By: S.Oliver


Designers at leading European Apparel Company reinvent ten clothing lines each month and push the creative envelope using Adobe� Illustrator� and Photoshop� software

Challenges
► Reinvent ten clothing lines each month
► Devise innovative, beautiful clothing lines
► Leverage and customize existing clothing styles and textile designs
► Collaborate smoothly with manufacturers
► Integrate design software with a centralized Geac product data management (PDM) system


Some apparel manufacturers market a single brand of clothing and change it four times a year with the seasons, but not s.Oliver. The international clothing manufacturer produces an entirely new collection every 4 weeks across 10 different brands�as well as designing up to 120 new textiles monthly per brand. Designers at s.Oliver must work as productively as possible while keeping the clothing and textile designs fresh and appealing. s.Oliver has found that Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software provide a systematic way of expediting, managing, and controlling the creative process.

�s.Oliver is an extremely fast-paced business,� explains Kurt Engel, IT infrastructure team leader for s.Oliver. �If you calculate how many textiles and apparel items we create each year across ten different brands, it�s staggering. Our designers literally couldn�t do their jobs without Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.�



�If you calculate how many textiles and apparel items we create each year across ten different brands, it�s staggering. Our designers literally couldn�t do their jobs without Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.�
Kurt Engel, IT infrastructure team leader, s.Oliver


30 years and millions oIf garments later

s.Oliver Bernd Freier GmbH & Co. (s.Oliver) started as a simple clothing shop in southern Germany in 1969. The company has since grown to a multimillion-dollar company with brands such as s.Oliver Casual, s.Oliver Selection, QS by s.Oliver, the sublabel comma, and more, targeted to a broad consumer base. Today the s.Oliver group markets its highly varied products in more than 300 s.Oliver stores and 1,000 shop-in-shops, and in 1,330 sales areas. In dozens of s.Oliver showrooms across Europe, buyers for retail stores flock to preview and purchase the latest in fashion apparel.

s.Oliver got to where it is today by producing appealing clothing and textiles and constantly refining its processes. Both textile and apparel designers at the company have mastered the art of creative efficiency, with the help of IT staff and the wise use of technology.

Tools for creativity


Textile designers use Photoshop to create unique fabric textures, colors, and patterns, from subtle checks to daring animal prints. Every textile design is stored in a centralized Geac product data management (PDM) system that�s accessible to all s.Oliver designers. �Using Photoshop, our textile designers have a rich set of tools for creating color combinations, repeating patterns, creating tonal designs that look like watercolors, producing simple woven effects, and more,� says Marius Foerster, IT support agent for s.Oliver.



Apparel designers begin by roughing out ideas in Adobe Illustrator, a tool that combines the precision of computer-aided design (CAD) software with the intuitiveness of graphic design software. Each time they finish a design, they save every pocket, button, and zipper they�ve created to the Illustrator Symbols palette. They can then access the Symbols palette to fill in their designs, drawing from a rich pool of possible details and quickly filling in repeating details such as rows of buttons. Designers also can retrieve textile designs to customize each garment.

�Using Illustrator, designers can add detail to their sketches using a spray-paint tool or simply by dragging details from the palette,� says Foerster. �Illustrator helps designers create unique garments in less time because they do not have to redraw everything from scratch.�

Defining the details

Apparel designers use graphic styles in Illustrator much like swatches with specific strokes and fills. After designing a style of seam stitching, for instance, designers can save it as a style and quickly apply it to other parts of a garment. They can also edit styles and when they do, any objects in the Illustrator file that already have that style applied are updated as well.

�The Graphic Styles palette is perfect for making seams, filling in shading, or refining the most detailed parts of a garment,� says Foerster. �Illustrator provides many ways for our designers to work by selecting preconfigured design elements to help save time.�


When they�re finished, designers store final garment designs in the PDM system. Everyone working on designs can access and retrieve the Illustrator files as templates to leverage each other�s work.



Once designs are complete, they are output as Adobe PDF files and sent to factories that manufacture clothing. The Adobe PDF files clarify communication and help speed time to market.

�Adobe software enables our designers to translate their visions quickly and efficiently into final products�and in the apparel industry, that�s a competitive prerequisite.�
Marius Foerster, IT support agent, s.Oliver

Clear communication

When orders for garments arrive, staff export final drawings along with other information, such as production requirements, directly from the PDM system as Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files and e-mail the PDF files to factories around the world that manufacture the clothing to s.Oliver�s specifications. �Having everything in a consolidated Adobe PDF file that�s platform- and application-independent clarifies communication and helps ensure that manufacturing goes smoothly�it helps us meet the demands of our rapid market,� says Engel.

For s.Oliver, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop allow designers to be creative in virtually limitless ways and work efficiently. Says Foerster, �Adobe software enables our designers to translate their visions quickly and efficiently into final products�and in the apparel industry, that�s a competitive prerequisite.�

Solution

� Use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software to expedite, manage, and control the creative process
� Store textile designs created in Photoshop in a centralized Geac PDM system
� E-mail Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files to factories around the world

Benefits

� Meet demand for rapid time to market by saving pre-existing designs
� Produce an entirely new clothing collection every month across 10 different brands
� Design up to 120 new textiles monthly per brand
� Push the creative envelope with features such as Symbols in Illustrator
� Ensure that manufacturing goes smoothly by exchanging files in Adobe PDF

Toolkit

� Adobe Acrobat� Professional
� Adobe Illustrator
� Adobe Photoshop
� Geac Product Data Management software
� PCs running Microsoft Windows XP