Sebastian Berg: I am the Vice President for Business Operations Excellence. In this role, I oversee and lead teams that are working on immersive technology. So, everything from our digital creation processes, which starts with the design until the final consumer-facing experiences, are being drafted and built in our division.

The 3D Vision at Hugo Boss

Our ambition is to become the premium tech-driven fashion platform in the world. Hugo Boss is a company with a long heritage, but at the same time, a company that kept reinventing itself over the decades.

I think innovation is closely related to fashion and our industry as a whole. Because what we really need to do is surprise our customers. And you need to engage with them and tell a story that is interesting and unique. In recent years, we were able to invest and build our innovation capabilities forward.

As a fashion company, you really want to have superior product experience. And in that 3D can help a lot. So even starting at the very beginning, in the design phase, the iterations the designer can do, the creativity he or she can bring to the table is so much bigger than working in the traditional, physical prototyping loop that takes much longer and that doesn’t really enable you to be creative on the spot.

And even when we are selling to our B2B partners across the globe, we’re selling digital products, and there is no physical product available to those customers anymore. This makes it much more interesting and holistic for them because they can really get an insight into the whole collection in an instant, which was not possible before just because of the large footprint of a collection.

And finally, a key benefit that we’re already seeing today is towards consumer-facing content production. So really the ability to use 3D for consumer-facing media and experiences that haven’t been possible with the classical production processes before.

The Digital Transformation Journey

We started with 3D Back in 2012, so many years ago, and we were early to the party. Over the last five years, we have managed to improve on that and build capabilities across the full value chain. Today, I would say 400 to 500 people are working with 3D technologies here on the campus.

For a designer to embrace this new technology, and 3D in a wider sense, is essential. If you look at our job profiles and postings these days, almost all of them will include a 3D experience. We are really enabling all the designers to start working in 3D and to really supercharge their capabilities. That is what this whole transformation is about for us.

If you look at our 3D community, internally, most of the designers, by their traditional education, had nothing to do with 3D software and tools in a wider sense. So really, it is essential that all those tools that we are using are accessible to them, and the user experience being creative driven. It is also important for us is that those tools are tightly connected in a wider ecosystem, interoperable, and that they have access to our core libraries of the past. That way all our designs, down to a button or a zipper, sit in 3D libraries, and they can be accessible from wherever you are working.

For us, Adobe and the Substance 3D products have been helpful in raising the quality level. And as a premium fashion brand, we need a photorealistic result of our 3D styles that we feel confident to also showcase towards our end consumers. Substance 3D improved our material quality and has enabled us to work on things such as embroideries and embossed logos, and really the fine details of a fashion style. We are now able to replicate them perfectly well in a 3D environment. And this has helped us in the wider sense of 3D adoption, and our digital transformation journey.

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The Benefits of 3D

There are heavy benefits of working in 3D end-to-end, across the full value chain. One is that we have drastically reduced the number of physical samples that we need to create a collection. It went down more than 30% over the last few years already. And this is something that we are aiming to increase even further.

And secondly, what I do see is that the entire process as such became more sustainable. Sustainable in terms of environmental footprint but also sustainable in terms of the team's resources and needs. The teams are becoming so much more efficient. And at the end of the day, creating better products, which is the biggest advantage we can have.


When I look at some of the technologies that are crucial it’s definitely augmented reality or mixed reality applications. We are already using them to train our store staff, for example. If you sync in a retail environment and setting, you can train your people in the store before they even receive the physical collection.

If you think about the traditional physical creation process, there is a lot of waste, right? You create a product, and eventually, that product lands somewhere in the basement, and it’s not accessible anymore, it’s just not data. And now looking into the 3D creation process, you have this collective experience and library that is accessible across the globe to all parties.

Consumer-facing Experiences

Nora-Sophie Lauffer: I’m a Senior Project Manager for the digital creation team at Hugo Boss. I am responsible for everything that comes out of 3D assets when we look at the consumer-facing experiences, such as avatars, NFTs, Metaverse, and more.

With 3D being implemented in the whole creation process, we are so much quicker, more efficient, and there is much more room to really think about what we want to do.

We are having a virtual try-on pilot now. The customer can have a digital twin, like an avatar. You can put in your body metrics, and then you know which style is too tight or too loose, if it is too short, and you can tell before you order it. This way we can reduce return rates because half of the returns globally are due to the size issue.

