Pantone Partners with Brands and Fashion Tech Startups to Deliver Digital Color Science

Updated: Aug 19

By Sourcing Journal


This article was originally published in Sourcing Journal August 13, 2020. We are sharing because it explores digital solutions related to the dyeing process for sewn products.


As the undisputed authority in color science, Pantone has been partnering with fashion tech startups across the board in an effort to help streamline fashion’s creative processes.

On Tuesday, the company announced a new partnership with men’s wear brand Corridor to create a more sustainable avenue for digital creation. Using Pantone’s Fashion, Home and Interiors (FHI) integrated design solution, the contemporary clothing label has created a portable design ecosystem that allows its designers to adapt their workflow through the challenges of COVID-19.


The need for digital solutions has accelerated in importance in recent seasons, and has reached a tipping point in 2020, the companies said. Brands are looking to curb wasteful output from product sampling and cut their carbon emissions. Additionally, the pandemic has shifted the way that teams interact and communicate, limiting travel and creating an even greater reliance on digital communication.


Because of this, brands like Corridor have had to fill in the gaps by creating virtual solutions to replace team meetings and design sessions that would normally take place in person.


Despite the shift in processes, Dan Snyder, Corridor’s founder, wanted to keep the brand’s focus on “making beautiful things.”


A mobile color development process would allow him to share his ideas with brand partners globally, and he was able to fashion such a solution using Pantone’s FHI product suite. He began using the Pantone Connect mobile app to capture real-world inspirations and translate them into Pantone colors to be shared with suppliers.


“Before I used Pantone, I would struggle to communicate colors to fabric mills,” he told Sourcing Journal. “I’d send a photo or piece of thread or some type of material with the hopes of replicating that color.”


The physicality of the process made it arduous—and not always successful. As textile design became an increasingly important part of his business, Snyder said it was imperative that his concepts could come to life from the other side of the world. “I’ve been able to do this with the help of Pantone, because both my studio in Brooklyn and the dye house in Chennai [India] have the same Pantone books,” he added. “We’re able to speak the same language and get the color right from the beginning.”


The process—which cuts out costly physical sampling—has saved the brand time and money. “Using the Pantone FHI system has doubled the speed of our design process and cut costs significantly,” he said in a statement, adding that Corridor typically goes through four to five dye processes to achieve its desired color. “With Pantone, we typically achieve the color we need in the first dye lot.”


The app has allowed Corridor to quickly communicate with its dye houses and factories on final color decisions, instead of relying on the physical process of shipping fabrics across the globe.


The FHI solution offers 3,000 colors curated for its intended markets, with color standards available in formats for cotton, polyester, nylon, paint-on-paper, metallic and more.


“Pantone is the international language of color—using the Fashion, Home and Interiors complementary physical and digital tools to communicate color ensures everyone on the team is speaking a common language, streamlining the color development process,” Shantel Sullivan, FHI product manager at Pantone told Sourcing Journal.


The company offers a range of products that make it suitable to unique design workflows, whether teams are working from home or in a large studio. “As the industry changes Pantone continues to innovate our color solutions to match designers evolving needs,” she added.

Fashion tech and trend forecasting company Heuritech also announced plans to expand its capabilities through Pantone tools last month.


The Paris-based operation, which has provided image recognition technology to brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Adidas, and Havaianas, can analyze three million images and videos each day on social media, and recognize more than 2,000 details like colors, textures, patterns and prints.


Now, the company has integrated 500 Pantone color codes into its suite of tools, allowing brands to capture inspiration from social media and other web-based venues, and translate the colors into a workable library.


“By associating Heuritech’s color trends with Pantone’s color references, we ensure that clients can easily produce these colors in real life,” the company said in a statement. “From the moment a trend is digitally detected on social media by Heuritech to the time of production in factories, brands can speak a common language of colors with Pantone.”


Heuritech has mastered the art of color recognition, optimizing its color detection capabilities for lifestyle photos in spite of filters, shades and other after-the-fact manipulations. The idea is to give a wide range of color trends from macro to granular to fit the respective needs of fashion brands.


Four-year-old trend forecasting startup Stylumia helps brands focus in on relevant products, and arms them with data that helps to identify buy quantities and optimize retail distribution. According to founder and CEO Ganesh Subramanian, the company has also entered into a partnership with color authority Pantone to augment its capabilities.


In a statement, Subramanian said the partnership would help brands identify “winning colors,” or those loved by shoppers, across influential brands and designers. The artificial intelligence-powered firm has developed cutting-edge color detection capabilities for fashion and lifestyle imagery found online, and helps provide actionable insights on those colors for brands.


“By associating Stylumia’s color trends with Pantone’s color references, we enable brands to easily produce these colors in the real world,” the company said. “From the moment a trend is digitally detected by Stylumia, analyzed for demand, to the time of production in factories, brands can now speak a common language of colors with Pantone.”


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