Business
Kaunas IN.
2022 06 28
Virtual fashion solutions are being developed in Kaunas for future prospects that promise more sustainability

Will the ability to try on a garment virtually help prevent impulsive purchases that end up unworn in the closets? Or perhaps instead of experimenting and wasting real fabrics, fashion designers will be able to choose materiality for their creations and get great results that would conserve the rapidly depleting natural resources?

 

We spoke to the lecturer and researcher of the Faculty of Informatics of Vytautas Magnus University Dr. Edgaras Ščiglinskas, who has been working with a team on virtual fashion projects in Kaunas for several years now, about what virtual fashion can and cannot do.

 

E. Ščiglinskas, the head of the Multimedia laboratory at VMU Faculty of Informatics, together with students and partners develops various projects using different multimedia technologies: from applied software/system prototypes to research that uses multimedia technologies and also seeks to examine its own certain features.

 

One of the areas that the researcher and his team have been focusing on lately is the application of 3D graphics and game technologies to develop various solutions/prototypes.

 

“We are not just focused on games, but rather on more diverse processes, such as simulation systems, applications of virtual environments and reality, and research using virtual environments. One of such works that gained greater prominence was a virtual fashion project with Lithuanian fashion designers,” E. Ščiglinskas says.

 

What is virtual fashion?

According to the researcher, there is currently no exact definition of virtual, or digital, fashion.

 

“I would like to say that these are solutions for digitizing clothing with 3D graphics, but I also hear and read about the solutions of artificial intelligence that are used to create virtual fashion. And the application of these technologies can vary. It can be about creating a garment in the industry, or a mere form of artistic expression, not to mention the gaming industry, virtual reality and Metaverse in general,” the head of the Multimedia lab explains.

Author: Rugilė Pluščiauskaitė.

 

There is already a clear potential for this technology to address a number of challenges we face now and will face even more painfully in the future: the unbridled mass production of clothing and the limited number of materials (fabrics) that cannot be enough for everyone, unsustainable production processes and the huge waste generated by the clothing industry.

 

Digital solutions are already helping to improve some production processes and save on material consumption and transportation costs. In addition, the virtual space, which accurately reproduces reality, allows you to experiment and create freely as well as discover new platforms that present fashion creations.

 

Virtual fashion projects with Lithuanian designers

This is precisely the platform that a continuous project was turned into after computer scientists and fashion specialists joined forces. They are lecturers, researchers, and students from VMU Multimedia and Internet Technologies program and Kazimieras Simonavičius University Fashion Industry program.

 

In experimenting with digital fashion, 3D collections were presented by such well-known fashion designers as Seržas Gandžumianas, Ramunė Strazdaitė, and Rasa Juškevičienė, who transferred her capsule collection to the virtual space.

 

In the first project, 6 clothing models were recreated from two-dimensional sketches, and a prototype application based on augmented reality technology was created, depicting these clothes in real space, adding new layers of information – digital clothing – to the environment.

 

In the second year, working with R. Juškevičienė’s collection, three models were digitized and depicted in 9 different ways. To this end, two interactively managed application prototypes have been developed to view digitized clothing, see their different versions, colors and so on.

 

Technological challenges and future prospects

When asked why he found the topic interesting and relevant, the technology scientist says that he is neither a fashion expert nor thinks that his personal style would fit the experiments, he is simply interested in process control technologies, especially since he had already touched upon them while working on game characters and their clothing design.

 

However, digitizing clothing from two-dimensional sketches by designers has proven to be a significant challenge. So, it was interesting to test how realistically today’s technology helps to create fashion.

 

Currently, the designing process allows you to create highly complex garments, realistically simulate fabrics or materials, display clothing using physically based rendering techniques, and create animated and dynamic garments. The key issue is the integration or application of this digitized clothing in end-user systems, especially when using real-time display technologies such as video games or graphics engines.

 

“We have limited resources in these systems (for example, in smart devices, conventional computers), so we cannot take full advantage of the tools provided by clothing simulation and design, so we have to compromise: sacrifice the realistic look of the garment, the detail, and so on,” E. Ščiglinskas notes and adds, “Although, in theory, digitized fashion can help solve many fundamental problems of the clothing industry, I do not think it has a significant impact on the average fashion consumer yet, because there are very few complete and developed applications, especially in Lithuania. In other countries where the industry is more developed and generally larger, a much closer collaboration is taking place between the fashion industry and researchers, who are analyzing and creating the same or similar solutions and developing the digital fashion technologies.”

Author: Rugilė Pluščiauskaitė.

 

The Multimedia Laboratory of the VMU Faculty of Informatics is working quite extensively on this topic. In cooperation with designers, dynamic and animated digital clothes are created, experiments with graphic or game engines are taking place, and the digitized clothing is being integrated into them.

 

According to the lecturer, virtual fashion technologies developed in Kaunas not only allow students to contribute to the development of digital fashion, but also provide an opportunity to touch upon the design technologies, teach them how to work on large projects, develop competencies in team communication and problem solving.

Source: Author: Rugilė Pluščiauskaitė.