In the Apparel Industry, the Product Design and Development Cycle is a creative process through which a company brings forth a concept and transforms it into a finished sample, ready for mass production. This process, also known as the Fashion Cycle, has been practiced for decades. For each company, the cycle varies depending on the types of products in production, the size of the company, the scale of the production and the locations where the products are produced. The Apparel industry tends to be much slower than other industries to adopt new technology. Yet in the areas of textile design and development and apparel merchandising, Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology has created a noticeable shift in the normal sample process in a relatively short period of time. In addition to CAD technology, the new digital textile printing technology also promises to create important changes in the design and sampling process as well. In this thesis project, as a digital textile designer and an apparel designer, I have pursued the question, how has digital technology reshaped the Product Design and Development Cycle? As a result of this investigation I have created a presentation of a digital creative process I refer to as the Design Cycle. The steps in the Design Cycle are based on the creative process and digital technology I used to design and develop a small collection of apparel and textile designs. With this example I hope to educate people who might not already be familiar with the Product Design and Development Cycle for apparel and textile design. Additionally I hope to connect with designers from other industries who might also relate to the steps in this creative process and consider the similarities and differences between creative processes, and other Design Cycle applications.
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