In the recent years, the use of 3D printing in the fashion industry has been increasing: during the creative process, for prototyping or even for production, additive manufacturing gives fashion a wide range of possibilities and fascinates some designers. Since the beginning of the 2010’s, the 3D printing technology has been more and more accessible and now allows new creative experimentations, pops up on numbers of runway shows, and gives consumers a new mass-customization solution.
How is 3D printing used in the fashion industry today? What more does it bring in comparison to traditional processes? As many other technologies, 3D printing fascinates us, but it also crystallizes some misconceptions. What are the best 3D printing projects when it comes to fashion design? From 3D printed clothes such as 3D printed dresses or 3D printed jackets, or to other applications for accessories and jewelry, how are fashion brands embracing this revolution?
3D printing can significantly expand creative possibilities for fashion design. Indeed, it makes it possible to create shapes without molds, and thus to manage to produce elements of an extreme intricacy that one could not reach otherwise. Nevertheless, the rigidity of the existing 3D printing materials does not allow, for the time being, these creations to be seen outside runway shows, galas, and museums. In addition, the printing itself of these pieces still takes a lot of time (count 500 hours for a dress like the Threeasfour Pangolin dress above), without mentioning the assembly of the various pieces that compose the garment, after it has been printed.
Finally, 3D printing can be used to make ornaments for traditional textile, approaching the idea of a jewelfor garments, much like the 3D printed clothes developed by the young Anastasia Ruiz in collaboration with Sculpteo; the elements of a garment (buttons, rings) or even leather goods, like the Exocet Paris bags. Here, it is mainly TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) 3D printing material and other polymers such as polyamide that are used.