3D Printing Fashion
3D Printed Clothing  3D Printed Shoes  Fashion Terms  Fashion Terms by Number  Printing on Clothing

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3D printing is not entirely new to the fashion industry, as jewelry designers have for years outsourced quick modeling jobs to printing companies. But as 3D-printed pieces begin to pop up on the runway and in presentations outside of fashion week as the finished product, it’s worth asking why the method stands a chance of proliferating among designers.

3D printing (additive manufacturing or AM) is any of various processes used to make a three-dimensional object.  In case you are not certain clothing, shoes, fashion accessories, and jewelry are considered “objects”.  Therefore, we can use 3D printers to create 3D printing fashion, etc.

3D printing in the term's original sense refers to processes that sequentially deposit material onto a powder bed with inkjet printer heads.  More recently the meaning of the term has expanded to encompass a wider variety of techniques such as extrusion and sintering based processes. Technical standards generally use the term additive manufacturing for this broader sense.

In 3D printing, additive processes are used, in which successive layers of material are laid down under the control of computer technology.  These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry, and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source.  A 3D printer is a type of industrial robot.

3D printing clothing will disrupt mass fashion production, only if it becomes much quicker and less expensive.  At the current time, traditional manufacturing of clothes is more cost effective if producing large quantities of garments.  Machinery, methods, and techniques for making 3D printed clothing is relatively new technology and continues to improve and evolve.  This method of printing clothes and accessories will only become a major disruption to cut & sew production if it becomes cheaper and more efficient than current manufacturing methods. Ready-to-wear, however, with its smaller production runs and impulse toward the artistic, is the ideal space for 3D printing to take root now.  It is also a good alternative for creating garment samples and prototypes.

Previous news article about 3D printing fashion:

3D printed rings

Soles 3D Printed Footwear

3D Printing Fashion Expo (2014)

Learn more about printing in the fashion industry here on Apparel Search in our manufacturer section.

You may also want to learn about digital printing which is also known as direct to garment printing.  DTG printing is completely different than 3D printing fashion, but something that may be of interest to you.