A new product lifecycle management solution that promises to change the way the fashion industry does business, from cutting time to market to reducing companies' carbon footprints, is being developed by the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) in conjunction with IBM.

Designed to address the fashion industry's unique needs the FRI-IBM solution taps into the virtual world, from design to production.

"We've moved beyond the marketing hype of virtual worlds," explains Shenlei Winkler, director of the Fashion Research Institute.

"FRI has created a new process that encapsulates the real life fashion designer and her workflow in a virtual world. 

"Designers and other fashion industry personnel work together in a virtual world to expedite real life production, using an IBM-backed solution that seamlessly manages the process."

FRI's virtual world-based product design solution allows collaborators to design, modify and perfect their products in real time.

Product design-centred conversations occur with a real time presence of all concerned parties regardless of geographical location, time zone differences, or language barriers.

Fashion businesses that use virtual worlds for product design will deliver huge savings of time, money, and energy the Institute claims.