Implementing 3D Design Into Apparel Manufacturing Workflow

Photo of Bob Zelle using the 3D softwear Browzwear

Change is hard and big changes can seem overwhelming. As the fashion industry transitions into 3D design technology there are many challenges, but all are easily managed if you have the right mindset, infrastructure and support.

Stars Design Group is built on the foundation of combining talent with technology, adopting 3D design nearly a decade ago. Now that 3D fashion design and merchandizing is entering the mainstream, there are many lessons to share.

The perspectives of Browzwear, CEO and Co-Founder, Sharon Lim, Stars Design Group CEO, Bret Schnitker, and Stars Design Group, Director of Design, Bob Zelle can be found below.

Getting Started

Bret Schnitker
“Be prepared for the financial commitment required to support the technology. 3D is a serious investment, you will want to make sure the computers can handle the new workload. Look for updated processing speeds and graphics cards. You will also want to invest in external file storage.”

Onboarding the Team

Bret Schnitker
“There are several 3D fashion design programs to choose from, each is a little different. Empower your team to find the software that best fits the company’s workflow and clients. This will get the team involved and invested in the process from the beginning.“

Sharon Lim
“Work with your people and more importantly, attach a goal to it as well. At least address the impact whether it’s to your revenue, cost or risk. Articulate to your team why you are doing this, don’t just tell them this is the new way of working. Why is this new way of working going to help the company, support the company, in its revenue, in its cost, in its risk. Address business and economic topics with your team so they understand. This drives ownership through the learning process and this can actually shorten the time.”

Bob Zelle
“Jump in and commit with the entire team. It’s tempting to slowly integrate 3D technology with a small group of designers to avoid a big disruption, but splitting a design team between 2D and 3D can cause communication gaps resulting in confusion which throws off production.”

The Learning Curve

Bob Zelle
“Starting from scratch, moving 2D designs into 3D can be daunting, but it’s important to develop and organize your design library to create a foundation. It will save you time in the long run. The time you are concerned about losing will be easily recovered using 3D design software.“

Bret Schnitker
“Have realistic expectations. Your design team isn’t going to learn everything overnight. Build additional time into projects to keep stress levels low and provide support for the transition.”

Sharon Lim
“I’ve heard of so many people that over the years have told me our company is so enthusiastic about it (3D design), we go into it but we never change the process. My leadership is still telling me to do things the old way and there’s no change. Start with the impact goals and continue to drive the change. As your people change, work along with them to change your processes and then envision the way you want to go. Evolve the process with your people, you’ve got to trust it. If you can establish the trust then you can basically change your entire workflow.”

Up and Running

Bob Zelle
“Once you learn the software and understand your workflow and needs, look for plug-ins that can streamline the process for even greater efficiency.”

Bret Schnitker
“Schedule time to grow technical skills. Technology is constantly changing and everyday tasks take up the majority of the design team’s workday. Create time to allow your team to stay up to date and learn new aspects of the programs.”

Learn more about 3D design in the fashion industry in our Clothing Coulture podcast conversation with Browzwear CEO and Co-Founder, Sharon Lim. Find us on your favorite podcast platform and our YouTube channel. 


About the experts:

Sharon LimPhoto of Sharon Lim is the CEO and Co-Founder of Browzwear, her expertise lies in establishing links between technology and fashion. Lim acquired Browzwear in 2012 after spending 8 years as a global distributor of the 3D design and merchandising platform.


Bret SchnitkerPhoto of Bret Schnitker, Stars Design Group CEO and Partner, established the company on the foundation of combining talent and technology. Schnitker believes in fostering an environment of innovation and evolution to stay ahead of the rapidly changing fashion industry.



Bob ZellePhoto of Bob Zelle is the Director of Design at Stars Design Group, and oversaw the design team’s transition from 2D photo real design to 3D design in 2013. Zelle has been a designer for 16 years and continues to build on his knowledge of 3D design in Browzwear.



Denise NaughtonPhoto of Denise Naughton, Stars Design Group is an Emmy award-winning producer and journalist who has worked in all sides of media. At Stars Design Group, Denise uses her journalism and production expertise in support of all media and communication outreach.

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