Eleventh Floor Apparel, known for its manufacturing and most recently designing the Lundström brand, played host to Lectra, a 35 year old global conglomerate that creates integrated technology solutions for fashion and textile related companies. The live demo featured their newly released (version 2 and much improved) Lectra Fashion PLM V2 R1.
I like to compare my 4th year advanced bacterial genetics class to the process of producing a piece of clothing from scratch – the funny thing is, I find the latter to be the most difficult thing I have ever attempted in my life. What with, managing design aesthetics, patterns flying around and embedding themselves in my car, forgotten pieces requiring sizing, and constant miscommunicationwith the seamstress. Meanwhile, the real challenge is keeping the whole design team on the same page in real time.
Now, wouldn’t it be amazing to have software that could take care of it all? Of course, these do exist all over the world, yet after 2 hours of watching the demo, I had fully drunk the coolaid on this one. The uniqueness about this particular software is how it is the only one that includes the design management process from the designer’s side which includes defining trends, creating a trend board, and designing a colour palette. This is so important, as quite often the designer is not included in the administrative side of the business or real time design changes are not communicated to the rest of the team. The mantra of the system repeated throughout the presentation was “One Version of the Truth.” Perhaps I had too much coolaid?
For a multi-user license (25 minimum employees), it’s certainly not for a Mickey Mouse one-time project like I was involved in, but for a large and established fashion firm ready to get organized.
Not only does the software allow global sharing and real time updates from beginning to end of the design process, it also assists with compliance on regulations and standards on labelling, care, packaging and material testing. Moreover, Lectra has various modules that seamlessly work with PLM such as Modaris Pattern-Making and Kaledo Design.
The challenge remains in changing existing processes in an established fashion firm. I could see the designer being non-compliant as intermixing technology with creativity is always seen as a negative connotation or capping one’s freedom to design. Other challenges I see are in global usage. The culture of doing business overseas is quite laid back compared to the fast paced North American ways. Perhaps if they added a voice feature or a hologram that would come out and shake the supplier into delivering on time; this would be the cherry on top. Moreover, the software is available in 5 different languages including Japanese. Lectra has tried to minimize these challenges by partnering with Walter Wilhelm Assocates who will help with implementation of the software.
As a (fashion) startup company, how do you currently manage your creative process, communicate with the rest of your team and take care of day to day operations?