Are we ready to create our own printed clothing?



At FESPA 2016, we gave a speech highlighting 3D printed clothing and what the future holds with 3D printed textiles and having the ability to print your own clothing in the comfort of your own home.

We took an in-depth look at Electroloom and the brilliant work they’re currently doing in created 3D printed fabrics which flex just like ordinary fibres. Now I’m going to take a look at some more designers who are leading the way when it comes to releasing ready-to-wear 3D printed clothing.

Iris Van Herpin, the Dutch fashion designer has recently unveiled a stunning collection of 3D printed dresses  which are ready to wear and all made from 3D printed materials. Unfortunately, the Dutch designers efforts are quite possibly best left to the runway or to a museum as they’re not quite ready to hit the high streets just yet. However, there are efforts being made to utilise the technology involved in creating 3D printed garments to tailor it to create wearable fashion which is more geared towards everyday needs.

At the University of Hertfordshire, a team of developers has created a prototype collection of wearable 3D printed clothing with their, potentially, revolutionary MODECLIX technology. The project is fully focused on creating printed textiles which possess similar qualities to cloth and the group behind the technology has successfully created a number of garments which are both wearable and customisable.

MODECLIX was created by Dr Shaun Borstrock, Associate Dean and the head of the Digital Hack Lab at the University of Hertfordshire. It was created in a collaboration with 3D design expert Mark Bloomfield, who specialises in creating 3D printed customisable jewellery with Electroloom. The idea to create 3D printed clothing based upon recreating and interpreting weaves, stitches and knit patterns to help create flowing, flexible 3D printed textiles.

The textiles are all printed in pieces rather than creating a full piece garment and this allows the clothing to be customised into any shape and size either during the 3D design stage or after the printed has been completed. The pieces are also designed so that they can be coloured easily and they can be adjusted and connected by simply attached the links by hand.

Dr Borstrock commented on the project; “Previous 3D printed designs have been mostly conceptual pieces that are solid, with little or no movement. We have strived to create stylish 3D printed garments that have sufficient movement to ensure that they are fluid, eye-catching and comfortable to wear. These prototypes are made, dyed and finished by hand and our aim now is to produce them for a wider market.” He also went on to comment “it will only be a matter of time before we see 3D collection on the high street and 3D printing technology in stores as part of everyday life. We’re pleased to be part of the movement that is exploring how this might become a reality.”

Mark Bloomfield went on to add “I’ve spent the last 25 years exploring how technology and 3D printing can enhance production techniques for jewellery and accessories, and this has been a fantastic opportunity to take this research even further. There is a huge amount of potential to develop complex construction techniques that defy traditional pattern cutting and create garments that are multi-functional, customisable and wearable.”

At the moment, the collection features 8 colourful dresses and two headpieces which will be officially unveiled on April 21st at the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival. You can also view the entire collection from May 1st on MODECLIX’s official website.

All of this, combined with Electroloom and Iris Van Herpen, points to a bright future in the 3D printed clothing industry. At Garment Printing, we’re always looking to stay ahead of the competition and we’re very keen to explore the 3D printing industry and the potential impact that this can have on fashion and clothing.

Stay tuned for more information on this and other exciting 3D projects by following our blog and subscribing to our social media channels.

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