3D Printing for Fashion

Stampa 3D Moda

3D Printing for Fashion

The features and potential of 3D printing are positively revolutionising specific sectors, such as creating furniture and objects to enrich the design of a residential context or mechanical parts to simplify and speed up vehicle repair. However, 3D printing can be used in many other sectors with extraordinary results in the beauty, for example, jewellery, of the shapes obtained and the consistency of the materials. In this specific case, this concept has several applications in the fashion world.

3D printing in the fashion world

In recent years, several sectors have been revolutionised by the arrival of 3D printing technology. This is an innovative method for creating objects that can be used in many different areas, achieving excellent results in terms of both material consistency and shapes. Turning to a structure specialised in the sector like Fama3D means having an interlocutor at your side who can guarantee a quality service regarding online 3D printing to create objects and applications for any use, including fashion. The fashion sector has always been synonymous with elegance, curved shapes and materials that provide comfort when wearing clothes and garments. To arrive at the realisation of a dress rather than a simple t-shirt, it is necessary to follow a process that includes the design phase on paper and then the realisation with the use of fabrics appropriate to the price at which the article will be offered on the market.

This entire manufacturing process can now be streamlined and optimised with 3D printing technology. It is no mystery that the fashion industry refers to this support for more casual and less expensive proposals and high fashion. The reason is simple: designers want to hit the mark by using innovative solutions to emphasise creativity and keep costs down. Designers have appreciated this system’s potential, especially in developing and creating complex and original shapes, which means more exclusivity.

Any fashion garment and accessory can be made, from shoes to the most exclusive clothes, perhaps worn on an elegant evening. Another advantage of this technology is that the article can be customised according to the customer’s wishes, not only in colour but also with different shapes from the initial design (modifications). In this case, one does not need to call in a tailor rather than modify the company’s production line; one can set parameters on the control panel and let the printer do its work. So, there are many applications of 3D printing technology in the fashion industry.

Making shoes with 3D printing

For those unfamiliar with the potential and features of 3D printing, the possibility of making shoes in this way seems to be pure science fiction. In truth, it is already a reality as it has been adopted by a famous shoe brand that is also relatively expensive in terms of luxury. In particular, after testing 3D technology, the company Annie Foo invested in it and created a perfect production process that made the most of its peculiarities.

This company considered such opportunities, among other things, because they allow for the use of innovative materials that are perfectly matched and give free rein to artistic creativity. 3D printing simplifies the creation of these shapes, which are decidedly complex and articulated.

The system is set up with special 3D modelling software that allows these complex shapes to be designed to achieve a unique look. Furthermore, these shoes are as solid and functional as traditional shoes because the materials are durable and allow a long life span. In addition, by incorporating the specific characteristics of a person’s foot, it is possible to create a tailor-made shoe to guarantee maximum comfort and prevent potential problems such as the formation of calluses and an ailment that often triggers pathologies affecting the sole.

Making clothes with 3D printing

Many other young designers want to amaze their customers and fashion enthusiasts with creations based precisely on 3D printing technology. For example, we can mention Dutch designers Anouk Wipprecht, Ganit Goldstein, Iris van Herpen, Julia Daviy and many others. Some dresses have surprised me with the technology used, particularly dresses that can expand as a barrier to keep out people who get too close. This project was curated by designer Wipprecht, who decided to develop it during the height of COVID-19’s popularity to create a line with exciting shapes and, above all, capable of keeping people at a safe distance to minimise the risk of contagion.

The dress was equipped, to be precise, with sensors that detect the presence of people in the vicinity and thus tend to create this barrier that keeps them away. Other fashion brands have decided to offer their customers an even more exclusive service by allowing them to choose certain lines based on specific characteristics and then customise the final product in terms of colours, shapes, and sizes. In this way, it is a bit like going to the tailor and getting an excellent tailored suit, with the only difference being that the product is made quickly.

The production line, in this case, also includes the opportunity to choose fabrics and match them with shoes that are themselves 3D printed. In practice, the device has also been combined with a scanner, which, due to its size and characteristics, can process a three-dimensional scan of the person’s body to develop a design adapted to their silhouette. In this way, a customised and, above all, comfortable garment is obtained. This approach could even eliminate the issue of size and the problems of some people having difficulty finding a garment suitable for their physical characteristics.

Other examples of 3D printing applications in fashion

With 3D printing, any garment can be made, and leading fashion houses amply demonstrate this. Exclusive projects involving dream garments that create a unique and unrepeatable scenic effect have been realised. For example, the Iris van Herpen dress developed on a flesh-coloured base and a series of leaves simulating some natural plants. The effect is extraordinary also because the dress is comfortable and not excessive. Many other garments can be made to emphasise the casual style concept or to offer more exclusive shapes with colour contrasts that guarantee a genuinely incomparable effect.

Some designers have developed dresses that in every way simulate roses, even with the possibility of inserting and eliminating petals, to have a more elegant dress rather than a sexier one, starting from the same garment. As far as the accessories sector is concerned, there are many companies, some of which are also Italian, that have taken advantage of this opportunity to create beautiful 3D printed ties in different shades and capable of recreating exclusive shapes suited to the needs of those who want to be both elegant and casual. Other accessories that have been realised include headgear that is more and more wrap-around and able to perfectly follow the anatomical shapes of the head, not forgetting printed bags.

It is precisely the accessories sector that benefits the most from this opportunity because designers can overcome problems that were previously imposed by manufacturing methods. One speaks of accessories, and the reference is also to glasses whose frames can be developed quickly to create more rounded rather than linear and vintage shapes.

Many winning designs

In recent years, several companies operating in the fashion industry have decided to invest heavily in developing 3D printing technologies for applications in this field. Several projects have been launched in which universities, 3D printing research laboratories and innovative brands have collaborated to surprise the market with cutting-edge products.

Undoubtedly, 3D printing offers extraordinary advantages in creating objects with complex shapes and several other aspects. Indeed, this process simplifies the whole business of designing and making the garment with any accessories. The designer may have a rough idea of the shapes and characteristics of the garment line to be placed on the market. Still, the rest is entirely handled by special software that enables quality products to be developed. With a classic personal computer, the designer can follow the project and develop the product according to their ideas, optimising the shapes and, above all, the timing that will lead to the final product. Many CEOs of companies operating in the fashion industry have also emphasised further advantages this technique allows, especially regarding sustainability. In practice, given the timeframes with which the garment can be made, companies can think of producing only the pieces in the necessary quantities, thus avoiding vastly exceeding the amounts that will be disposed of on the market.

This means controlling a company’s costs and not wasting materials that could later be used for other needs. This also means that there are advantages for the end consumer, as companies that manage to optimise the production phase, as far as the costs of fabric used are concerned, offer a lower and more competitive price even though the quality is not affected. The consumer can thus have an exclusive garment made to his physical characteristics and possible adjustments to have a fit that more closely follows the body’s silhouette.

Conclusions on the use of 3D printing in the fashion industry

3D printing in the fashion industry offers significant advantages for the company and the end consumer. It optimises costs, minimises material waste, and promotes sustainability. This technology allows for creating complex garment designs with high-quality materials and comfort. Additionally, body scanning can provide custom services to ensure a comfortable and elegant fit.

Moreover, innovative materials that are pulverized and then used by the printer eliminate the need for animal-derived materials like leather. Instead, plant-based materials derived from processing waste in various sectors, such as agriculture, are being used. These innovative materials can create clothing and accessories that provide remarkable tactile and olfactory sensations. In summary, there are numerous advancements in this technology.

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