It may seem hard to believe but 3D printing is expected to be the latest sustainable production trend in fashion. In 2014, 3D printed clothes and accessories made a record number of runway appearances. For their fall 2014 line, Pringle of Scotland used a laser sintered nylon technique. In 2013, Victoria’s Secret worked with Swarovski and Shapeways to design flamboyant accessories for their exhibition. Although 3D printing was originally associated with the creation of plastic models, substantial progress has been made in the production of textiles using various fibers.
Researchers at MIT have successfully printed a dome using 3D CAD tools and silkworms.
With a few tweaks, the pattern could easily be transformed into a finished dress. Knitting machines can already knit perfectly completed sweaters, but a 3D printing technique using silicone coated cotton yarn is in the works. It seems as though scientists will be the ones to set the next fashion trends.
But how is 3D printing more sustainable? For one, it has a smaller carbon footprint. Designers of fashion and accessories usually begin the manufacturing phase a year before the product is released onto the retail market. At the time, the designer goes through several product rounds and supplies procurement, accumulating samples from suppliers. Many of the trial and error of product design can be carried out digitally before producing the first model with 3D printing. The mountain of vendor samples that eventually wind up in the landfill at the end of the season can be avoided by deciding on the products to be used ahead of time. Producing your sample will be as hyper-local as your own studio if you are a designer with your own 3D printer. The majority of 3D printing firms, on the other hand, are domestic. The product is made from onsite materials and 3D printed patterns are pulled from computer archives. As a result, there’s no need to submit patterns or products to your vendor, designers save money on packaging and the environment is spared from the greenhouse emissions of freight vehicles.
Fabric pollution during the manufacturing of clothes is another major problem. 3D fiber printing is a Danish company’s solution to reducing cloth waste. Jess Fleischer’s