3D Printed Fashion

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?



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