Update #3: One week left! New Perk!
We've come a long way with this campaign, and it's all thanks to you, our loyal supporters. Now there's just one week left and we've nearly reached our second goal. Help us out go with a bang!
We are happy to announce a brand new perk: Traveler
Receive a sling bag printed with the Volante Design logo. The bags, while not produced by Volante Design, feature a design style similar to what you would expect from Volante. 2 practical zipper pockets, a mesh water bottle pouch, and an adjustable strap make this bag excellent for everyday use.
Update #2: What happens now that we've reached our goal?
$15,000 was just the beginning. That was set as our goal because that is the bare minimum we needed to take this next step. Now that we are there, we can start working toward the fun stuff; the things that will really set us apart from other businesses.
If you've been following the campaign, you already know that we are raising money to be able to purchase software that is optimized for clothing pattern design. You also know that the 15k we've raised so far will fund the basic 2D Computer Assisted Design, or CAD, aspect of the program, and that the next step is some sort of 3D extension to the software.
But what you might not understand yet is how the 3D software will affect Volante Design.
Basically, For Us:
3D rendered prototypes! - Rather than have to go through the process of making a pattern, cutting it out, cutting the fabric, sewing, and so on, we can make a pattern that will be automatically rendered as a 3D model (with fabric physics). This will save us a LOT of time, and allow us to make more new designs.
Real time pattern adjustment! - We'll be able to change the pattern and immediately see a 3D model reflecting those changes.
The two of those combined with the software we can afford now will allow us to change existing patterns much more quickly, speeding up workflow and helping us not waste time drawing on/cutting out more paper.
Basically, For You:
More new designs, faster than we've been able to before!
Easier to do experimental customization!
Better, more accurate custom fits!
We can be faster overall!
Stronger clothes, thanks to real time stress maps!
Want to know more?
It's quite simple; the extended software will allow us to create 3D virtual prototypes of each of our garments. As a small company, we run into the problem of not having the resources or workers to create new prototypes, because they are too busy working on current orders. With virtual prototyping, we can make tweaks and adjustments and be able to see what difference those changes will make, without having to put a hold on production.
There is a video on the Optitex main page that shows some of the advantages of having the full software package. Be forewarned, the video is done in the cheesiest way possible, but it gets the point across.
More important than that is how it will affect the Volante Design customer experience.
An online store with the capability of showing you what you would actually look like in a particular garment.
Take, for example, the Kenway Jacket. Say you wanted to buy the Kenway, but didn't know which size would fit you best. Optitex is currently working on a system which will be able to be implemented in a webstore that will allow you to input your measurements, and the system will create a 3D avatar that fits those measurements. You would then be able to take your avatar and apply the Kenway to it. If you apply the size Large Kenway to it, the program will simulate how that size jacket would fit you. If it looks like that size isn't right, you can try on a different size.
Essentially what we are talking about is a virtual dressing room. Optitex has a basic mockup of how this might work on their site. Since the dressing room isn't quite ready yet, it does not support clothing sizes or colors yet, but again, it gets the point across.
Take a look at it here: Virtual Dressing Room Mockup
And that's just for the webstore!
We also do a great deal of custom design and creations. With the virtual prototyping, we would be able to give our custom design clients a simulated prototype before cutting fabric, so that adjustments can be made without wasting time and materials.
And then there's color choices…
Volante Design prides itself in offering multiple color options for each of it's garments. The trouble we come to currently is that it can be difficult to visualize a color scheme for a particular jacket without seeing it. Virtual prototyping will enable us to create 3D versions of each of the main color schemes, as well as custom color schemes on the fly. So you'll never have to wonder if a purple and yellow Modern Assassin Armor will actually look good.
It totally would, by the way.
That's it for now. The next goal ['C' above] is set for 25k. When we reach that, there will be another explanation for what comes after it. Keep sharing and helping in any way you can.
Update #1: New Perk Unlocked!
You folks are amazing! In less than a week, we hit 15k, which was our "goal," but there’s still a long way to go before we’re done. Here’s a new perk, a t-shirt specially designed for the Volante Assassins out there who want to show their support, even when it’s too warm for a jacket. Some info about the shirt:
- 4.1 oz. polyester jersey on front, 5.4 oz. polyester twill on back
- Wicking and antimicrobial fabric
- Sporty contrast stitched raglan sleeves
- "C" logo on left sleeve
Volante Design: About Us
The entire operation is currently run out of a single room in Northampton, with three full time employees (including Enzo). To see the sort of work we do, check out the gallery, or go to our store, volantedesign.us, and our blog.
This sounds cool, what do you need?
As a small company with few employees, limited workspace, and limited funds, it's hard (impossible) to create excellent jackets for everyone (more than a few at a time) who wants them. It's extra difficult for Enzo to find time to create new redesigns and patterns, because everything is done painstakingly by hand on paper. This takes a lot of time, and time is at a premium for us.
But, I can't donate time through Paypal.
