3D printed swimsuit. Source: Zhang Hongyu
3D printed swimsuit. Source: Zhang Hongyu

To add a little splash to beach season, why not try 3D printed swimsuits?

Zhang Hongyu, a Chinese designer, has done just that with a 3D printed swimsuit collection. The collection was showcased at the Shanghai Fashion Week 2014. The Shanghai Fashion Week included 45 different fashion shows. The runway was full of color, with an LED screen showing a beach scene. Harps mimicked the sound of waves. Everyone was talking about the 3D printed swimsuit collection.

How comfortable are the swimsuits? Zhang explained that the material used to 3D print the swimsuits is silicone, allowing designers to add delicate elements while still having a soft feel.

Zhang says that in future, customers will be able to send in body scans and have their garment printed to fit their body shape. Since the technology has advanced, the costs have come down, enabling designers to create small batches of tailored garments. In 2011, Mary Huang created the world’s first 3D printed bikini. Designers will likely continue with the trend, using 3D printing to develop original, bespoke fashion pieces.

Chinese actress Gong Li made an appearance at the show, saying “I have several swimsuits myself, although I'm not an excellent swimmer. But I do think this is a good concept, and designer swimwear is a terrific idea, because you can actually style your look, play with the colors and the way you wear them.”

“This is not just a swimsuit, it also makes the people who wear it feel happy and look charming. Swimming is part of beach culture. So we want our customers to experience beach culture, to make them feel like they're on a relaxing holiday,” Zhang said.

Would you wear a 3D printed swimsuit?