I was going to write an article about 3D printed fashion for quite a while. And nine times out of ten I postponed it for a reason because this topic is rather controversial. You’ve probably heard already that it is possible to use 3D printers to produce internal organs and even food. And of course, the fashion industry is not an exception.

Many fashion designers are experimenting with this technology a lot. I did some research about how do they use 3D printers in fashion. And I must say that very soon fashion will cease to exist. And we all should accept the fact, that soon 3D printed clothing will change the fashion world for good.

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The first serious move in that direction was made by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen. She was the first designer, who created a whole collection using 3D printing. Marvellous 3D printed designs created by a pulsed laser that layers powdered rubbers or metals into a shape, calculated by computers.

Today three-dimensional printing is mainly using the rigid fibre, plastic or rubber. And it is perhaps quite hard to create casual clothes like jeans or T-shirts. But for experimental, conceptual and fashion design, this technology is a perfect solution. You could even say that this limitation in the materials has given rise to a new type of aesthetics: a hybrid fashion, architecture and engineering.

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Some designers successfully use such unconventional materials – more advantage than disadvantage though. They open up new approaches to the design of clothing, allow to develop unique materials that cannot be created using the natural fibre. For example, fabric, smoothly and seamlessly passing from the solid, rigid state to a flexible, moving. Even though Iris van Herpen’s collection featured a printable fabric that is flexible, durable and can even be bunged in the washing machine. But most items produced with this technique are unforgiving stiff synthetics.

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Today 3D printed fabric is mainly used to create jewellery and accessories. Major brands such as Nike, Adidas and New Balance are also starting to gradually turn to the three-dimensional technology to develop footwear. While fashion has never been an industry to fret about the cost, high-end style usually involves hand-finished, artisanal craftsmanship and natural materials such as silk and leather. For hi-tech fashion to evolve from a niche trend there’ll have to be a radical rethink of the definition of luxury fashion.

I’m pretty sure indeed over time 3D-printer will be in every home, and fashion design will be available to all. People will download ready-made layouts, change their characteristics – size, colour – scan their body or feet to print perfectly fitting clothing and shoes. Hard to say, positive or negative will be the impact of 3D printing technology for the fashion industry. Should it grow enough to create wearable stuff?

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In the manufacture of clothing, the most important thing right now is the speed and the volume. In this sense, the 3D printer will be very useful. Things can be done very quickly and in large quantities. On the other hand, the development of three-dimensional printing can also lead to loss of jobs in the fashion industry. But I still hope that the need for exclusive handmade quality will not disappear even in future.

All in all, we should perceive this new fashion as not just things to be shown. But their inner inwardness which arises from the earlier ideas. Only this way we can figure out, how the contemporary fashion works. Otherwise, we run the risk of getting stuck in the intermediate stage without any development and progress. And without any understanding of the modern fashion and current trends.

What do you think about this 3D printed fashion and the industry in a whole?

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader
  • I was watching Season 14 of Project Runway this past weekend, and there was a challenge using 3D printing. I’ve heard talk about 3D printing for years, but this was the first time I saw it being applied. I was so amazed at the avant-garde fashion the designers were able to create by being inspired by bridges in New York and incorporating 3D printing!

    Like with all advances in technology, there are job losses, but there are also job gains. Those who see the changes on the horizon and learn to incorporate them into their business model tend to do better than business that do not. I think designers who embrace and adopt 3D printing have the chance to be on the forefront of fashion and take the industry to another level!

  • Great post. Like everything else fashion evolves and it does fast. I am looking forward to seeing where the 3D fashion will take us. I would love to hear your thoughts on my last post. Have a lovely day.


  • Thomas Falkenstedt

    Woah, there you tossed me a question that requires a lot of thinking. Rationally I’d say it’s just part of our natural development and the way technology makes our lives easier and in this case, clothes more accessible. Then again millions of people might all of a sudden be unneeded in the fashion industry and the ones affected would be those who already earn the least as couture fashion would still be handmade. It’s a tough matter to debate even with myself, but I’ll just say that if we survived the Industrial Revolution with all inventions it came with, we will most probably survive this addition/modification to our everyday life. As for me, I’m still sceptic to the whole 3D thing, but that’s just because I am 120 year old trapped in a young body, haha.
    Thomas xx

  • Tandya

    Wow this is so futuristic! I would love to see a video of how 3-D printing works. I have heard of it, but it sounds so advanced! I can see high street fashion stores using this technique, but it would be unfortunate for high end designers to use this tool. I like the fact that designer brands are handcrafted and use the finest materials.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Lana Luu

    What can I say, the future is finally here.
    This post is very informative, I’ve listened about 3D printed clothes before, but I thought it is more for high and experimental fashion.
    I think soon we will wear 3D printed clothes and it will a usual part of our everyday life.


  • Melbourneyum

    Interesting article
    I love futuristic fashion and anything new and exciting,I’m not sure if this will be the only thing we wear in the future but I can certainly see it become more common place.
    I’ve have seen the 3D printing machine make a vase in person and it was quite mesmerizing!
    For this article though I would have loved to see you wearing a 3D garment showcasing it on the body.
    Natalia k

  • Hey Dear,
    How you?
    3D Printing so Amazing, I really Love:) so Eye Cathing:)
    I would see how this Looks exactly, the Method:) Sooo Interesting:)
    Wish you Amazing Day
    Love Open Kloset By Karina

  • jacqueline

    Wow I had no idea 3d printing had caught on in the fashion world. So awesome. I’m not sure how I feel about it right now. I think it could be cool and really change fashion forever but I wonder what that means for fashion brands as a whole. The pieces look absolutely stunning. Thanks for having such an informative post. We have so many things to look forward to with new technology advancements

  • Wow, 3D printing definitely makes the fabric stand out and now turning it into fashion pieces and you get such unique pieces. The technology behind it must be very advanced. I have no idea what goes in to it, but I am seeing them more and more now. I would be interested to see how you would style these pieces and incorporate them into your everyday outfit.

    xx, Maryam

  • WOW it’s like the first time i see 3D printing in action for fabrics. It’s awesome what all those things the 3D printing technology can print! The fabrics look kinda normal like those you see in normal boutiques though.. Do they feel any different in reality?

    xoxo, Aldora | Aldora Muses – A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • I have had quite a few pieces of 3D printed jewelry but on fabric, this is the first I have heard/seen! It looks so interesting and vibrant with the colors and texture. I think it is really avant garde and cutting edge that designs have come a long way and making things interesting and futuristic! I don’t own any pieces yet, but I think it would be really interesting to incorporate into our wardrobes.

    ~ xo Sheree

  • I would love to explore 3D printing more now that my partner and I are about to launch our own label. It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do later down the track so we can design unique prints for our pieces. I actually just love how unique the pieces look from it!

    Helen xx

  • That’s a really interesting topic, I’ve seen how much 3D printing has been used in the fields of medicine, & other fields. In fashion it has been great in terms of producing unique designs. It could well be something available in many homes in the future, & innovation is exciting.

  • Jessica

    I was aware of the fact that 3D printing was really popular and known for changing the way we interact with everyday objects. Who would’ve known 3D printing would catch on to the fashion world! Thank you for sharing, Xo Jessica.

  • ravayna

    3D printing is really going to play a growing role in fashion in the next few decades! I think it’s such a cool technology. I saw multiple garments created with 3d printing at manus x machina at the met last year, and they were incredible, especially the iris van herpen and the Chanel bag.

    Love- ravayna