Going Digital: The New Beginning of Garment Sampling

The fashion industry is constantly advancing, changing, and reinventing itself. However, the traditional fabric sourcing process of physical fabric samples requires suppliers to send thousands of fabric swatches to designers, brands, and houses so that they can create their designs. The worst part is that they often select only 5% of all samples sent. 

It makes the apparel production process slower, expensive, and environmentally harmful. According to Bloomberg, fashion accounts for up to 10% of the world's carbon dioxide production, so today, it is necessary to include a more efficient and sustainable method. 

One trend that is making headway in solving this problem is to digitize the physical fabric swatches at scale by leveraging AI technology, enabling seamless digital fabric sourcing, and leading to a more efficient and conscious production process.

This post tells you everything you need to know about the virtual sampling process, its advantages, and how it can optimize the fashion industry to reduce fabric waste. 

Let's get started!

Traditional Fabric Sampling vs. Digital Fabric Sampling

Let's consider the change that the 3D virtual sampling process brings to the fashion industry.  Let’s compare the pros and cons of traditional vs. physical sampling methods.

Traditional sampling method 

The creation of fabric samples takes a series of steps from fiber selection, weaving, and fabric texture, then design, sizing, cutting, and sewing the garment. During all these steps, there is an expense in labor, time, exploitation of raw materials, and a considerable amount of chemical waste, natural resources, and energy. 

The 3D virtual sampling process with AI 

Digital sampling is a confection and design process done through computers. In this way, with the help of AI, the type of fiber, textural, fabric, color, and print is selected for any garment, and there is a vision of the final product without wasting time or material. 


To show you the differences between one and the other, we compare them under four parameters: production, time, cost, and environmental impact. 

Let's dive in!


  • Traditional: This process requires suppliers to transfer hundreds and hundreds of fabric swatches to the designers so that they can select the type of fabric, color, and print they want, and sewing machines, looms, and the garments’ chemical compositions to make sampling models.
  • Virtual sampling: no demands for relocation, as suppliers manage their inventory digitally through AI, using standard scanners to load materials and 2D designs into computers so that designers can see the fabric, create a garment and make any changes, to select the fabric they need.


  • Traditional: Wait for the fabric swatches to arrive and spend time selecting fabrics, inventory management, measurements, cutting, and sewing. 
  • Virtual sampling: Loading the materials as 2D fabrics layer by layer takes minutes, depending on the program, and the tool allows less than 3 minutes to download an accurate design model.


  • Traditional: The physical construction of designs from actual fabrics implies that brands, fashion houses, and designers spend on raw materials, labor investments, and creating different samples until they obtain a product that meets their expectations and quality standards. 
  • Virtual sampling: This implies a considerable cost reduction since they do not have to spend on raw materials, just use the AI-enhanced digital fabric and adjust their 3D virtual models as they require before they create the garments.

Environmental impact 

  • Traditional:  It predominantly harms the planet from the excessive waste it generates, the many chemicals dumped into the water, air, and soil, the amount of water used, and the energy to run all that machinery.  It produces 1. 92 million tons of textile waste yearly.

  • Virtual sampling: Considerably reduces the carbon footprint impact of the fashion industry on the planet since you can see the fabric environmental impact data and select the most environmentally friendly fabrics that cause less harm to the environment. AI and machine learning allow us to determine the 3D digital model’s design, silhouette, and proportions to obtain the ideal garment before its physical production, reducing physical sample-making. 

How to optimize the sampling process?

  • Use of digital fabrics

It allows brands to have no limitations on materials, colors, prints, or textures; the options are endless. It also allows them to see how the unique characteristics of each material fit each design to the silhouette of their model.

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Digital Fabric Specifications on Frontier.cool's Platform

  • Foster an efficient digital inventory 

The 3D virtual sampling process enables creators to manage materials and fabrics digitally. This process gives them 360° visibility of their inventory management, the fabrics they have at their disposal, and which they can use and discard for each model without leaving the physical site. 

  • Embrace robust digital collaboration 

Digital fabric sampling enables effective collaboration between teams. It opens a unique communication bridge that helps all members have access to the progress of the production process of each design in complete integration.

  • Leverage environmentally friendly fabrics

It allows users to know or measure the environmental impact of the fabrics they select for each garment, allowing them to make the appropriate changes for an efficient use of resources. 

What is 3D virtual sampling with Frontier?

Our rapid 3D digital fabric sampling technique utilizes standard scanners to upload the fabric sample specifications to our TextileCloud™ platform in less than 30 seconds, thanks to AI and machine learning technology that delivers high-fidelity downloadable U3M and glTF files.

Does implementing a digital sampling process demand a high investment?

Adopting a digital sampling process in manufacturing does not have to imply a high cost for manufacturers, suppliers, or fashion brands. Buying expensive devices, software, or product is not necessary.

Hence, different technological platforms like Frontier. cool’s TextileCloud™ facilitates the implementation of a digital modeling creation process that is faster, more accessible, and efficient, and even takes care of the training and coaching of the staff to make its adoption as smooth as possible. 

Let’s wrap up!

The AI-enhanced digital fabric allows fashion industry players to become more aware of the future and the sustainable needs of our planet. It accelerates the virtual fabric sourcing, design ideation process, and creation of garments, resulting in a more cost-effective and time-efficient method.

These technological innovations powered by AI set the tone for the textile industry stakeholders to start adopting a new digital workflow that leaves behind excessive physical sample-making, waste of natural resources, and the creation of garments that precisely meet the expectations of the brands. 

Sign up for our upcoming webinar to completely understand this new trend