I’m obsessed with 3D printing. The first time I saw it happening live, I sat there with my mouth agape, finally grasping what the concept meant–I knew immediately that the technique was going to have some really cool applications in the fashion world. While we’re still in the very beginning conceptual stages, there is some cool stuff already happening that you should know about.
Here are some current utilizations of 3D printing in our world:
Jewelry designers have been using 3D printing to make prototypes for designs for years. Recently, however, it’s the final products themselves that are being printed, and the designs are really gorgeous. Rings, necklaces, brooches, bracelets, earrings, and even sunglasses and cufflinks are being printed and sold.
This gorgeous Black Rose Collier was designed by Dario Scapitta Design and is available for purchase for $111.18.
REPAIRS & REPLACEMENTS
An easy thing to do with a 3D printer is to print missing pieces and make repairs on items. Through Thingiverse, a website that hosts thousands of user-generated designs for printing on the awesome MakerBot personal 3D printers, you can print precise sizes of buttons, replacement watch bands, and my personal favorite, replacement high heel tips. (Who doesn’t need those?)
Shoes present a special challenge (they have to hold a lot of weight, and shoe shapes and sizes are very diverse), but there are some beautiful prototypes being built.
Biomimicry shoe by Marieka Ratsma and Kostika Spaho
Invisible Shoe by Andreia Chaves
Running shoes by Luc Fusaro
Most 3D printed objects are printed in plastics or metals. Printed clothing will have to use special materials, such as the Nylon 12 that is used in the N12 bikini for sale through Shapeways (a huge resource for 3D printed products). The N12 bikini was developed by Continuum Fashion, a team of two awesome ladies who also designed the “strvct” shoe at the top of this post.
The N12 Bikini
The Lotus Top by ThreeForm
If you’re interested in learning more about 3D printing and fashion, here are a couple of articles to check out:
3D Printing and the Future of Fashion, from Fashionably Marketing Me
Meet the World’s First 3D Printed Fashion Shows, from Digital Style Digest
And stay tuned to this space, as we’ve got more insights about 3D fashion on the horizon!
Liza Kindred is the founder of Third Wave Fashion.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Featured image via Continuum.