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3D PRINTING: REBUILDING THE FASHION WORLD
While the manufacturing of fashion has been influenced by technology for decades, the two spheres are more interconnected than ever before. 3D printing, a tool for technologically savvy individuals to experiment small designs, has infiltrated the fashion industry at full force with the production of 3D printed clothing and accessories.
With the implementation of 3D fashion printing, the field is creating opportunities for practically anyone with a fashion passion to create products ranging from singular pieces to entire collections. Using this new technology, creators of every level are able to turn their sketches into finished, physical pieces. Whether it’s independent designers or prestigious fashion houses utilizing this new tool, the availability of 3D printers allows designers on all ends of the spectrum to forge their own fashion path.
As the fashion industry continues its work to reduce waste and improve the environmental practices of big brands, 3D printing has the potential to be an ecologically friendly manufacturing process. The practice produces effectively zero waste, as it only requires use of the necessary fabrics to create clothing pieces. Designers can also draw up models and manufacture products in a significantly shorter amount of time, allowing for the reduction of production costs and time. Transportation costs are also lessened, given that manufacturing is done locally rather than in foreign production facilities. For many young entrepreneurs and fashion designers, 3D printing’s efficiency and relatively low-cost production presents itself as an effective way to break into the industry. However, for already established designers, lowering their costs of production would allow them to make more affordable pieces for the general public.
Designer Danit Peleg is one pioneer in the 3D printing field and has taken the technology to new heights. Her website offers an assortment of fashionable pieces, from crop tops to custom-made jackets. Peleg demonstrated the efficiency of 3D printing when noting that her popular bomber jacket took 100 hours to design, compared to the multiple-week process that a non-3D-printed bomber jacket would employ. The young designer is attempting to make fashion attainable for everyone, selling a full printing kit through her company that allows designers who are not yet immersed in the fashion world to produce their own creations. The full kit is listed at $299, which includes all the materials one needs to create their own products—a relatively affordable price for designers who are just starting up. Additional full 3D printers beyond Peleg’s also range in the hundred, which makes it feasible for large brands to buy a number of printers without making a huge investment. 3D printing presents itself as an extremely viable option for mass production within the fashion field.
Contrary to popular belief, the range of possibilities in manufacturing 3D-printed fashion is quite expansive. Some of the most common printed pieces include accessories such as handbags and sunglasses; however, what’s truly most desirable about these 3D accessories is their ability to be customized. As more companies immerse themselves in this technology, they are able to offer their buyers the option to customize their purchases in a variety of ways; colors, materials, and sizes are all specific aspects that can be adjusted according to the buyer’s personal desires. Italian handbag brand XYZ Bag is taking advantage of this technology, offering the previously mentioned features as well as the option to add personalized text to their bags. In recent years, the market for bags has developed into one with a greater focus on smaller handbags specifically which has led to the push for improving traditional handbags with new technology. XYZ bag, through its fully customizable options, is one of the first in its field to pioneer the trend.
Major global brands such as Nike are also stepping into the 3D printing world. For many years, Nike has emphasized its brand’s customizability options through “Nike By You,” where customers can design their own sneakers from scratch. 3D printing not only offers the capabilities to elevate this concept but also poses additional benefits that make 3D printing models especially desirable for the brand’s customers. Nike’s “Zoom Vaporfly Elite Flyprint” is one of the company’s first models to feature a 3D design, and was designed to help wearers battle various weather conditions. By 3D printing the top portion of the sneaker, this unique style offers significantly more breathability and prevents excessive water retention. For serious runners or athletes, 3D-printed sneakers—equipped for all weather conditions—are a game-changer.
3D printing is quickly making its mark on the fashion industry, and it’s certainly here to stay. Danit Peleg’s 3D-printed pieces provide consumers a sneak peek of what’s to come as the industry becomes even more intertwined with technology. As technology continues to advance, and 3D printers are built with even more features, the potential fashion outcomes become endless. While 3D-printed clothing and accessories are not necessarily mainstreamed at present, their uniqueness makes them stand out in an array of traditional, repeated designs. If you’re a fashion consumer on the hunt for a new style, or even a small designer looking to produce work on your own time, 3D fashion offers the perfect mix of affordability and chicness.