Zero Waste with Taste: Startup Uses AI to Drive Sustainable Fashion

By modeling garments virtually, Heartdub aims to reduce the environmental impact of textile supply chains.
by Clarissa Garza

Sustainability isn’t just a choice for consumers to make. It’s an opportunity for companies to lead.

AI startup Heartdub seams together fashion and technology to let designers and creators display physical fabrics and garments virtually — and help clothing companies achieve zero-waste manufacturing.

The company’s software digitizes textiles and then simulates how clothes look on the human body. This virtual design verification lessens the amount of physical samples needed, reducing waste from excess fabric, and helps minimize unsold inventory.

Based in Beijing, Heartdub is a member of NVIDIA Inception, a program designed to nurture startups revolutionizing industries with advancements in AI and data sciences. NVIDIA Inception helps startups during critical stages of product development, prototyping and deployment by providing free benefits such as go-to-market support and access to technology expertise.

“As a member of NVIDIA Inception, Heartdub hopes to leverage the resources, support and platform provided by NVIDIA to accelerate the implementation and extension of design verification and virtual showrooms,” said Li Ruohao, chief technology officer at Heartdub.

Zipping Up a Solution to Fabric Waste

Sampling fabrics and other materials is a costly, involved process for brand owners. It can slow the distribution of fashion information throughout the supply chain. And finished products may not look or perform the way consumers want, or may arrive too late to meet the latest trends.

Heartdub offers its customers Heartdub Materials, a physics engine comprising a large set of laboratory-grade textiles data which replicates the physical properties of materials. Inside the application, digitized material behaves as it would in the real world by accounting for texture, weight and movement.

The engine can reduce R&D costs by half, marketing costs by 70 percent and lead times by 90 percent for fabric manufacturers and brand owners, according to Li.

By verifying designs at near zero cost, Heartdub Materials can produce digital, ready-to-wear garments based on clothing patterns. Designers are able to select the texture, pattern and design online, allowing fabric manufacturers to complete preorder presentations at no cost.

These pieces can be showcased and purchased directly through virtual demos and fashion shows hosted by Heartdub One, the company’s database of clothing and avatars.

With Heartdub One, consumers can see how clothes fit on their specific size and shape by building their own digital human based on their particular measurements.

Fashionably Early 

Powered by NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand networking, the Heartdub Materials physics engine boasts a speed of 200 Gbps, improving data transmission efficiency nearly 100-fold.

Taking advantage of NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs and high-speed interconnect technology, Heartdub Materials can easily simulate complex virtual world environments and efficiently process complex ray-tracing and visual computing workloads.

This enables collaboration across the industry, making it possible to complete the process from fabric selection, ready-to-wear design and review to pattern making and production, all virtually.

“AI will revolutionize the fashion industry, and Heartdub Materials is just the beginning,” said Li. “NVIDIA solutions have solved the technical challenges in graphics, allowing us to continue to provide new experiences and create more application scenarios for the fashion industry and its customers.”

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