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The seeds of swatcheditor™ were sown whilst at our first trade show back in 2016. During the final day of trading we cast our eyes over the many trade stands and the vast swathes of swatches on view and we were hit by the sheer amount of potential waste that was involved in their production, as well as the ephemeral wasteful nature of the exhibition itself. After discussing this issue with some of the established studios, we discovered that there was a pre digital time not so long ago, when studios traded their original artworks on paper and sales visits were rare as most sales were made at trade shows.
This got us asking the question; do we really still need those physical printed fabric swatches and travel so much with the emergence of virtual technology?.... Or can we have the best of both worlds; an omnichannel approach for the long term? This set us on journey to imagine a way to bring the intrinsic appeal of fabric swatches together with a digital solution to make the trading experience of print designs more sustainable, effective and immersive.
"Being a creative within the fashion industry has not always sat comfortably with me, but being able to create art within fashion is my dream"
It was the recent pandemic that was the catalyst for the development of a virtual app. Not being able to visit customers and trade at exhibitions was worrying and we needed to solve the problem of connecting and trading smartly with our business clients and colleagues without being able to physically interact with them.
The digital world has had to move fast and with funding and support from UK Innovate we have been working with advanced coders and scripters to bring to life the idea of realtime interactive virtual viewing.
In May 2020 we contacted our peers in the industry to find out their thoughts on difficulties they were facing (as well as ours). Armed with information, we began to build out an MVP to make the digital experience more engaging, tackle environmental concerns and begin to build a product that added value beyond lockdown.
The product is about the backend technicalities (coding, security, growth, energy saving) as well as the important interactive capabilities. It had no name but was sent out to test with our clients and peers in October 2020. Using survey data and testing live on the RMJ Studio ecommerce site, we moved towards building a first release and commercialisation. swatcheditor™ was born in March 2021.
We have shared it with our peers including other studios, retail and trend companies, and have had a really positive initial reaction. We will be listening to our subscribers future wants and needs to continually push the technical boundaries of swatcheditor™. Creating advanced contigency, a hybrid physical and digital backbone to work within and smarter sustainable work practices is our priority.
Our phygital journey doesn’t stop here though....we are only just starting!
Like you, we are a technical curious company, and we are inspired by the need for sustainable change in an advancing digital world. We want to be part of the digital transformation in fashion manufacturing and share, buy and sell print swatches more efficiently, and more sustainably.
Our team have developed the beginnings of a pioneering real-time 3D viewing and editing app. A r/evolutionary tool, designed for creatives by creatives, implementing our shared belief in sustainable business practices.
We promise to continue to research and develop the digital transformation within the fashion manufacturing cycle for surface pattern designers. Let's choose to trade more efficiently and more sustainably. Together we can help promote a greener cleaner world!
Roseanna & Hugh
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