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Filaments: The fabric of the future?

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace

Fashion is an ever changing and ever present industry that grows and changes like the tides of the wave. The monetary and ecological cost of sourcing, assembling, and shipping materials is staggering and, as people are beginning to acknowledge- altogether unsustainable.

Textiles and Fabrics

3D printed fabric. Sounds like something a fictional superheroes outfit would be made off, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s closer to reality than you think with many fashion designers experimenting with interesting geometrics and designs. In fact, if you tune in to the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show you’ve probably already seen it. Model Lindsay Ellingson walked the carpet in a made to her measurements 3D printed corset.

Source: Nervous Systems

So what exactly are 3D printed fabrics?

Traditional fabric is two dimensional and the strands are woven horizontally, criss-cross or vertically. 3D printing however, brings fabric to life using materials like PLA and FilaFlex. According to fashion designer Gabi Asfour, 3D printed fabric would be more breathable, flexible and make movement easier as well as eliminating wrinkles.

Loads of major fashion labels and sports brands like Nike and Adidas are also using 3D printing to create high performance padding and shoe soles, which typically are made out of foam with a uniform stiffness. The problem with traditional shoes is that when they get wet they get heavier, thus hindering the performance of runners and dancers alike. TPU material is hydrophobic and ensures that shoes do not absorb excess water or moisture. It is also a few grams more lightweight and has more ‘bounce’ to it.

Tetra 175n necklace Source: Nervous Systems


Additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies in the jewelry market is slowly gaining a decent amount of acclaim from designers across the globe. 3D printed jewelry isn’t really elusive – a quick Google hunt will yield numerous results.

Already shown to be useful in craftsmanship and fashion, and architecture, 3D printing is currently driving efforts towards the 3D printed jewelry industry. Since 3D printers are capable of printing in precious metals, in addition to just plastics, it is possible to create beautiful and complicated designs of 3D printed jewelry.

Nervous Systems, a company founded in the year 2007 by two MIT graduates, Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg design interesting, affordable and complex 3D printed jewelry- amongst other items. They believe they are a design studio that works at the intersection of science, art, and technology and their products prove this point. According to the founders, “We use inexpensive materials and believe that the value of our designs comes from an intelligent and beautiful marriage of form and function, not the current price of currency standards.”

3D Printed watch?

For a watch-maker, the most considerable standpoint of utilising 3D printing for his watches is essentially opportunity. In fact, this assembling procedure offers a considerable measure of opportunity during the creative process, but also during the production process.

In 2015, using colorFabb’s woodFill filament, a designer named Keval Chand Swami, designed the world’s first fully functional 3D printed watch for Fracktal Works. Utilizing the company’s Julia v2 series 3D printer, Swami 3D printed his design in numerous pieces, including every one of the 20 individual links, and the whole watch body with the exception of the actual mechanical analog components. The printing procedure took only around 2:30 hours to fully finish. In order to for the actual mechanics to work, the team basically ‘Frankensteined’ the watch by using the mechanics of an old analog watch.

The files for the watch have been made available to anyone interested in 3D printing one themselves, on Thingiverse, and the size can be completely customized based on the number of links you decide to print out.

Source: 3D Print.com

Move over Gucci and Prada

Imagine a world where you can design your own bag from scratch. An Italian company called XYZbag, established by design pair, Annalisa and Matteo, built a “create your bag” online

configuration which includes a range of chic 3D printed totes. The purses can be planned and requested on the company’s website, enabling the client to technically manufacture their own purse and be a part of the entire procedure, from start to finish. The market for designing and assembling purses that are 3D built provides the opportunity of customisation. As the founders expressed, everybody is unique and thus so should the bags.

In 2014, Nike launched a product called the Rebento Duffel, part of a larger kit which was a 3D printed sports bag for players that were competing in the FIFA World Cup. Only three Rebento duffels exist, manufactured for Brazilian player Neymar Jr., the highest paid player in the sport with a contract for $263 million.

Source: Dezeen

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