Currently 3D printed clothing is very haute couture, as evidenced by the 3D printed gowns on display at Manus x Machina, the Met Costume Institute’s spring exhibition. But there seems to be a strong likelihood that printing your outfits from home might be a possibility for the average consumer in the coming years.
3D printers continue to offer up new possibilities, from creating everyday items (did you break a mug? simply print yourself a new one) to manufacturing complex prostheses. Revolutionizing the world of fashion seems a logical step in the development of 3D printing technology. Andrew Bolton, curator of Manus x Machina, has high hopes for the influence 3D printing may have on future fashions. “It can be as revolutionary as the sewing machine,” he said. “It means you can 3D print your dress to your exact measurements at home.” Bespoke or couture clothing, mainly the purview of the wealthy and those with tailoring skills, might be more readily accessible in the future.
And 3D printed clothes could potentially be very green. “Because it has the ability to mould exactly to your measurements, it’s environmentally friendly, too” Bolton said. “There’s no waste, whereas there’s always waste with textiles.”
At the moment most 3D printed clothing is stiff, and highly structured, but designers are slowly improving the technology so that it can produce a wider range of clothing with different materials.
For those interested in seeing the cutting edge of fashion, Manus x Machina will be open from May 5th to August 14th, 2016.