Connecting Physical Materials With Virtual Ideas

Textile development is often complex. The common tools used to source materials from suppliers are the company’s internal textile database and a communication platform. The use of specializes software should have made tasks easier to do, but instead the use of different systems throughout the supply chain makes things more complicated, resulting in inefficient workflow processes. 

The discord between different systems is just one of the problems that going digital has presented. More challenges arise from not using the appropriate textile collaboration platform.



1) The Problem With Digital Textile Platforms


Although digital systems and software are expected to make sourcing and selling easier and more efficient, they can be counterproductive if they miss featuring the key elements that garment mills and designers look for in a textile collaboration platform.

Here are the common problems that garment factories and fashion designers encounter when using digital platforms:

  • Incomplete context for comparison

If only the weight and color of the textile are displayed, it’s impossible to make conclusions on its strength, texture, thread count, yarn size, drape, and other unprovided attributes.  Comparison between two suppliers offering almost the same fabric is a vital part of the procurement process. However, working on a system with incomplete information makes it unthinkable to create a comparison between textiles and analyze their costs. For instance, if Textile A has all the data on tearing, shrinkage, and tests, while Textile B has missing information on the same attributes, it’s more logical to go with Textile A, even if Textile B is cheaper.

  • Lack of popularity
Mills won’t waste effort inputting all information on a platform that has limited exposure to buyers. The buyer’s side has the same sentiment as they won’t purchase off a platform with fabrics that have incomplete data sets.

  • Difference in synthesizing data

This is what typically happens when a business uses different systems:
Users input data into System A. Reports are created by System A and are forwarded to System B. However, since these two are different systems, the information from System A is labeled differently in System B. Therefore, manual intervention is needed wherein an employee will be tasked to transcribe the data from System A and input them into System B. This whole process is inefficient, costly, and prone to errors. 

  • Missing information

A major problem in the textile industry that prolongs development and sourcing is the need to provide complete information about a material. Name brands want only the best quality for their product, so they often ask for information that will help them gauge whether the eyed textile is fit for their particular design. Performance test results is one of the requirements often asked by clients from suppliers. However, this area is typically riddled with problems due to the lack of information displayed on collaborative textile databases.  Who tested the material? What material and what kind of test was done in the process? When and where the test was conducted? Is the testing center a recognized and trusted body in the textile industry? These are the questions that must be answered by the data in the digital textile library. The standards used in the testing procedure are also vital in analyzing the color, water resistance, antifungal activity, and fiber quantity and quality of the fabric material. The testing methods conducted by the AATCC, JIS, GB, and EN are the trusted standards by manufacturers and fashion designers worldwide. Fashion companies value the kinds of chemicals used in manufacturing the textiles they source, especially when sustainability is part of their branding. Besides, garment mills aren’t supposed to use chemicals in the Restricted Substances List (RSL).

To ensure that fabrics are safe to wear, brands can ask for certifications like OEKO-TEX, bluesign®, and ZDHC from suppliers. Failing to provide any of these can cast doubts on the safety and sustainability of the textile, resulting in designers looking for another garment mill that passes their environment-hazard standards. Companies spend a lot of money on PLMs and 3D clothing design software to enhance the connection between virtual ideas and physical materials. However, these systems come with no pre-loaded information about fabrics, so they remain inefficient without a platform that will feed them the appropriate data. 

All these requirements and information are hard to track and keep in line with production timelines. But with an advanced textile collaboration platform like Frontier, these challenges can be eliminated.

Why Frontier is More than Just a Digital Textile Library


Frontier is the most comprehensive textile collaboration platform containing data-rich material that makes it easier to connect the virtual and the physical textile supply chains. It is the largest cloud-based database containing tens of thousands of textiles from over 500 fabric mills and suppliers. 

Frontier accelerates virtual sampling, visualization, and merchandising. It also speeds up the sourcing process, providing faster lead times between name brands and textile suppliers. Generally, the platform also makes it easier to integrate information into Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. 

By providing everything there is to know about a fabric, material sourcing can be reduced from months into days. 


To further dive into detail, here are the challenges the Frontier addresses with ease:

  • It provides comprehensive textile information



There’s no need to spend on expensive testing machines to determine the quality of the fabric displayed on the platform. Garment mills can simply supply the key testing metrics used in the textile they’re selling so that buyers can see it right away and avoid guessing material quality.

Having complete data sets in every fabric displayed on the platform is crucial in the decision-making process of buyers on whether to proceed with the purchase or look for another supplier.

Future developments will also roll out a side-by-side comparison of materials, standard comparison to make testing data useable, and standardization of textile terms throughout the platform

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  • Simplify data uploads

The Frontier platform was designed to simplify data upload between brands and mills and quickly digitize their physical material libraries. Digitizing physical inventories will also optimize warehouse management. 

What makes Frontier different from other textile collaboration platforms is its utilization of AI to improve the overall search and upload function of the system. One of its greatest advantages is how it automatically extracts specifications, identify patterns, and summarize test result data from a standard PDF report. 

Every textile company has its physical inventory of available fabrics. Digital versions of textiles can be uploaded without the need for special hardware.

  • Ensures compatibility 

  • An issue with using different systems is compatibility issues. The problem stems from software having exclusive data protocols to encourage users to continuously use their platform. This hinders virtual supply chains from having a seamless flow of information for more efficient and real-time processing.

    Frontier is the gate that connects the physical world to the digital realm. It’s also a textile collaboration platform that creates close relationships between world-class textile mills and name brands for a seamless interaction and integration.>

    • Connects existing systems

    Frontier won’t be called a complete textile collaboration platform if it can’t connect two systems and make information consistent, flowing, and error-free. It is built to be able to easily integrate into multiple systems through API protocols.

    Frontier allows fabric mill data points to be uploaded into different platforms and software. Textile data like its stretch, drape, and visual attributes can be uploaded to 3D clothing design software and rendering programs. Technical data specifications like strength, abrasion, tear, color, material, and moisture management, can be populated into the PLM system used by a brand. This feature of Frontier eliminates the need to manually input every data from a PDF report or email. 

    • Allows enhanced fabric searchability

    There are millions of garment mills in the world that produce different kinds and qualities of textiles. On average, a small clothing company uses 500 different kinds of materials sourced from 20 different suppliers.