This is where you come in! With your donations, Volante Design can take the next giant leap into the world of clothing design. Think about it this way: the Volante Design blog has about 5,500 followers. If 5,000 followers each gave $5, we would raise $25,000, which would cover not only the bare minimum we need, but also enable us to purchase the full software upgrade. What's this about software, you ask?
As a self-taught pattern designer, Enzo creates all his patterns by hand, cutting and splicing pieces of paper together with tape, painstakingly adjusting each edge of the paper to account for seam allowance. And while this method works in the small studio, it is very time consuming, not particularly accurate, and most importantly will not be accepted by a professional manufacturer for mass production. Manufacturers require digitally perfected patterns, which means we would have to scan (or digitize) our hard-copy patterns into a pattern design program, in order to optimize them for production.
There are companies out there that offer digitizing and optimization services which Volante Design could outsource to, but that can take several weeks, and runs the risk of losing valuable design nuances, due to the disconnect from the original creative mind behind the design. Therefore, it would be incredibly valuable for Volante Design to own the software and hardware for itself, so that we can create the best possible product, without having to rely on outside sources.
How much we need, and why:
First, a list of the prices, and below will be an explanation of what each item is and why it is important.
Pattern Digitizer: $2,685
- 2D: $9,700
- 3D: +$10,000
- Animation: +$2,500
= Total: $22,300
Plotter/Large Format Printer:
- Small/4ft: ~$4,000
- Larger/5+ft: ~$14,000
Why exactly is all that necessary, you ask?
Well, basically, the benefits of owning such pattern design software [PDS] are countless. We will be able to create a pattern, digitize it, and make adjustments, add seam allowance, create standard sizes and make instant custom size variations simply by plugging in a list of measurements. And that's just with the 2D software.
With the 3D software, we would be able to create 3D virtual prototypes, which will streamline the design process, and help minimize the number of sewn prototypes needed before a product is ready to be sold. The most important takeaway is that having the capability to create digital patterns in-house will drastically increase productivity, and reduce the amount of time between releasing new designs.
That's the skinny. Rather than fill this page with long, detailed descriptions of why each part of the software and hardware is important, we've decided to put all of that elsewhere. Click this link to read on: http://blog.volantedesign.us/post/39608298933
Ok, so what happens when we surpass our fundraising goal?
Once we have met our goal, any funds over the required amount for the full software package will go towards producing more garments for Express orders, as well as designing completely new styles. Every single dollar helps, and we will be eternally grateful for your contribution.
What sort of perks are we offering for your contributions?
No matter how much you can give, we want to show you that we appreciate your help.
- Fan - $5: For five dollars, Enzo will give you a high five the first time you meet. Fist bumps are available as an alternative.
- Minstrel - $25: Almost completely unrelated to Volante Design, but here's an example of what sort of thing to expect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se4Aek5X4CM
- Artist - $50: Receive a high quality print of your favorite Volante Design illustration. When the illustrations were originally posted, they did not have backgrounds, these will be added to make the artwork more interesting for print.
- VIP - $100: Once we have the ability to create patterns more quickly, we will be taking votes regularly as to which design should be developed next. Largely these votes will be hosted on the official blog, but once the general vote has narrowed it down, I will put the final decision to the VIP board through email. As a VIP member, you will be able to give reasons for your choice, and offer feedback. Enzo will read every response, and take them into consideration before choosing.
- We Listen To You - $150: Enzo will do an entirely new illustration of the design of your choice. He will take your initial ideas into consideration, and work one on one to come up with a brand new design with you. This design may not become immediately available, but will be developed at a future date.
- Messenger - $300: This perk refers to a completely new design from Volante: a messenger bag. The design for this bag has not yet been finalized, but it will be based on, and inspired by, the bag Desmond wears in the Assassin's Creed series. For reference, this bag can be seen here: http://volanteinspiration.tumblr.com/post/38849725735. More information will be posted as it is available.
- Benefactor/Patron/Medici - $1k/$5k/$10k: With these perks, you will be able to propose your own wishes for a custom piece of clothing, and have it made just for you. You will take part in the design process, and be able to make sure you get the exact garment you want. The more you contribute, the more complex your design can be, or the better the materials used can be. If we raise enough for the 3D software, you will be able to see what the design will look like on you before the final piece is made, and make final adjustments. The Exclusive Plan refers to the amount of time before your design is made available for order to the public. So a 6 Month plan means for 6 months after the date you receive your garment, you will be only person who owns a garment of that design.
- VIP Prime w/Patron/Medici: You have shown massive support for Volante Design, and deserve something special. VIP Prime status is undefined as yet, and will be discussed ona case-by-case basis, and will depend on what you want to be a part of in regards to the future of the business.
Other Ways You Can Help
We completely understand if you cannot contribute at this time. Perhaps there is some other way to support the fund:
- Share this page. Make some noise, via facebook, or twitter, or even tumblr.
- Get the word out about Volante Design, use the share tools below to show your friends our blog/website/facebook. If they see what we do, they might become inspired to help out.