Rasta Imposta has put many a Bob Marley lookalike on the street with its Rasta Hat, the original creation that launched the company 20 years ago and became its signature item. Building on the success of the original hat and its sewn-in dreadlocks, founder Robert Berman continued to launch funny hat designs that became popular on ski slopes and were often featured in the press.
From there, the transformation from headwear manufacturer to costume designer was natural; a costume collection was introduced in 1998. Today, Rasta Imposta offers humorous costumes for kids and adults of all ages, including licensed branded costumes ranging from the Campbell's soup can and a package of Skittles to the Grateful Dead bear and the Chiquita banana.
Like many apparel companies that start small and scale up - the company has tripled revenues from $5 million to $20 million in the past nine years - Rasta began by creating patterns and markers by hand. Pattern blocks were stored on hangers on clothing racks, which occupied a lot of space at the company's facility.
As the company grew, the inefficiency of its manual processes became more of a drag on resources and was hindering design and development; additionally, costs associated with the manual processes were eating into the bottom line. For example, sending its large and heavy cardboard pattern pieces toChina was expensive, said Amy Pendola, designer. From a quality perspective, there was another drawback to the cardboard block patterns. As she explains, "When you're tracing around something so many times, you eventually start to lose some of it, and the pattern starts to change."
Rasta Imposta sought a solution that would eliminate many of its manual processes. It selected Optitex PDS, which has enabled the company to completely change how it creates and submits patterns to its offshore manufacturers.
Today, designers use PDS to digitize and print patterns that were previously hand drafted. Digital files are exported to Adobe Illustrator, and tech packs that include both .PDS and .AI files are created and emailed to its factories for counter sample production.
If the costume includes graphics - which most do - the graphics team creates designs from the files for sublimation onto a sample that is created in house and sent to the factory.
The software has dramatically reduced design-to-development cycle time, eliminating manual processes, enabling designers to easily work from the digital library of stored patterns and speeding up com- Rasta Imposta has drastically reduced the design-to-development time of its costumes by converting from a manual to a digital pattern creation process.
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