3D Printing Puts Its Foot in the Fashion Industry

3D Printing Puts Its Foot in the Fashion Industry

When people hear of 3D printing, they often think of the more well known applications, such as in the medical and automotive industries. However, lately it appears 3D printing is creating a name for itself in an entirely different industry- fashion. 

Designers and entrepreneurs around the world have begun creating wearable items using 3D printing. Whether it is eyeglasses, bracelets, or bikinis, this new craze is just one of the many possible applications of 3D printing.

Protos Eyewear is a 3D printing glasses company currently raising money through crowd funding. Aside from offering trendy glasses at affordable prices, Protos Eyewear provides custom fit eyewear made based on the specific shape of the buyer's face. This means each pair of glasses is made on a per order basis meeting customer specifications. Customers have the option to design their own glasses or choose from 25 previously designed frames.

The founder of Protos Eyewear, John Mauriello explains even the smallest change in glasses size can greatly improve the comfort and fit of glasses. Protos Eyewear is able to make prescription lenses, so they are not only providing a fashion forward product but also a useful one.Until September 26th there are special deals offered on their website as part of their crowd funding effort. The cheapest lenses cost $199, which is comparable to what other high end glasses on the market cost. Also, their products are partially covered by insurance further reducing the cost to the consumer.

3D printing also has applications in the clothing segment of the market, with designers such as L.A. based Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti creating a dress that was modeled by Dita Von Teese earlier this year at a New York conference. Bitonti commented on the use of 3D printing, saying "There's a precision we're not used to encountering in the physical world". The gown was printed in 7 different pieces and contains 3000 movable joints.

A concern with 3D printing clothing is the high costs associated with the finished product.  Although 3D printed clothes can be costly, there are several benefits that help justify this. Much like 3D printed glasses allow users to purchase products based on their exact measurements, 3D printing clothing provides the same benefits. Furthermore, there are several companies that offer 3D printed clothing at a more affordable price, such as San Francisco's Continuum. They offer 3D printed clothing and accessories, with prices as low as $60 for statement jewellery. This is comparable to what you would pay for other jewellery, which is likely nowhere near as customized.

Another major concern with 3D printing clothing is the weight of the material. However, many 3D printing firms utilize their own materials to create a lighter weight option. The 3D printed dress Dita Von Teese wore weighed 11.5 pounds, which Schmidt said "is lighter than most of the costumes Dita wears on stage."  

So whether or not you are looking for new glasses, clothing or other accessories, consider 3D printed pieces for that hard to find custom fit. What new designs would you create using 3D printing?






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