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3D printing enters the world of fashion

Image courtesy Danit Peleg

Fit to Print

New York Fashion Week is here, and we’re getting in on the action. So we’ve teamed up with men’s e-tailer Frank & Oak to bring you Fashion-Tech Week – everything you need to know from the intersection of tech and fashion.

The fashion world has certainly never been accused of lacking innovation, but the industry is still in the early stages of harnessing the potential of 3D printing. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the shows, students, and printers pushing 3D printing to the forefront of fashion.

Put On A Show
Though New York Fashion Week will feature some 3D-printed clothing, such as a pair of “Lemon Peel” shoes and a dress designed by Francis Bitoni, the real showcase for 3D style in New York took place back in April at the first 3D Print Fashion Show. Though we don’t expect many of the show’s featured designs – multi-nosed face helmet, we’re talking to you – to take off on the market, the event showcased the design method’s potential. “3D printing will change the world,” said featured designer Melinda Looi, who revealed a 3D-printed evening gown at the show. “Maybe not now, but in times to come 3D printing will usher in a new era by enabling machines to produce objects of any shape, on the spot, and as needed.”

Class, Passed
Ten thousand hours may certify you an expert; for Israeli fashion student Danit Peleg, 2,000 hours was enough to create a 3D printed collection at home. Peleg used small consumer 3D printers to print small pieces of each garment, which she would then glue together. Using a particularly flexible filament aptly named FilaFlex, Peleg’s dresses, skirts, shoes, and tops feature a lacey texture, in an attempt to match the comfort of cloth.

Self-Designed for Self Defense
Another Israeli fashion student has begun producing 3D-printed apparel as well, for decidedly different reasons. Nitzan Kish’s 3D printed modular pieces can be constructed into various pieces of clothing, and can be weaponized, boasting spikes, ropes, and flexicuffs to fend off would-be aggressors. Dubbing the collection Me, Myself, and I, Kish says she created the line in response to Israel’s high rate of sexual harassment and assault.

The Future Looms
As designers look for filament that can most closely mimic fabric, Electroloom has developed a 3D printer that actually produces fabric by spraying a cotton and polyester solution onto a template. The Electroloom prototype, which was successfully backed on Kickstarter in June, requires eight to fourteen hours to print a garment, and those who backed the printer on Kickstarter will have to be patient as well – printers are expected to ship out next March.

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