3D printing, which is already used by fabrics producers and in Fashion to create accessories the likes of which we have never seen before, could in short start producing fabrics from scratch… which would completely revolutionise the Fashion sector.

Progressive commercialisation

3D printing is used more and more in the Fashion World, for creation, production, and even in shops. This technology – commercialised since 2010 – is a tool that allows for the experiment of new ideas, but also allows customers to have a highly personalised experience.

FashionTech specialist Futur404 describes that, as of now, it is possible to use 3D printing in the Fashion domain to create “full” pieces for the catwalk without the need for moulds. It can also be used to create very original plastic dresses, ornaments, but it can just as well be used to create metal pieces for leatherwork or even fashion accessories (fantasy jewelry) quickly and in a cost effective way.

According to Futur404, 3D printing can also be used for the production of moulds or the creation of full jewelry pieces, and being quicker and cheaper to manufacture the Cartier and Goosens fashion houses and the Gemmyo brand have already started using it. Additive production is being used by shoe brands (Nike, Adidas, Reebok…) to create soles adapted to the feet of each customer. Something to note is that 3D printing is also in use by luxurious fashion houses for making tools and replacement parts for industrial sewing machines .

“Pushing the limits”

Next step: the 3D printing capabilities that researchers and companies like Tamicare, sensation Electroloom or even Kniterate have showcased should soon allow for the printing of fabrics, and not just soft plastic materials like polyurethane. The latter plastic materials do create wonderful designs but limit the work of the designers.

In the U.K., Loughborough University researchers have teamed up with South Korean textile giant Yeh Group as well as a “big fashion house” to put in place a process that uses a 3D printer to directly print clothes and shoes in 24 hours. The “3D Fashion” project is being presented by Guy Bingham, head of research, as a chance to “push back the limits of what we can create.”

This landmark technology allows us as designers to innovate faster and create personalised, ready-to-wear fashion in a digital world with no geometrical constraints and almost zero waste material.says the researcher, for whom this technology will revolutionise the fashion industry. His team is also conducting research on combining 3D body scans as well as textile printing, which would allow the creator to offers their customers a “completely personal ready-to-wear experience”.  Costs would also be optimal due to “printing on demand” which would help with the management of stocks in clothes and primary materials.