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Alexis Liu2024-055 min read

The Impact of 3D-Ready Digital Fabrics on Modern Fashion

Digital tools, 3D-ready digital fabrics, and AI-driven processes are now integral to the way brands and suppliers operate. So, why should the fashion industry care about 3D-ready fabrics, what are the implications of not adopting them, and how is this technology reshaping the supply chain?


Digital Apparel Evolution

3D apparel is not a novel concept. The history of 3D technology in fashion dates back to the mid-80s for footwear and has been in use for over 20 years in apparel. Today, the adoption of 3D-ready digital fabrics is accelerating, driven by the need for efficiency, sustainability, and improved communication in the fashion value chain.


Fashion Landscape Shift

In 2024, global fashion e-commerce is worth approximately $821 billion and is projected to exceed $1.2 trillion by 2027​ (Capital One Shopping​). The U.S. apparel e-commerce market alone is expected to reach over $204.9 billion this year, highlighting a significant shift from traditional retail to online shopping​ (Shopify)​.

This shift is not only about sales but also about the entire lifecycle of fashion products. Brands and retailers are creating digital garments before physical production, reducing the need for physical samples and thereby lowering return rates. Online apparel returns remain high, with approximately 20.8% of online apparel orders being returned​ (McKinsey & Company)​.

Brands and their suppliers are integrating 3D-ready digital fabrics into their workflows, enabling the development, scaling, and delivery of digital apparel that is both efficient and environmentally friendly. This technology supports designers, developers, and manufacturers in creating the digital fashion of tomorrow.


Current Industry Impact

In 2024, brands like Gucci and Nike are pushing the boundaries of digital fashion. Gucci has introduced virtual sneakers, while Nike has expanded its presence in the digital realm with "Cryptokicks"​ (McKinsey & Company)​​ (Shopify)​.

The impact of 3D-ready fabrics extends to the design process. Mastering digital tools like CLO3D and VStitcher is now essential for fashion designers to stay competitive. These tools facilitate the creation of detailed digital garments, reducing the dependency on physical prototypes and samples, which are often costly and time-consuming to produce.


The Pros of DPC Adoption




The global pandemic forced a new way of working upon the fashion industry — remote working, virtual meetings, and online collaboration are now the norm. This shift has accelerated the adoption of digital workflows and technologies.

The traditional fashion supply chain, known for its sluggishness, has faced significant challenges during the pandemic. Brands are increasingly demanding a digital workflow, but how can the supply chain keep up?

For fashion brands, adopting a digital workflow and 3D product creation is essential for several reasons:

  • Environmental Impact: The fashion and textile industry is at a critical stage. 85% of all textiles end up in landfills worldwide, and the apparel industry accounts for 10% of all carbon emissions globally​ (McKinsey & Company)​.
  • Time to Market: Utilizing digital materials throughout the process can significantly reduce the time to market.
  • Cost Reduction: Digital processes can lower production costs.
  • Communication Efficiency: Enhanced communication between brands, suppliers, and manufacturers without geographic limitations.


3D-Ready Digital Fabrics: The Solution



Brands and their supply chains need a sustainable, scalable solution to enter the digital product creation world quickly and efficiently. Substituting traditional fabric samples with digital equivalents is a smart way to reduce the carbon footprint, eliminate waste, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

If you're a brand, designer, or a member of the supply chain, there is a solution that is changing the way we co-work, co-design, and co-manufacture — forever.

A 3D-ready digital fabric is a precise digital representation of a physical fabric, capturing both its visual and physical properties to ensure accurate simulation and application in digital product creation (DPC). The 3D-ready element ensures compatibility with 3D applications such as fashion design tools.’s TextileCloud 



TextileCloud™ is a first-of-its-kind SaaS platform that facilitates the rapid digitization and generation of 3D-ready fabrics for brands, retailers, designers, and suppliers.

The platform's unique process allows the user — regardless of who they are or where they're located — to scan their fabric materials and upload them to the platform in as little as 30 seconds using a standard home or office scanner.

TextileCloud™’s AI and machine learning-powered image and text recognition technology works in the background to analyze the digital fabrics layer-by-layer while quickly generating the texture maps and physical properties.

Then, within 3-5 minutes, TextileCloud™ generates downloadable 3D-ready files in various formats, including U3M, U3MA, and glTF. Browzwear's standard file formats are U3M and U3MA, while glTF can be used in CLO3D, allowing seamless integration across different design platforms.

Since the whole process from beginning to end takes around 5 minutes or less, we can now scale like never before with consistent, accurate results each and every time.


The TextileCloud™ Way

Each digital file contains the following data:

  • Fabric Specifications: Description, weight, width, finish, etc.
  • Material Metadata: AI-generated maps (layers) such as base, normal, rough, and displacement.
  • Physical Properties: Stretch, bend, thickness, etc.


Eco-Impactor™: Sustainability Matters



As we know, the fashion and textile industries are responsible for 10% of all global carbon emissions. Now, imagine being able to display the impact that each fabric has had on the environment from beginning to end. teamed up with one of the world’s leading impact measurement solutions providers to enable full transparency and traceability with Eco-Impactor™. It’s all well and good talking about how green your brand is, but without real figures and real data, how can you prove it to your customers?

Thanks to the innovative technology behind this unique partnership,’s TextileCloud™ can deliver material-level impact measurements — such as CO2 emissions, water consumption, energy usage, and even land use — at the click of a button.

For the first time in history, the fashion and textile industry will be able to scientifically measure CO2 at the product level.


Final Thoughts

The global pandemic has taught the fashion industry that being able to quickly adapt to and adopt a digital way of working is the key to survival. This trend is not going anywhere as more and more of us opt to work remotely. Now is the time to embrace this transition and look towards the future of digital fashion — together.

To find out more about’s TextileCloud™ and what we’re doing to significantly reduce the cost and time to market for designers, manufacturers, and brands in a scalable and sustainable way, schedule a demo; let’s chat!



Alexis Liu

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Alexis Liu is the Head of International Business Growth at Alexis helps to bring our story to an international audience of brands, designers, and suppliers. Alexis has over twenty years of experience in B2B digital marketing and business development.