Rapid prototyping offers solutions to engineering obstacles over a wide spectrum of industries. A business focusing on manufacturing new pharmaceutical devices, for example, is just one of the many sectors that we would typically expect to have been positively influenced by this cutting edge technology. Naturally, the public has been awestruck by these innovative printer and people are eager to get their hands on one – well, that is, if they can afford it.

One group in particular showing an interest with this applied science is the fashion industry. Designers are utilizing 3D Printing technology to offer a unique and artistic twist to the already fashion-forward garments they create for their models. Is it possible that society is trending toward wearing 3D Printed items as part of their everyday attire? There are some designers out there looking to make a statement, both on and off the runway.

Last Spring, Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, had a 3D Printed dress featured during a fashion show in Paris. Van Herpen worked to create this icicle-like dress with the “Father of 3D Printing,” Chuck Hull. Hull invented the Stereolithography or “SLA” printing method, where thin layers of plastic are printed from bottom to top, and then each layer is cured by an ultraviolet light. Hull coined the term “Stereolithography” back in the late 1980’s when he patented this idea. To create the dress, Van Herpen first scanned an image of the model’s body and then had the garment printed in two separate sections. The designer then had to assemble the final product while the model was standing, in order for the dress to be worn.

3D Printing and Fashion

Another designer enthused by 3D printed attire is Fashion Design student, Nadir Gordon.  Gordon said that she created her 3D printed swimsuit after being inspired by Van Harpen’s stunning runway sensation.  The garment Gordan calls “Waves” was printed using a MakerBot 3D Printer, and was designed after the rippling effect of the ocean’s waves crashing against a rocky coastline.

3D Printing and Fashion

3D Printed accessories have also become a very popular fashion statement, where designers are only limited by their imagination.  Bronze, nylon plastic, and PLA are some of the materials used to create these fascinating works of art.  Unique and beautifully constructed necklaces, earrings, and bracelets have become widely available to the public through retail websites, such as Etsy.

3D Printing and Fashion

Though the practicality and functionality of 3D printed attire is somewhat debatable, it’s amusing to think that the era of futuristic clothing is finally upon us. For more information on our Stratasys line of 3D printers, please click the button below.

(Photos borrowed from 3Dprinting.com and the Etsy website.)