Luxury fashion designers like Alexander Wang are using new 3D printing technology, but lots of smaller independent brands are also exploring the technology to create innovative designs which we will explore in this article. From packaging and fastening components to full garments and accessories, 3D printing opens a whole new world of fashion possibilities. And now is just the beginning.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is a manufacturing method that was created in the 1980s, but only recently it has become more popular. It produces objects by successively layering material until the completion of the piece, according to a tridimensional digital model. This disruptive technology renders the realisation of complex shaped-objects possible, which traditional manufacturing methods would not. 3D printing has minimum production waste and allows for production of pieces in many different materials, from plastic to metal.
Why are designers using 3D printing?
3D printing is the next great breakthrough in fashion manufacturing, because as we know, the fashion industry is awash with environmental issues, in particular excessive waste. Using this technology rather than traditional pattern cutting and sewing for example, could reduce material waste before, during and after consumer use by up to 80%, which of course is an economical benefit to brands as well. It also allows for intricacy, accuracy and precision, allowing the designer to create unique details on their products, and manufacturing is quick and efficient.
Which brands use innovative 3D printing?
Oana Aloise is an Italo-Brazilian product designer based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her passion for jewelry and technology has led her to create Strukt, a brand with the vision to explore 3D printing to make beautiful, bold and wearable designs to fit all personalities. She is in constant search for inspiration and innovation to design diverse and updated accessories. Strukt creates 3D printed jewellery inspired in neo-futuristic architectural structures. Strukt investigates the possibilities 3D printing has to offer to create bold, innovative and beautiful designs.
Evgeniia Balashova creates precious metals and 3D printed jewellery. "The focus of my work lays in the exploration of repetition, movement and manipulation of grids in combination with reiteration of geometrical form".
"The origins of my work come from the clinical yet diverse environment of office spaces and objects that fill them. By exploring the repetitive features found in stationary, computer hardware, architectural and interior layouts of offices I create elements that are formed into a grid and morphed into a distorted, more organic shape to represent the organized chaos nature of a typical office environment."
Alexis Walsh is an artist and designer based in New York City. Concentrating on wearable design with an integration of sculptural forms, she utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to fabrication. Through unconventional materials, such as metal and plastic, and the exploration of technologies including 3D printing and digital modeling, Alexis transcends the traditional modes of fashion to push the boundaries of wearable art.
Mirimalist introduces 3D Print Collection: Wear Future Now, driven by a passion to make this revolutionary technology a part of everyday life, as opposed to currently unwearable and experimental 3D printed fashion. State-of-the-art 3D printing techniques and
beautifully cut yet simple figures are the pillars of this collection. Inspired by sacred geometry, each 3D model is designed by Mirimalist to capture a contemporary taste in every look.
Of course there are downsides to the technology too, like limitations of materials that can be used, risks of easy counterfeit copycat fashion items, and high initial set-up costs. However, 3D printing is slowly infiltrating each and every industry, even healthcare (think 3D printed human organs for transplants!) so fashion is sure to catch up sooner or later, as it becomes more accessible and affordable than ever.
What do you think of 3D printing? Just a gimmick or the next big fashion trend? Let us know below or tweet us at Fashion Fix Daily.