3D Printing in Fashion: How Are 3D Printers Used In The Fashion Industry?


12th Dec'22
3D Printing in Fashion: How Are 3D Printers Used In The Fashion Industry? | OpenGrowth


In many industries, including the fashion sector, 3D printing technology is regarded as one of the most cutting-edge and important technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. Numerous industry experts have predicted that the usage of 3D printing technology will skyrocket in the consumer goods, fashion, aviation, and aerospace sectors. The expansion of technological capabilities in 3D printing and 3D scanning opens the door to innovations that will fundamentally alter the way goods are produced and traded in the fashion and textile industries. Since designers and clothing producers realized the value and advantages of 3D printing technology, the usage of 3D printers in the textile and fashion business is receiving more attention nowadays. With the aid of unique shapes and geometries that have never been manufactured before, they can utilize this technology to build wonderful 3D-printed apparel. They can also prototype using it, which creates a procedure for producing sustainable fashion.


Aspects of Fashion 3D Printers in Practice


In a more practical setting, 3D printing technology in fashion can be used to create prototypes and manufacturing tools, advance sustainability initiatives, and increase customization options. 


The application of 3D printing technology in the fashion industry:

1. 3D-printed accessories for fashion


Fashion 3D printers can be used to support the many components of a whole design, such as embellishments, accessories, and buttons, as opposed to 3D printing the entire articles of clothing. Using 3D printing, small end-use accessories can be quickly and simply added. TPU is one of those excellent and flexible materials that can be employed to add priceless or one-of-a-kind embellishments to the garment itself. When designing and evaluating costume jewelry with intricate geometric shapes and patterns, 3D printing is also useful.


2. Tooling and prototyping


Prototyping and making tools are two of the most often used professional 3D printing applications in production, and the fashion sector is no exception. For every new shoe collection they develop or design, Camper, a well-known Spanish shoe manufacturing company, builds many prototypes and concept models using BCN3D printers. They used to typically outsource the creation of these models, but doing so increases costs and lengthens the design manufacturing process. Now that many 3D printers have advanced to become in-house devices, their designers can have a far clearer understanding of the volumes and shapes of their creations.

3D printing in fashion

Since 3D printers enable designers to swiftly evaluate and visualize the practicality of their creations, they are able to take more design risks. By prototyping various design iterations in this way, designers are given greater time and creative flexibility to create brand-new, ground-breaking concepts.

3. Construct sustainability

As more designers and businesses start to focus on using sustainable production techniques to build their collections, 3D printing technology in the fashion industry has grown in popularity. The creative move made by the Spanish fashion label ZER is a fantastic illustration of this. They employ additive manufacturing techniques across the design and production processes to establish themselves as a viable force in the fashion sector. They develop their own patterns using different 3D printers before printing only the quantity of merchandise they required. This enables them to reduce the number of materials wasted for each garment and guarantees that their manufacturing method does not harm the environment.

4. Customization

Last but not least, fashion 3D printing creates new possibilities for personalization. Brands can start creating unique items based on the needs or body parts of the buyer. Since 2015, Adidas, a sportswear business with its headquarters in Germany, has been experimenting with this idea. They created a shoe that offers the best fit for any runner when they are participating in sports using running data from numerous runners. Today, they continue the experiment using several iterations and alterations of this 3D-printed sneaker.


What Benefits Can 3D Printing Offer?


Comparing this manufacturing technique to more conventional ones, it has a number of benefits. These advantages include those relating to design, time, and money, amongst others.


1. Flexible Design


More complicated designs may be created and printed using 3D printing than using conventional manufacturing techniques. With the use of 3D printing, design limitations that are present in more conventional procedures are no longer an issue.


2. Prototyping quickly


The prototyping process is sped up by the ability of 3D printing to produce parts in a matter of hours. This makes it possible for each step to finish sooner. In comparison to machining prototypes, 3D printing is less expensive and faster at producing components because the part may be done in a matter of hours. This makes it possible to complete each design alteration considerably more quickly.


3. Print on Demand

When it comes to print on demand services, standing out from the crowd is essential. One way to achieve this is by utilizing innovative techniques and products. In this regard, the use of an inkjet printer for screen printing can make a significant difference. By incorporating an inkjet printer into the screen printing process, companies can take advantage of its precision and versatility.

Another benefit of print-on-demand is that, unlike traditional production methods, it doesn't require much space to store inventory. As there is no need to print in quantity unless necessary, this saves both space and money.

Since the 3D design files are printed using a 3D model as either a CAD or STL file, they are all kept in a virtual library where they can be found and printed as needed. By altering individual files, changes to designs can be made for relatively little money without wasting outdated stock or spending money on tools.


4. Strong and light components

Although various metals can also be used, plastic is the primary material for 3D printing. However, plastics offer advantages as they are lighter than their metal equivalents. This is crucial in sectors like automotive and aircraft where weight reduction is a concern and can result in higher fuel economy.

Additionally, pieces can be made from customized materials to offer particular qualities like heat resistance, increased strength, or water repellency.


5. Rapid production and design

Compared to molded or machined parts, 3D printing can produce an object in a matter of hours, depending on the part's complexity and design. Through 3D printing, time can be saved not only during the part's production but also during the design phase by producing STL or CAD files that are ready for printing.

Rapid production and design

6. Reducing waste

When compared to other technologies, which use enormous chunks of non-recyclable materials, the manufacture of components uses only the materials required for the part itself, with little to no waste. The procedure not only conserves resources but also lowers the price of the materials used.


The Technology of 3D Printing in the Future


The application of 3D printing technology in the fashion industry can be seen as becoming more common each day. It is obvious that 3D-printed apparel has several advantages. To create jewelry, accessories, and apparel with 3D printers, fashion designers and architects must invest time and money in learning various modeling tools. When 3D printing is widely available, everyone might be able to utilize it quickly and easily using features like easily downloaded blueprints and creating clothing in their own houses. It might not be necessary to manufacture clothing and fashion goods in low-cost nations. Additionally, there may be a number of shops and outlets where anyone can go in and 3D print their own fashion things.


Today, 3D printers can be seen on the campuses of numerous renowned fashion institutes and fashion design schools throughout the globe. They are also providing a variety of courses in the area of 3D printed clothing due to its demand.



The application of 3D printing technology in the fashion industry is moving at a rapid pace. Given the current situation, advances made possible by the improvement in technical capabilities in 3D printing and 3D scanning have the potential to change production and commerce in the fashion and textile industries. It appears that customized apparel and footwear will soon be produced by 3D printers, opening up new opportunities for functional textiles and 4D printing, which will advance 3D printing to a new level with creative uses. The entire value chain in the garment business, from design and prototyping to the finished product and its delivery time, is changing thanks to 3D printing and 3D technology in general. It is crucial for any industry that the construction of the collection be done quickly, accurately, and affordably thanks to 3D visualization. The company will have greater flexibility and will be able to respond to new trends and draw customers to the product much faster if the prototype production is sped up, waiting periods are reduced, and variants are always possible. Overall, the introduction of 3D printing technology to the fashion industry has been beneficial to its growth and has great potential for the future.


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