●Name: CLO Virtual Fashion
●Co-founder and CEO: Boo Jung-huk
●Age: Founded in Jan. 2009
●Employees: 30 in development, Web and fashion design, marketing/sales
●Clients: They include global luxury brand designers such as Louis Vuitton; garment manufacturers like Kolon Industries; animation visual effects companies such as Weta Digital, a New Zealand-based firm that contributed to the movie “Avatar”; and video and online game makers such as UbiSoft and Blizzard Entertainment.
●Numbers: A package of solution costs $10,000. The firm sold about 6000 copies, distributed 20,000 copies for a marketing purpose.
Until last year, it focused on establishing its client network of about 30 companies around the world. Direct sales really took off this year, in which the first-quarter sales exceeded the annual sales last year.
Excerpts from an interview with CEO
Q. Introduce your company.
A. We are the first to make a 3D visual interface for fashion designers — now it’s expanded to animation, video games or any industries that involve designing with fabrics — they can use it from designing a pattern to draping to a model in different body shapes to launching a fashion show, all in virtual graphics and animation.
Q. What is new about your company?
A. The 3D-based virtual design system has been widely used by auto and architecture industries but the fashion sector was slow in adopting such technology, and we found a great potential there given the global fashion market size.
Our software program is simple and intuitive to use, and was originally made for fashion designers who couldn’t handle more than 10 buttons on the computer screen. Now many computer programmers use it, too. Who wouldn’t like a simple interface after all?
Q. How did you start the company?
A. My partner and a co-founder Mr. Oh, did a research on this 3D virtual design technology for his Ph.D. thesis. We were introduced through a mutual friend in 2007, I was running a business at that time, and I suggested launching a startup mashing his technological skills with my knowledge in design and entrepreneurship.
Q. What surprised you most?
A. What was most surprising was to find the global need. When we first tried to bring the technology to fashion world, many industry people in Korea worried over little demand and the industry’s characteristics of lagging adaptation of technology, but we found that there’s always different needs out there.
We used the right social media tools for our products including YouTube and Vimeo and we attended various kinds of conferences in fashion, game development and graphic design.
Q. Future plans?
A. We plan to provide a cloud-based, virtual-fitting service for consumers, which means it would be available on laptop, smartphones and tablets. When they’re online shopping for clothes, for instance, they can create a virtual model of their body types and try them for size before buying.