PI Apparel brings together the leading minds from fashion, apparel and footwear to discuss the challenges and innovations disrupting the industry.

This year’s event in New York explored the strategies and technologies advancing digital product creation, with additional tracks on sustainability, PLM, AI and scaling business assets to meet new demands. Retailers from such brands as Ralph Lauren, LVMH, Athleta, Kohls, Perry Ellis, Foot Locker, Champion, PVH, Urban Outfitters, Carhartt and more joined thought leaders, vendors, manufacturers and designers for two days of immersive discussions, presentations and demonstrations. Headlines from the event focused on 3D technology and AI-driven predictive design. Both of which are fundamentally shifting product development and lifecycle management. Unlike modest evolutions in the industry, the digitization of physical products is uprooting how brands are meeting consumer demands and creating new speed to market baselines.

While AI has headlined industry discussions for the last several years, this year retailers are seeing the applications of data-driven design and development. 3-D technology is now being used to create digital assets/product proto-types, reduce sample needs, enhance fit and enable merchandising and marketing to stay in sync with end-to-end product management.  This technology can potentially be used to create patterns and product prototypes, saving money, time and resources along the way. 3D coupled with AI is leading the industry from responsive to predictive business management. Designers can now imagine product direction and digitally create minimal risk creations fueled with data from consumers, the market, trends, economics and more. They can even make more sustainably sound decisions with intelligent input on materials, factory sourcing and production carbon impact. 

Brands are realizing the benefits of technology across their organizations from process integration to productivity scaling. Not only is technology enabling stronger margins, but it is driving greater product adoption rates and ultimately consumer return reduction through better fits and demand-driven assortments. AI is now being introduced earlier in the product development cycle at the design stage which will maximize benefits and positively impact decisions from source to shelf and even through resale.

According to Columbus Consulting’s PLM retail expert, Suzanne Auyeung who attended the PI Apparel show this year, “not only was this show well-attended, but the content was substantial and the participants were notably varied from product developers to tech partners. 3D was definitely the star of the show as new vendors are quickly solving for complex industry challenges, supplementing PLM applications with AI. Retail has entered a new age of digitally-enabled business optimization. The key for designers and merchandisers will be to keep the brand differentiated and consistent in order to maintain market share and consumer loyalty.”

For more information on how 3-D technology, AI and other retail technologies can drive profit and performance, contact Columbus Consulting at: https://www.columbusconsulting.com/contact-us/


COLUMBUS CONSULTING delivers solutions that drive true value and have been transforming the retail and CPG industries for over two decades. We are a retail consulting company of industry experts. Our approach is simple, if you do it, we do it. We are more than consultants; we are experienced practitioners who actually sat in our clients’ seats. We understand the challenges, know what questions to ask and deliver the right solutions. Columbus offers a unique, consumer-centric approach with an end-to-end perspective that bridges functional & organization silos from strategy to execution. Our specialties include: unified commerce, merchandising & category management, planning & inventory management, sourcing & supply chain, data & analytics, accounting, finance & operations, people & organization and information technology. Let us know how we can help you. To learn more, visit COLUMBUSCONSULTING.COM.

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