We are also implementing a 3D viewer, so when you go into our online store, customers can click on a product, and then a 3D window opens. You can zoom in, zoom out, you can take the product with augmented reality into your space and see and walk around it. That way you have a better idea of what the product looks like, you can see all the details and things that get lost if you just have a photo. I think this is also a cool benefit for customers to get a much better idea of what they are buying.

We also implemented our digital showroom, and it is a huge change for the sales process. We still have a showroom, but it’s not packed with sample pieces as it used to be. We have B2B customers come here, and we replace the samples with simulations that we show on big screens. And with this, we are faster, we can show different color variations to customers. We also have the 3D viewer here, we look at it with the customer, discuss different colorways, etc. It has made the whole experience more immersive.

It is super important for us, since we love the products so much, that the textures are perfect. It must look super realistic. With Substance 3D, we can create textures that you cannot really create with the current other systems that we have in place. So even if you scan it, you can still work on and improve the texture with Substance. And I think for us, this was a big help to drive the change and to also support the designers in reaching the vision that they had from the first concept.

It is exciting for us to see how Adobe is moving into the 3D space because we love the Adobe tools. The people in the company that use Substance really love it. And it is an accessible and easy software that just makes the life of designers so much easier. For us, it is just a continuation of cool products that we use, and that makes our daily life easier.

The 3D design workflow

Cristina Souto Caviglia: I am a senior 3D Design Project Manager at Hugo Boss and before that, I was a traditional fashion designer here. A couple of years ago, I learned about CLO 3D and digitizing the workflow of a designer. I got really intrigued with it and I decided to make it my daily job.

There are a lot of good points about digital design compared to physical design. First comes sustainability. Efficiency too: we no longer need to wait three weeks for a prototype. With 3D software, you can just design your own t-shirt or hoodie, or whatever it is. And you can really see it in that moment and know if it’s going to work. This makes decision making much faster. And it brings much more creativity because you are no longer attached to the fabrics or patterns you are having on-hand, your creativity can explore much beyond.

Fabric processed with Sampler and rendered with Stager
Texturing in Painter

Our scope for 2023 is for our design process to be 90% digital. Right now, we’re at 64%. To reach 90% digital, we need to do a lot of work, and that means that every designer needs to digitize their workflow. Substance 3D is helping us to be more digital and work faster. I do believe that Substance is going to be one of the big players, and one of the key reasons why we’re going to achieve this goal.

We’re trying to bring the power of Substance and especially the easier tools like Painter and Sampler into the designers’ workflow so that they’re able to create faster, better, and more accurately, which is eventually going to unlock their creativity.

Substance has also been a game changer in fabrics. Because we’re no longer attached to 100% physicality, we can create fabrics digitally. And that is a huge benefit for us because we’re also no longer attached to what we’re given by external companies or our vendors. We are now able to design fabrics from scratch in the design process, which is a real breakthrough.

Rendered in Painter

We do have a material library team, so they basically take care of digitizing most of our physical fabrics. They work with Vizoo and then go into Substance 3D Sampler, with the standard Substance file format, SBSAR, as the output. That way we can use the fabrics for our simulations in CLO 3D.

Sometimes we do have very specific fabrics and we have very talented 3D designers and developers that create Substance files by themselves, re-creating the fabrics in Substance 3D Designer.

What I love about Substance is its ease of use. I was surprised by how fast you can get really good results with minimal effort. And I also do love that the workflow is very similar to existing Adobe tools. You have a separation by layers. You have your tools on one side, which might seem something that it’s not important at the beginning, but when you’re going to have hundreds of designers that are already familiar with it, then bringing a tool that is like what they’re used to use is a big benefit.

We’re very happy to be to be on this journey with Adobe Substance and we’re eager to see where the future is going to take us.

Looking to the future

Sebastian Berg: I think for us as a brand, what’s really cool about those immersive spaces, and the Metaverse in a wider sense, is that we get much closer to our consumers. And we can build a real community and we’re learning from the consumers. We’re getting feedback from the beginning of a design process. But we’re also getting feedback in the way we market a product.

When we think about the Metaverse and immersive spaces, it is really an involvement, and everyone involved in that is learning in the process now and on the go. We as a company and a large, global brand, have as our duty, I would say, to explore all those spaces, and to really explore every technology that is evolving, and to get all our products ready to be used and experienced in all those spaces that are going to be built up. And that’s really the essential part of where we stand now.

Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss is one of the leading companies in the premium segment of the global apparel market.