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3D Printing & the Digitization of Fashion


In a guest blog for WhichPLM exploring the possibilities of 3D printed fashion, Fashion Designer Danit Peleg, shares her first exclusive with us. Known for her work in 3D printed fashion, she shares her beliefs on where the industry is headed, and how she is keeping up.

I’m a Fashion Designer based in Tel Aviv, Israel, known for my work in 3D printed fashion. In 2015, I 3D printed my graduate collection for Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, and the story made waves in the fashion and tech worlds. My seminal collection included 5 looks that were entirely 3D printed using desktop printers that can be used from home. My collection received global attention within both the fashion and tech communities. In the summer of 2016, I was invited to design a 3D printed dress for the headliner dancer at one of the most moving segments of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics Games.

I spoke at TED and my collections have been featured in Forbes, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many more. I strongly believe that advancements in 3D printing technology could revolutionize fashion design and manufacturing processes. If the technology does improve significantly the benefits will be huge — less shipping costs, more personalization, democratization of design — and anyone will be able to design and share it with the world like a viral t-shirt. But, most importantly, there will be an alternative for more sustainable materials that you can recycle right after.

I have always been interested in special textiles. I have focused on making unique textiles throughout the years, especially looking for ways to combine technologies and fashion. Last year I decided to research 3D printing and to understand further why people aren’t printing cloth with home 3D printers. The idea came when I first saw Iris van Herpen’s work in 2010 and was astounded by the possibilities of 3D printing textiles. Later on I did an internship at a fashion house in New York and their collection included two 3D printed dresses that I worked on. The dresses were made out of hard plastics using industrial printers, however, which caused discomfort for the models, unable to sit in the dresses, and the material scratching their underarms. I know that the key property for textiles is for it to be soft so for my graduate collection I decided to research the field and print wearable collection from my home.

Digitization of clothing will have a huge impact. Now I can email you a jacket or a dress but imagine that in a few years you will be able to download this jacket and easily change the size and design, then print it in a few minutes. When you don’t like the jacket anymore, I believe that it will be very easy to recycle it and make new filaments.

I have so many ideas on how I can help push this technology to the next level. I begin by creating the possibility for a wider audience to own a unique 3DP garment. I built a platform on my website and, with one of the items of the new collection, I have decided to challenge myself and make a numbered limited edition of 100 pieces of a beautiful and wearable bomber jacket. Now every customer is able to customize it completely – as well as get a virtual fitting session with me – and then I print it to their exact measurements. That is the very first RTW garment that is ever commercially available online.

I also want to try to solve all the challenges I’m currently dealing with, starting by creating filaments that feel like fabrics, perhaps combining electronics in my prints and pushing the technology of wearables further. I also plan to open-source some of the items from my first collection, so that people will be able to experiment with 3D printing themselves. And I hope after reading this article you’ll be one them!

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.