Friday, December 23, 2011

Textile Friday: 3D Printed Clothing

    I loved the idea of replicators in Star Trek, the idea that you could take base molecules and make them into real things. Today I wanted to show you that clothing became 3D printed this past year by designer Iris van Herpen. We're seeing a concept of plastic used as clothing this season. It's beautiful to watch and exotic. I love the idea of going home from a long day and simply dropping your old outfit in a bin to have it recycled into a new clean dress for you to wear the next day. Imagine what you would do with all that extra closet space. If you've ever seen Lady Gaga, you've seen her handiwork. The rest of us would probably prefer something more normal today. However the future is an open book. What looks normal today will probably look strange or exotic to our future descendants.

Now before you see this video as the wave of the future, this technology is still several years out (probably closer to decades) and even on these only a portion is made using a 3D printer. Most of the 3D effect is very time consuming (it took 1 printer 7 days printing 24 hrs. a day to produce even the smaller pieces)and very uncomfortable. So, a lot of the pieces are still fabricated using traditional methods and equipment with portions made with a 3D printer. This makes it more of a exotic animal than a real mainstream method. 

The major drawback to this besides current technology that I see is that plastic for most people isn't that great of a material. It doesn't breath well and sewing it tends to give people headaches. Also, 3D printed parts are extremely delicate. They tend to lack the advantages of strength that weaving a garment provides. Nor does plastic last as long as most natural materials. I think either the printing time would have to come down significantly or the materials would have to improve dramatically for clothing. Probably both.

However, there are very few of these drawbacks in the accessory market (items are more static and there is less need for motion or touch). As a result you are already seeing 3D printed shoes by several houses and I predict bags as well in short order. Such as this pair which walked for Mercedes Benes Fashion Week by Andreia Chaves. I think that this is a more commercial twist that has promising trends. The guts are still handmade which shows that the technology still has a way to go...however if you're a fashion icon with money to burn you can own something very few if any other people in the world will be able to.

Have a great weekend everyone, see ya next week. 

No comments:

Post a Comment