The new kid on the block: 3D printed clothing

3D printing has moved away from the bubble known as Silicon Valley and has taken the world by storm. There is so much innovation happening in the 3D printing world; from weapons to food, the limit to what can be done using 3D printers seems endless. The fashion industry is not far off either, but they are experiencing some key issues that need to be overcome before it can be scaled. There is a huge fad around the 3D printing market which in itself is a large market that is yet to be tapped into and with a little sensitisation, the industry is looking at a multi-million dollar prospect on their hands. Here in this article, we have briefly discussed 3D printed clothing and the obstacles that it faces at this point in time.

3d printing

Traditional clothing is essentially 2D with the weave represented on the X-Y plane; as in the weave is either made horizontally, vertically or in a criss-cross fashion. Experts believe that with 3D printing, they can explore the Z plane which is not yet fully understood. It is to be noted that 3D printing is not going to knock off regular clothing methods anytime soon since the method is actually too early for the technology that is available at hand. Unlike most other industries, the fashion industry has an over-reliance on the material that is used. At this point in time, the materials that are available are not suitable for general usage.

There have been instances where people have tried to 3D print clothing, but the biggest obstacle that needs to be overcome is the fact that the clothing is extremely unstable. 3D printing is done in layers where the material is poured into layers based on a design algorithm. In most cases, 3D printed objects don’t break or shatter, but clothing has been found to be an entirely different ball game. The introduction of the Z plane has put a spanner in the works since up to this point people had to deal with just the two planes. Exploring how materials will function in the Z plane is entirely new territory for those involved in 3D printed clothing. Models who have worn 3D printed clothing state that the clothing is extremely difficult to wear because it is not breathable and that it is very uncomfortable.

Having said all that, the future still looks bright for 3D printed clothing. There is endless potential when it comes to the type of sectors that can benefit from 3D printed clothing.

About the author: Leo Stone