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There are thousands of ways companies can innovate and
expand, especially when it comes to fashion, and 3D printing seems to be
the next big thing.

The fashion industry has traditionally been at the forefront of many
modern technologies, so it only makes sense that it would adopt 3D
printing as well. The future of 3D printing is not in haute couture,
however, it is not far from it – people will one day be able to print
their own clothes at home, customized and fitted to perfection. While
the technology is not completely there yet, once it is fully
implemented, 3D printing and its uses could redefine the entire
industry.

3D printing, when it comes to fashion, is still in its infancy.
Most established fashion houses have not touched the technology, save
for some designers, such as Iris van Herpen, known for her famously
avant-garde creations. While actually accessible 3D printed clothing is a
long way off, if more designers start to champion the technology, it
could trickle down into mass production.

One of the many benefits of 3D printing is that it would be much easier to produce garments that are your exact measurements.
This could be absolutely revolutionary for the industry – printing your
clothes at home generates endless possibilities for both designers and
consumers alike, and is something that is both innovative and
utilitarian. Imagine simply pressing a button and having a perfectly
tailored dress or pants printed inside your home, without the need to
take a trip to your tailor or boutique.

Another way in which 3D printing could revolutionize the industry comes in the form of sustainability.
With textiles, there is always an incredible amount of waste left over.
3D printing, however, could significantly cut down on this waste, and
create ways in which designers can be more environmentally conscious
while still producing their best work. Through the use of this
technology, designers can explore a new route to sustainable fashion.
The industry has long been known for its unsustainable practices – it
consumes an enormous amount of resources, and amasses a vast amount of
waste, making the production of most apparel non-environmentally
friendly. It’s a serious problem that needs to be looked at with a more
contemporary perspective.

3D printing could provide the necessary elements needed to increase
fashion’s sustainability. Of course, the technology is not quite at this
level. In order to create a more sustainable future, the 3D printing
process could take years to perfect, but the core principles are there.
Once more designers begin to adopt and experiment with the printing
process, actually sustainable, zero-waste fashion could become a
reality.

The problem at the forefront of this movement is the highly conceptual material. Consumers
do not want fully plastic apparel; they want something that is natural
and flexible and easy to wear, much like the cotton and Lycra clothing
of today. Most people cannot nor do they want to wear an architectural
couture gown. In addition, they need accessible and affordable garments.
Most cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for an avant-garde dress
– they need something that is more functional and priced at their
budget. The technology is evolving, however, and will continue to
progress quickly as more innovative techniques are brought out.
Hopefully, by then, many designers, and not just Iris van Herpen, will
openly embrace the process.

In all, the future of 3D printing seems to be pointing
towards allowing individual designers and consumers to print their own
apparel at home.
While both the materials and technology are
not quite there yet, there are advances being made every day. The
process will bring something revolutionary and cutting-edge to the
industry, and will move from the conceptual runways of Iris van Herpen
to regular consumers’ homes instead. With a seamless blend of both
fashion and technology, 3D printing could become the next big thing for
both industries.