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Where next for fashion and 3D printing

Where next for fashion and 3D printing

In our past post, we explored the impact that 3D printing is having on the world of fashion. As we saw, an increasing number of designers are utilising the medium to create more complex and artistic high-end fashion pieces. But what do fashionistas predict for the fashion industry and 3D printing in the future? Explore what the experts have to say in this follow up post.

When will we get access to 3D printers?

Although the fashion industry is important, most consumers are more interested in finding out when they can begin designing and printing their own clothes and accessories.

3D print designers and manufacturers predict that in just a few years time we may see 3D printers become a mainstay in our homes. Google’s Director of Engineering, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil argues that we may have access to 3D printers at home by 2020. He states:

“By 2020 there will be a whole host of products available immediately to buy for pennies on the dollar and to print straight away. It will become the norm for people to have printers in their homes.”

Designer Andrew Bolton notes that household 3D printing will give customers more options, allowing for ‘couture designs at home’. This bespoke clothing will fit better than anything consumers might buy in high street stores.

3D printed clothing set to take off

Ray Kurzweil also predicts that 3D printed clothing is set to become more popular. The garments currently being printed are made from rigid materials, rather than the soft textiles we are used to. As a result, 3D printed clothing designs have mostly been limited to catwalks.

Despite this current limitation, some designers have already begun to produce softer fabrics that can be used with 3D printers. This step moves us closer to 3D printers being utilised by the major fashion houses.

To compete or explore?

Bird and Bird have also looked at how the technology may be utilised, or eschewed, by fashion brands in the future. They note that some premium fashion brands may look to compete with 3D printing by incorporating high quality handcrafting into their work.

They argue that a need for such services will also be prevalent within the industry, making it a good choice for brands looking to compete with the tech-heavy advancement. Bird and Bird also highlight that many designers will gain from the technology and could use it to help personalise their clothing for consumers.

Where fashion and 3D printing will lead

3D printing is predicted to elevate the fashion industry in the future. Many futurists and experts expect the technology to change the way we manufacture clothing, by allowing people to print their own clothes and accessories. Futurists also predict that 3D printing will begin to feature heavily in the manufacturing of designer clothing.

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