Fabrics From Another Dimension
First created in 1984, 3D printers focused on applications in architecture, automotive, and the medical industry. Yet, the fashion world has more recently latched onto the technology to aid in advant-garde visions, as well as commerce.

To date, 3D printing technology in fashion has usually been reserved larger companies. The technique gained broad attention when Victoria Secret models strutted in 3D printed wings during its annual fashion show and some designers have experimented with jewelry. Now, clothing is slowly entering the arena. Traditionally, designers have to rely on manufactures to produce their garments and cost usually justifies orders in bulk, thereby the creation of numerous garments of the same or similar styles. 3D printing allows these designers to bypass the manufacturer all together by printing their creation in a production of one, meaning the garment is truly one-of-a-kind.

In the meantime, a couple of start-up fashion companies are using 3D printing to offer custom garments to its clientele. San Francisco’s Continuum is preparing the launch their next 3D printed shoe collection, but their website also allows for customers to custom-create their own bikinis from the technology. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Founder Mary Huang explains that the garments are printed via a plastic derived from nylon, so the texture is not far from traditional fabric.

Electroloom developed a 3D printer specifically for creating customized apparel. Thus far, they have succeed in producing tubes of polymer fabric, but hope to evolve into being able to create fashion basics likes t-shirts and sweaters, as well as textiles that resemble the comfort of cotton.

Here’s even more good news…. Costs are coming down as 3D technology gets more refined, meaning it will soon become much more accessible. Perhaps at-home printers could even become available soon!

Want more? Here’s a hint for our upcoming blog for the Materials World series — Forget rumors of fashion’s snootiness, these next featured designers are down to earth.

Missed Part I of this series? Check it out here..