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3D printing has evolved over the last five years and is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. The industrial manufacturing sector is helping develop final products that are done at a low-volume tooling and fixtures that are ultimately a lot more cost-effective than the traditional methods used.

It was forecast recently by MarketsandMarkets that the global 3D printing market will grow by 22.5% a year. The technology’s effectiveness was proven during the pandemic when a lot of these 3D printing companies would print parts for PPE.

So how will 3D printing reshape the luxury fashion industry? In this article, you’ll learn more about the advantages of 3D printing and how different product types can benefit from this form of manufacturing in 2022.

Advantages of 3D printing in luxury fashion

There are many advantages of utilising 3D printing in the luxury fashion sector. One of which, you can create small batch sizes, eliminating the need to wait weeks or months for overseas shipments. This can be of benefit to some of the exclusive luxury fashion brands that only do limited inventory.

Quick printing means that if a product goes out of stock, you’ve got a quick manufacturing option in place to reprint the desired materials. Improved fabrics are also a benefit for luxury brands where top-quality craftsmanship is key in every single on of the products offered.

Possibly one of the best advantages to 3D printing is that this type of clothing is a lot easier to recycle and reuse. It means that the fast-fashion ‘eye of sauron’ that was placed on luxury fashion recently can be appeased. Luxury brands can make an active effort by using more sustainable ways of manufacturing fashion products.

Types of fashion products that can be 3D printing

How is 3D printing changing the fashion industry? There are different types of fashion products available that can offer 3D printing and that are being used more when it comes to luxury fashion.

Personalised shoes

A lot of designer and high-street fashion brands are looking at personalised shoes and tailoring the experience created by 3D. The German sportswear brand Adidas introduced it’s own 3D-printed midsole way back in 2015 and has already sold more than 100,000 pairs of the evolved Futurecraft 4D footwear.

Personalised shoes
Image Source: Adidas.co.uk

As far as fashion products go, this surreal process is one that allows the wearer to completely customise their footwear. From the weight of the shoe to the overall shape to fit their foot like Cinderalla’s glass slipper!

Clothing for the film industry

A lot of 3D clothing is being used for the film industry not just on set but on the red carpet too. From full-length dresses to eccentric pieces that almost look space-like and futuristic in it’s appearance. There’s no limits to what shapes and patterns can be created, which is why it’s being utilised in the film industry and also on the catwalk.

Jewellery

Jewellery is another area of fashion that can be made simpler with the help of 3D technology. Whilst having hand-crafted, state of the art jewellery made by ring makers or jewellery makers in general, a 3D printer can print in gold. Yes, actual gold!

Eyewear

For any luxury eyewear brands, designing frames for 3D is something that’s very easy and is another customisable opportunity for those who wear glasses. Whether that’s a pair of prescription frames to some luxurious designer sunglasses. 3D printed fashion accessories are even easier to create when it comes to this technology.

Brands leveraging 3D printed luxury fashion clothes

There are many brands who are making use of the 3D printing in luxury fashion clothing. As it’s already been mentioned, Adidas used this technology to create it’s own custom footwear. Here are just a few 3D printing fashion brands currently leveraging this technology in the luxury market.

Karl Lagerfield

One of the early adopters of 3D printing in luxury fashion is Karl Lagerfield. Stunning the crowds of a Paris Fashion Week, the highly reputable designer displayed a range of outfits all created with 3D technology.

Karl Lagerfield - 3d printed clothes
Image Source: Fashionunited.uk

Above is the iconic 3D printed dress that was showcased back in 2015.

Rocio

It’s been suggested by an online source, that designer handbag brand Rocio is set to showcase 3D handbags. This eco-friendly, luxury brand is certainly showing the bigger luxury fashion institutes that being both luxury and sustainable is possible.

Rocio - 3d printed clothes
Image Source: Rocio.co.uk

Future fashion trends will likely incorporate more 3D clothing not just for it’s sustainable benefits but how easy it can be to produce and shorten the expense of supply chains.

Julia Körner

Julia, one of the most famous designers for her 3D printed clothing in the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther.

Julia Krner - 3d printed fashion designer
Image Source: 3dprintedart.stratasys.com

Back in 2013, she developed the first 3D printed dress and has since created some stunning visuals in the form of 3D clothing. Nature seems to be a great inspiration for the designer and founder of JK Design.

Challenges of adopting 3D printing in luxury fashion

Whilst there may be many advantages, there are also disadvantages of 3D printing in fashion.

Lack of printers that are catered for fashion

There does seem to be a significant problem with 3D printers and the materials available for fashion products. They’re not all fashion-friendly, which can make it challenge for a lot of brands both luxury and non-luxury to utilise this type of manufacturing.

Optimising these printers to cater for fashion printing in 3D would solve a lot of these issues but at the moment, the market is limited.

Protection of intellectual property rights

Another challenge of 3D printing for the fashion industry is the protection of intellectual property rights. As 3D printers become more available for personal use, there might be a rise in digital counterfeiting if customers end up possessing illegal or legal copies of a CAD file. It means a lot of fashion brands need to invest in both improving 3D products but protecting them too.

We will continue to see 3D printing in luxury fashion and just like any type of technology and manufacturing, improvements and enhancements will be made. Who knows what the luxury fashion market will look like in the next decade or so?

Fashion eCommerce Agency
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