Fashion Meets 3D Printing

Have you ever imagined how it would be to print your clothes? Maybe you do now, but I’m pretty sure you didn’t a few years ago.

At first, 3D printing was used mostly for industrial applications, but now, thanks to the decreasing of 3D printers’ prices in 2010, this technology is slowly entering the world of fashion too. At the moment, it’s even possible to buy yourself a desktop 3D printer for your home or studio.

Big brands such as Nike and Adidas as well as artists like Michael SchmidtFrancis Bitonti and Iris van Herpen are experimenting with this technique in order to take garments to the next level. Inspired by these artists, a Panamanian Fashion and Textile Design student, Nadir Gordon, wanted to create a garment shaped as waves that crash against the coastline. But how could one create something like that using the traditional ways of manufacturing? It may be possible, but it’s certainly very hard.

With a little help of a friend, Jonathan Guerra, a 3D printing expert from Panama City, Gordon managed to design the dress in less than a day. The garment was divided into 14 different parts which were then printed and fused together using soldering iron.


According to the model, the garment was well-fitted and comfortable to wear. However, the soldering material apparently wasn’t strong enough, which caused some of the garment pieces to break. After they re-soldered those parts, the dress was to be worn. Still, this is only a catwalk material and would never be worn in real life.

So, the most wearable 3D printed items remain the accessories such as shoes, bags and jewelry. I found some impressive collections of both men and women printed accessories at Cubify but I’m pretty sure they’re not the only ones owning such a business.

There was Michael Schmidt, who managed to create the first articulated 3D printed gown for the burlesque icon, Dita Von Teese. Schmidt designed a gown inspired by the mathematical formula known as ‘The Golden Ratio’, a spiral that historically is said to quantify the ideal proportions of beauty. He partnered with an architect named Francis Bitonti and together, they managed to make a printed dress which achieves malleability due to the 3,000 articulated joints. The gown was printed in 17 sections which were then dyed, lacquered and joined together. As a finishing touch, the dress was embellished by hand with over 12,000 Swarovski crystals.

I think that Schmidt’s affirmation („this technology allows you to create items that are limited solely by your imagination”) is completely true and I’m really looking forward to see what’s next.

Read more: The History of 3D Printing

(image source: Michael Schmidt Studios, Cubify and 3D Printing)

* Alexandra Giurgițeanu *

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    1. I agree with you. Still, the dress for Dita was actually pretty wearable. It was one of her red carpet outfits. Unfortunatelly, as far as I know, there are no other wearable printed clothes.

  1. 3d printing for fashion is such an amazing idea! I just love the way technology can change the future. I will have to watch this and see how much progress can be made in fashion.

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