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Personality showing off—3D printing to become a factor of fashion

Imagine one day in the future, when you browse on the internet for your favorite clothing, download the 3D model to print, and finally become your clothing. What an exciting moment!

In recent years, the application of 3D printing in the fashion industry has continued to emerge. In terms of the diversity of creative expression, for prototyping and even production, additive manufacturing provides a wide range of possibilities for the fashion industry, which fascinates fashion designers-precisely because 3D printing technology in the fashion industry allows your unbelievable concept become reality in the works.

To what extent is 3D printing developed in today’s fashion industry? Compared with traditional processes, what else can it bring? Like many other technologies, while 3D printing brings us convenience, there are other challenges in different aspects. Let’s take a look at the current 3D printing fashion projects.

For now, additive manufacturing is easier to apply to rigid products and geometric shapes than flexible clothing. Therefore, the first work to be printed in 3D is “a whole work”. The picture below shows the work of Dutch designer Iris van Herpen in the ready-to-wear fashion show “Crystallisation” (2011). The parts produced in collaboration with London architect Daniel Widrig are printed using SLS (selective laser sintering) 3D printers. Seeing from the whole portfolio, all works are integrated as one.

3D printing allows designers to create shapes without molds and create complex elements that cannot be expressed in other ways. However, the rigidity of the existing 3D printing materials is currently not enough to perform in aisles and wear them out. In addition, the printing of these clothes itself still takes a lot of time (for example, 500 hours for the following series of clothes), not to mention the various complicated assembly processes of these clothes after printing.

To overcome rigid constraints, most 3D-printed garments today are built using mesh systems.

The integrity of 3D printed clothing still needs to be improved, such as how to adjust the version of clothing to the appropriate body curve, how to tighten, how to use the mesh flexibly, etc. I believe that in the near future, with the development of 3D printing technology, more flexible materials suitable for clothing printing will be applied to the fashion industry.

Take a look at the NASA’s ongoing project, 3D printing space suits, which will print with 3D mesh jackets for astronauts. Isn’t that good enough to explain the popularity of 3D printing?

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