3D Printing

The Rise of 3D Printing in Fashion

The benefits and rewards of 3D technology are making fashion designers sit up and take notice, leading to a considerable increase in interest and awareness. And as a result, 3D printing is being used throughout the spectrum of fashion. 

For instance, emerging 3D fashion creations are being spotted on the runways in high-end fashion shows, while more low-end brands are featuring the looks, as well. Likewise, innovation and new techniques are being developed for 3D printed fashion all the time.

As far as it being part of the mainstream is concerned, the 3-dimensional fashion trend is still growing. However, fashion experts predict all of that is about to change and that 3D printed fashion is set to expand a great deal in the near future. 

What is 3D printed Fashion? 

3d printing ashion

3D printing in fashion represents an innovative direction for fashion designers and artists who are interested in creating wearable art and intricate geometric designs. On the other hand, 3D printed wearable clothing is not currently designed to be worn daily for the most part. Present-day designs are mainly limited to butterfly-like haute couture, jewelry and art pieces.

When creating this special type of fashion, designers use 3D printers to create their specific patterns. Then, they only print as much of the product as necessary. This manufacturing process allows them to cut back on wasted material for each garment, thereby ensuring that their creation does not impact the environment adversely.

Some Reasons behind the Fashion 3D Printing Adoption

So, what’s behind 3-dimensional printing adoptions and it being on the brink of breaking out in the fashion world? One important reason for it is that 3D printing applications have become more cost-effective and accessible across industries, including the fashion industry. 

Another driver of the increased use is that designers and clothing producers are discovering the benefits of this new technology and its continuing iterations. It’s become even faster, too, and 3D fashion designer Iris van Herpen told Vogue in 2016, 

“I remember the first piece I printed took seven days, 24 hours a day, to print. If you count that in hours, it’s massive, but it doesn’t take that long anymore. It’s pretty fast.” 

On that note, the intricate details in the crystallization skirt and top (below) that she made jointly with Daniel Widrig in 2010 from 3D printed white polyamide and leather would probably be hard to achieve through traditional designing methods. 

3D printing

Benefits of 3D Printing in the Fashion Industry

Many fashion designers are flocking to 3D printing because of the unique advantages it gives over the conventional process of creating textiles. Here are some of the benefits 3D printing brings to the fashion industry:

  • Expansion of design boundaries: Conventional fashion design presents many difficulties that are hard to overcome. 3D fashion printing makes manufacturing them possible, thereby bringing these challenging design concepts to fruition.
  • Textiles being completely 3D grown: The advancements are not quite here yet, but the transition from conventional textile production methods, such as sewing textiles to one another and pattern-cutting, to the textile being completely three-dimensionally grown is on the horizon.
conventional textile production
  • Sophisticated blends are made possible: Digitally-created materials are offering ways that enable sophisticated physical properties to be embedded in designated, specific areas of a textile. For instance, the 3D printing process can create certain advanced textiles that are flexible, rigid, waterproof, or opaque and then combine these materials into a single garment. 

What this means is that these properties can all be present in a single, hybridized garment. The material’s hybrid properties can allow you to wear a swimsuit on a winter day or wear what looks like a thick, luxury coat (seen below) in warm summer weather.

woman in pink coat

Rapid Prototyping: 3D printed fashion printers create shapes and geometries that have never been made before. The process also allows for more rapid prototyping purposes. A rapid prototype of a unique, white gold ring with gems created by 3D Jewelry Design is shown below. The process would be Sketch -> CAD Rendering -> to 3D Print (not shown). 

1. Sketch


2. CAD Rendering 

CAD Rendering 

Sustainability: 3D fashion printing makes the clothing production process more sustainable. Check out how Spanish fashion Brand ZER uses a 3D printer to make sustainable fashion creations in the video below: 

Personalization: The massive opportunities for personalization that 3D printing brings to the table are another huge boon for the fashion industry. Clothing can now be fabricated to fit the size and shape of each part of the body perfectly, allowing for the ultimate in customization. 

This capability also enables 3D printing techniques to delve into other areas of fashion, such as the apparel used in the sports and leisurewear market.

The low-top sneakers below in Venezia leather and suede are by Castanier Bespoke, a 3D configurator that makes fashion to order, custom creating designer men’s shirts and accessories such as men’s shoes, bags and belts for their clientele.


N41 ERP for Your Fashion Business Solutions

Technology is a wonderful thing, and for the 3D fashion business, managing the flow of products with inventory management technology is critical. N41 is a leading apparel and fashion ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software solution provider with innovative features and services. 

Our industry expertise allows us to service fashion brands, manufacturers, and wholesalers worldwide with superior business management solutions. Our ERP software helps you know where your garments, shoes or jewelry are in the fulfillment process at all times and stages. 

If you are interested in learning more about how our N41 Apparel ERP All-In-One system can empower your business, you can fill out our online form or click the “sign up for demo” button on the same page. Alternatively, you can continue to browse through our site to find out how our N41 Apparel ERP can assist your fashion business.

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