Shima Seiki and KIDDI launch digital solutions for the apparel industry

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Wakayama & Tokyo, Japan

Sales promotion package will link 3D Fashion Design with Cross-Reality – realising digital catalogues, VR showrooms and new customer experience allowing 360-degree viewing without actual samples.

Leading fashion technologist Shima Seiki of Wakayama, Japan together with Tokyo based telecommunications company KDDI Corporation, have launched ‘XR Mannequin for APEXFiz’, a sales promotion package that links Shima Seiki’s APEXFiz design software for the apparel industry with KDDI’s XR (cross-reality) technology.

XR Mannequin for APEXFiz will be offered to the apparel industry. Using an XR Mannequin that enables viewers to check product images from any angle in 360 degrees on various devices, XR Mannequin for APEXFiz enables digital catalogues with 3D virtual sample image data of garments designed on APEXFiz design software, 360-degree VR showrooms, as well as digitally extended stores.

It also realizes virtual proposals at exhibitions, showroom-style stores with no inventory, and user-friendly purchase experience on e-commerce sites, and more. It also allows users to reduce excess stock at stores and create new sales opportunities.

Eventually, by adding movement to models wearing Virtual Samples and rendering them on a cloud server, customers will be able to view high-resolution virtual fashion shows on their smartphones and other devices.

XR mannequin for APEXFiz concept video…

Visitors to Shima Seiki’s 60th Anniversary event which opened on September 1, 2022, will be able to experience XR Mannequin for APEXFiz first-hand.

Background and aim

Until now, the apparel industry has been making actual product samples in each of the planning and design stages of production. This process not only takes an enormous amount of time and cost but generates waste of raw materials including fabric that require disposal. At the retail stage, stores also needed to have various sizes and colours in stock to address a wide range of customer preferences, resulting in excess inventory.

With Shima Seiki’s APEXFiz, designs can be evaluated without making actual samples, minimising resources spent on sample production as well as lead time, enabling environmentally friendly manufacturing.

In May 2022, KDDI developed a high-resolution XR mannequin for apparel sales, with support from Google Cloud. It enables various devices such as store signages and smartphones to check products from any angle in 360 degrees, enabling stores to sell products without maintaining inventory.

Shima Seiki and KDDI combines APEXFiz and XR Mannequin to start providing XR Mannequin for APEXFiz. This brings DX solutions to all stages in the supply chain for the apparel industry, from planning and design to sample making, production, distribution, and retail sales.

Shima Seiki and KDDI will continue to create services together that link each other’s products, to bring about a sustainable society by reducing excess stock and providing a customer experience that gives peace of mind when purchasing products.

Features of XR Mannequin for APEXFiz

Virtual Samples created on APEXFiz and distributed with KDDI’s XR Mannequin can be viewed by customers from any angle in 360 degrees, three-dimensionally. This way, the seller can communicate product information in AR at the store or in VR in a space created to match product concept, resulting in sales promotion. Links to e-commerce sites can also be attached to each product to navigate customers toward purchases.

Design data created on APEXFiz can be converted into data for WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine production, enabling on-demand production of orders for knitwear generated through use of XR Mannequin for APEXFiz, resulting in production with minimal wasted-resources and minimised stress on the environment.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki

Scenarios using XR Mannequin for APEXFiz [Immediately available scenarios]

  1. Digital catalogues

Use of realistic Virtual Samples enables users to create digital catalogues without actual products. Users are able to propose products to customers without maintaining stock at the store and use the catalogues as a sales promotion tool by linking to e-commerce and payment systems. Digital catalogues are based on the free-angle video distribution platform provided by MasterVisions Inc.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki
  1. 360-degree VR showrooms

Using au XR Door’s web edition, Virtual Samples can be exhibited in a VR space that matches the product concept, to be viewed from any angle in 360 degrees. Showrooms can be displayed anywhere as they are digital, enabling customers to see products anywhere, at any time, even in places which would otherwise be unfit for display in reality.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki

Experience a demo here

* au XR Door is a smartphone service by KDDI, enabling users to enjoy various VR spaces by passing through an AR door shown on the screen.

  1. Digitally extended stores

When customers hold their smartphones in the air inside the store, the camera recognizes the view and displays content and information in specific areas, enabling the seller to extend the store space digitally. Customers unable to visit the store can have a 360-degree VR store space displayed at home to enjoy a similar experience. This enables the seller to promote the store to people overseas and in remote locations to attract customers.

Experience a demo here

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki
  1. Virtual display with smart glasses

Wearing Nreal Light smart glasses, the user will see a Virtual Sample projected three-dimensionally in front of them, allowing the user to walk around the sample 360-degrees. This allows virtual displays without actual products and requiring minimum space.

* Nreal Light refers to smart glasses KDDI developed together with Nreal.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki
  1. Product PR and retail enhancement using virtual humans

The virtual human ‘coh’, an XR Mannequin developed by au VISION STUDIO, is used for product PR and to enhance the retail experience. coh in this image is wearing a virtual WHOLEGARMENT dress.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki
  1. Checking high-resolution Virtual Samples through cloud rendering

Google Cloud’s Immersive Stream for XR is used to store and distribute high-resolution Virtual Samples in their entirety in a content management system without having to reduce data size, which requires a lot of work in conventional XR content production. Users can enjoy viewing Virtual Samples in VR and AR at the same quality regardless of device performance.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki
  1. Virtual fashion shows

Virtual fashion shows can be distributed through Immersive Stream for XR, with movement added to models wearing Virtual Samples placed in the desired environment and with meticulous stage direction, enabling customers to enjoy shows interactively in high-resolution through VR and AR from any angle in 360 degrees.

© Shima Seiki
© Shima Seiki

Shima Seiki inquiry form

APEXFiz

A subscription service for design software developed by Shima Seiki, APEXFiz is used in various industries including fashion and apparel, for planning and designing products through to virtual sampling, connecting to production, and generating images for e-commerce sites. Links to KDDI’s XR products are possible on the SDS-ONE APEX series as well, depending on the model.

APEXFiz product information page

Shima Seiki’s 60th Anniversary Event

Shima Seiki is holding its 60th Anniversary event from September 1st through November 30th, 2022, at its headquarters in Wakayama, Japan. Visitors from apparel companies and their supply chains can experience XR Mannequin for APEXFiz which is on display in cooperation with KDDI (reservations are required to prevent the spread of COVID).

A special website is also available for anyone to visit and experience part of XR Mannequin for APEXFiz online.

KDDI’s Apparel DX Initiatives

Since 2021, KDDI’s creative team ‘au VISION STUDIO’ has been taking on initiatives to support sample- less and sustainable manufacturing with no wasted resources, by digitally transforming sample production in the apparel industry’s product planning and design stages.

au VISION STUDIO

Based on initiatives set with a vision for the future, the studio uses state-of-the-art technologies and ideas such as 5G and XR, and the expertise from KDDI’s past efforts, to take on planning, production and social implementation of advanced experiences as one team.

www.shimaseiki.com