3D printing is a technology used to create a three-dimensional object using additive layers of the same product, aided by a digital file. The object is made by adding successive layers of the material used (in most cases plastic of different forms) consecutively, till the final product forms into a three-dimensional figure.
How Does 3D Printing Work?
It all starts by making a three-dimensional virtual design of the desired object. This is done on a software called CAD (Computer Aided Design) where you can start making a completely new design or scan an old one. Once this is done, the design can be printed out through a 3D printer. You can even buy a 3D printing pen (Rs 11,000 approx) to create anything you want – from a quarter plate to a brooch. 3D printing is being used across a variety of fields – bio-engineers are using it to make body parts such as ears and kidneys; architects to create construction models; and culinary students to make cookies!
The 'Iron Man' suit also involves some 3D printing
3D Printing in Fashion
So why should fashion stay behind? Fashion and technology are two sides of the same coin after all. 3D printing in fashion is essentially used to make clothes. Fantastical garments like Robert Downey Junior’s armour suit in the ‘Iron Man’ movies, for example, involves 3D printing. Though international runways have had it for a while now, but 3D printing is definitely the future of fashion. This fusion of technology and art can help reduce the dependence on manual labour. In recent times, brands with a big global presence have added 3D printing to their processes.
(L-R): 3D printed embellishments by Chanel at Paris Couture Week; A model at Victoria's Secret wearing 3D printed wings
This new technique is especially famous because of the versatility it can bring to couture. Chanel added an embroidered piece to its neckline at the Paris couture week. Other significant brands that have participated in the 3D printing game are Nike, Adidas and Victoria’s Secret. Celebrities such as Dita Von Teese and Katy Perry have even worn 3D printed dresses. With new innovations in the field each day, newer fabrics that have cotton weaved in plastic are being designed to increase wearability.
The future of 3D printed fashion looks really bright. You may even be able to print your own clothes some day!