Dita von Teese wearing a 3D printed dress designed by  Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti. Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10963335.htm
Dita von Teese wearing a 3D printed dress designed by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti. Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10963335.htm

How would you like to make your own clothing designs and 3D print them? This is a current reality. Many designers have already started using 3D printers for creating their designs. Designers such as Melinda Looi, Asher Levine, and Anne Zellien have all used 3D printing for their purposes. Soon, this may be a reality for everyone else as well.

Why 3D Print Clothes?

Currently 3D-printed clothes remain in the circles of elite designers. Avant-garde pieces can be created using plastics that are built specifically for the model who will wear it. This also brings up the possibility of tailoring clothes specifically for the wearer using 3D modeling software rather than an old-fashioned tailor of old. 3D printed shoes will also allow individuality and customized modifications. Creating and wearing clothes will be become more personalized, designed specifically for the individual, by the individual.

The Costs of 3D Printed Clothes

The costs of 3D-printed clothes are still prohibitive for the average consumer. Some 3D printed shoes can be upwards of $2,000 and clothing may cost even more, depending on the size and design. Early adopters of 3D printed clothes will likely be celebrities and designers until the costs come down.

3D Printed Clothing Materials

Currently, the most common materials are plastic, resin, certain metals, and rubber-like material. Printers such as the Connex 500 can print over 100 materials. However, since most print beds are rather small, larger fashion pieces typically need to be printed in several parts and put together. But with material such as plastic, this may be preferable, as it would be difficult to print plastic or resin clothing that could be put on like traditional cloth. Essentially, the design is assembled onto the model piece by piece. As more materials become available for 3D printing, we will see some interesting options. Perhaps there will be a cloth-like material that becomes available.

In the meantime, 3D-printed clothes and shoes, although unique, are less comfortable than current methods of manufacturing. The plastic material is reminiscent of whale-bone and metal corsets in fit and function. 3D-printed shoes are not wearable for long periods of time. Although for certain celebrities, such as Lady Gaga, form over function will always prevail.

The Future of 3D Printed Fashion

Although it may be several years into the future, we can still try our hand at designing our own clothes, shoes, and jewelry. There are several 3D printing service companies, including WhiteClouds, which can 3D print your designs, thus reducing the need to purchase a costly 3D printer. Small designs such as jewelry and accessories are within the means of the average consumer. Tailored clothing will enable people to create and customize styles perfect for their body type. 3D printed prom dresses and other fanciful fare may become a reality sooner than we expect. 

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