s hand-craft concept, rendered more complex by the choice of materials, which have rather specific design requirements. All this as well as taking into consideration the very tight time-cycles, in view of presenting six collections a year». It is for this reason that CAD workstations are used by the Florentine maison’s design department, which are capable of speeding up and making the collections’ design phase more constant in quality and repeatable.
Michele Mazzanti, CAD Manager Roberto Cavalli, Paolo Ottolia, Product Manager RTW Roberto Cavalli, Antonio Sgroi, Country Manager Optitex Italy
Michele Mazzanti, CAD Manager Roberto Cavalli, Paolo Ottolia, Product Manager RTW Roberto Cavalli, Antonio Sgroi, Country Manager Optitex Italy

RESOLVING THE DIFFICULTIES OF WORKING WITH PRINTED FABRICS

«One, further aspect that characterises us – added Ottolia – are printed fabrics that represent one of the most distinctive features in all our collections. Our good fortune is defined by having in-house printing facilities, where all the testing required can be carried out before printing our fabrics, which allows us to pay the greatest possible attention to our designs. During the collection’s design phases, one of the greatest challenges is having to deal with positioning our prints quickly and precisely on each model, being able to check the result immediately and, if necessary, amend it as required to rapidly obtain the desired effect ».
Therefore, starting with this requirement, collaboration began, last March, with Optitex, a 2D and 3D technology partner that implemented a specific solution, called

Printed Fabric together with the Roberto Cavalli management, which is capable of optimising the design process for printed fabric garments. «Optitex’s solution – explained Michele Mazzanti, who has been the Florentine maison’s CAD Manager for the last three years, while he showed us the assembly process of two pieces and the design continuity of a garment designed adopting this new technology – is capable of simulating the final effect by applying the print directly to
the 3D environment».
We, then, asked our interlocutor how this problem was resolved prior to the advent of the 3D solution and the Printed Fabric function. «We went ahead using hand-made crafting techniques, – replied Mazzanti – making paper dolls to which we applied the fabric image, using pins or cellotape, in such a way as to have an idea of what the correct, print position would be on our model». And added: «During the software selection phase, we illustrated this requirement to other software suppliers, but Optitex was the one that best interpreted our requirements».

3D, A WAY FORWARD WITH ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

The manual method previously used to simulate the final effect
The manual method previously used to simulate the final effect
Nevertheless, what is our interlocutor’s opinion about the advantages that have already been found since the introduction of 3D? And what might be the application developments and possibilities that have already been envisaged for the future? «The problem today – said Ottolia – is how a hand-made crafting vocation can exist alongside merchandising demands and even stricter deadlines. Optitex is undoubtedly helping us in this direction: the technology implemented in the company has allowed us to accelerate decision processes internally, for example, letting us show the style department the new model’s virtual prototype with that specific print type». «The solution’s advantage – underlined, instead, Mazzanti – is that what we have is an integrated package. So, for this reason, and at any time whatsoever, it is possible to pass over immediately from 2D visualisation to the three-dimensional one and vice versa, and all the amendments made appear in both. This possibility is not insignificant and represents a truly incredible advantage».
The fashion show, the point of arrival for the collection’s development process
The fashion show, the point of arrival for the collection’s development process
«It is very interesting – added Ottolia – that image virtualisation has well and truly entered into daily use. This will assist us in better understanding the potential of 3D and use it as a reliable tool to adopt at work and not merely as a software environment to explore to speculate on what advantages it might bring us in the future». «The possibilities provided by 3D – confirmed Mazzanti – are unlimited for us at the moment. It is just the beginning of a route that we would like to undertake with Optitex. This
«The 3D possibilities – confirmed Michele Mazzanti, CAD Manager Roberto Cavalli – are endless for us at the moment. It is just the beginning of a route that we would like to undertake with Optitex»
«The 3D possibilities – confirmed Michele Mazzanti, CAD Manager Roberto Cavalli – are endless for us at the moment. It is just the beginning of a route that we would like to undertake with Optitex»
solution is perceived as being a way of producing prototypes and then offering them mainly as an alternative, thus, replacing or reducing the number of real prototypes. We have glimpsed another opportunity: I believe the next step will be that of using it to give some of our clients the possibility of seeing the garment on video, and, then, turn round and see the garment hanging up, thus, being able to confirm that the “virtual” and “real” are just the same».
The high level of complexity in the working techniques adopted demand high-level hand-made crafting skills together with most cutting edge IT technology
The high level of complexity in the working techniques adopted demand high-level hand-made crafting skills together with most cutting edge IT technology
«We still have a lot of work to do, – underlined Ottolia – even because our models are extremely complex and, consequently, we will have occasion to study a 3D system evolution together. However, already today we can say that we are satisfied because we have achieved concrete results».

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Printed Fabric optimises the design of printed fabric garments
Printed Fabric, the new function that is, today, included in Optitex PDS model design software, allows the rapid and precise positioning of various garment parts on a printed fabric garment, eliminating the real prototype, speeding up communications between the various, internal and external interlocutors and streamlining the collection approval process. This solution enables us to visualize what the assembled garment will look like, make any amendments that might be required and immediately check the result obtained further to every change. The function is integrated with Optitex’s 3D Suite package; in this way, it is possible to operate in parallel on the model, checking the results in both work environments. The operation is simple and only requires a few clicks: just import an image in jpg of the printed fabric; define the height, the edges and the pitch; and adjust the model on the fabric to visualise it in 2D and 3D, until it is located in the ideal place to obtain the style’s desired effect.