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THE NEW ERA OF FASHION WITH 3D: INTERVIEW TO NELE, FOUNDER OF I FEEL IT.YOU?

Updated: Dec 9, 2021


3D Academy started the collaboration with I FEEL IT. YOU? about a year ago.

It was important for me to see the styles on the 3D models first, to even understand if I like what we were creating,” says Nele Jaanimägi, founder – both with her husband Henri - of I FEEL IT. YOU? a tennis lifestyle brand made by a collective of multi-hyphenate creatives and freelancers.


There’s a lot to say about sustainability. How important is this topic for you?


We at I FEEL IT. YOU? are not perfect, but we are transparent and continue to grow and evolve with time and would love to include our customers in this conversation. We believe sustainability should be a permanent mindset of all organizations and people in general and not just a one-off thing. It should be a basic right for a consumer to know what company she is dealing with, e.g., how sustainable is the cotton that your t-shirt was made of, or why a particular material or treatment is better than the others.


What convinced you to reduce your environmental impact?

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I vividly remember a data point I saw at the Sustainable Angle Fair in London and that stuck with me - that 95% of the product impact lies in the material choice.

Understanding that, we produce our T-shirts from 100% Tencel™ Lyocell, which stands for cellulosic fibres from wood pulp produced using a unique technology of closed-loop production cycles, where the water and 99% of the chemicals are recovered and reused and wood pulp itself comes from sustainably managed forests.


What is the element that differentiates I FEEL IT. YOU? in terms of sustainability?



I FEEL IT. YOU? Collection

Most of the sportswear available today in the market are treated with moisture-wicking treatments, which include a lot of nasty chemicals and are fossil fuel-based. Not only is it bad for the environment, but also no one should have this type of fabric on their skin. Instead, all our natural materials are treated with seed oils from the Swiss company Beyond Surface Technologies. This revolutionary formula achieves high levels of textile performance (moisture-wicking, softness) while radically lowering carbon emissions (up to 60% CO2 reduction vs similar performing, synthetic standard products), and consists of 76% biocarbon content.

In addition, we incorporated 3D design technology into product development that allows us to significantly cut the need for unnecessary prototype production, win time and reduce the impact of waste, becoming a more sustainable business.


Do you think that with 3D technology you could improve the development process?


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Coming from a fashion and apparel background but having no experience in production, it was an obvious decision for me to incorporate 3D designing into I FEEL IT. YOU? product development and prototyping phase.


That enabled us to make a lot of alterations to the first prototype digitally without producing the physical samples, which reduced the time and cost of going back and forth with the production facility in Portugal. We definitely had a learning curve, but mostly because designing and producing a garment was a new area and experience for me personally.


Tell us more about the customer buying experience. How this is influenced by 3D?

I FEEL IT. YOU? Collection

Regarding the customer buying experience, we have just touched the surface here using our digital 3D samples as product images on our website. There are a lot of things we could improve and make the customer experience better in the future, incorporating AI models, movements etc. Using 3D product images on our website is one of the small steps we could take today to be more thoughtful and sustainable.


In the actual scenario, do you think there is any Brand that is pioneering the changes in Fashion technology?


I think we live in a very fascinating time with continuous digital and scientific innovation in fashion, and with many new interesting start-ups popping up in this space.

As my interest in digital design grows, I love what The Fabricant is doing, they are really pioneering the digital fashion space to make clothes available digitally. In addition to that, I would mention RTFKT that sells virtual reality sneakers. Also, I love all the material science companies that bring new and innovative fabrics and treatments to the market. Like Pangaia’s water-based black ink made from air pollution or Post Carbon Lab from the UK experimenting with living garments that inhale Co2 from the atmosphere and replace it with fresh oxygen.


The last two years have transformed the business. In your opinion, which are the challenges for the Fashion Industry today, due to the Covid-19? And how this pandemic has changed the way of producing clothes?


The pandemic has accelerated the speed of digital adoption in fashion with multiple new

I FEEL IT. YOU? Collection

innovations and technologies appearing on the market that gain popularity with consumers (e.g., NFT, digital twins…). It may pose a challenge for many brands to keep up with the innovation in order to stay relevant for the consumer of the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the physical retail will disappear but I think the retail concepts as such will have to change drastically and for the better – creating immersive and highly engaging experiences for the customer.

From a small brand point of view, the pandemic has brought multiple challenges, potentially resulting in lower competitiveness vs bigger brands. In times of limited production capacities and employee shortages (in the mills, production facilities), big brands have an advantage as being able to give sizeable volume guarantees and as such occupy the very limited production capacity left (both in fabric and garment production), putting smaller brands at the back of the queue.


How 3D Academy has helped you to achieve your goals?


We have worked with 3D Academy from the early days of I FEEL IT. YOU? It was important for me to see the styles on the 3D models first, to even understand if I like what we were creating. Also, it helped to reduce my insecurities coming into this business without a product and designing background. I could right away see the print proportions, colours, logo placement, all digitally, and make all the adjustments before producing the physical samples. E.g., it was very important to come up with the right print, which we kept changing a few times until we were happy with the result and then sending it to the printing house for test make. The print on paper and on the T-shirt sketch can look very different on the actual person.

I definitely want to continue with this workflow of incorporating the