3D printed clothes: What are the best projects?

Last updated on 03 Sep, 2020

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3D printed clothes

3D printed clothes

We will go through all the advantages of additive manufacturing for this sector, and see what the latest innovations and evolutions are regarding 3D printed garments!

At Sculpteo, we know that additive manufacturing and fashion projects are a great combination. But the link between fashion and 3D printing is quite strong and amazing projects are unveiled quite regularly. Additive manufacturing is evolving, getting even more precise, but also developing new materials and new applications. 3D printing is offering great advantages for the fashion industry, from 3D printed clothes to 3D printed footwear and accessories, the possibilities are endless. In the first place, 3D printing was more used for an artistic touch, but the fashion industry is now developing 3D printed projects of wearable garments.

We will go through all the advantages of additive manufacturing for this sector, and see what the latest innovations and evolutions are regarding 3D printed garments!  

Fashion and 3D printing: 3D printed fashion is the new revolution

3D printing for the design aspect

Additive manufacturing is interesting for fashion as it allows to work more easily on fashion designs and to create amazing things for the fashion industry such as garments, ornaments, and meshes.

This technology is really giving a lot of freedom to the designers in terms of geometry. It is, for example, possible to create intricate designs for various projects inside the fashion industry. From shoes and accessories to 3D printed dresses, the fashion industry starts to embrace the full potential of 3D printing and to develop interesting objects.

Some of the garments developed thanks to 3D printing technology would have been too complex and expensive to create with another manufacturing method.

New considerations for the fashion industry

Sustainable manufacturing and eco-friendly products

There is obviously an evolution in the way that we are thinking about fashion and clothes manufacturing. New aspects are now taken into account and now, the reasons why designers are choosing 3D printing are changing:  it is becoming important to use 3D printing for sustainable and eco-friendly purposes.

For instance, textiles are part of the waste problem around the world, that is why a lot of elements of the manufacturing process need to be rethought in order to be more eco-friendly. Using 3D printing allows to reduce waste, you only need to use the amount of material that is needed to create your project.

It is also a way to use some recycled materials for the manufacturing process. Adidas created a 3D printed midsole for one of its sneakers, made with recycled plastic found in the ocean. Creating new materials and using plastic in a more responsible way are new reasons to use 3D printing for fashion companies, and even for big brands such as Adidas.

3D printing comfortable clothes

The use of 3D printing to create clothes is evolving. It first has been used to create extremely complex and impressive pieces. The use of 3D printing in this sector was a way to push the boundaries of the fashion world to create outstanding projects, that were visually impressive.

Now some designers are more interested in using 3D printing to develop collections of regular clothes, using additive manufacturing as a traditional manufacturing method. They are not only using 3D printing for the design benefits but as an advantageous manufacturing method to create customizable and comfortable clothes. Additive manufacturing is a great way for all industries to improve their manufacturing process. It is allowing them to work on their prototypes with faster and cheaper methods, but also to produce customizable products in the end. These two elements are quite important in the fashion industry.

While using 3D printing, we can notice more freedom on the customization side. Indeed, additive manufacturing is the perfect technique for mass customization. We know that customization can be an expensive process in the fashion industry. Producing garments and accessories made to measure are made possible thanks to 3D printing. 

3D printing could also totally help to create clothes adapted to the movement of all bodies! 3D printing is not only a manufacturing method for haute couture creations anymore. 

What are the best 3D printed clothes projects?

The Spider Dress

The Spider Dress of Anouk Wipprecht has mechanical arms that extend and retract as a response to external stimuli when people approach. The wearer’s own breath will help to signal the defense posture of the robotic arms. The dress is fully 3D printed with the Selective Laser Sintering technology.

3D printed dress

The Spider Dress

3D printing regular clothes

The idea of Julia Daviy is to use 3D printing to create biodegradable fashion, believing that we can change the way we produce clothes!

Her collection included 3D printed dresses and tops. Most of the time, the 3D printed clothes made by designers are not easy to wear. But it is not the case with the clothes 3D printed by Julia Daviy. She is really thinking about 3D printing as a new method to create garments without wasting a lot of textiles, and avoid the mass-production aspect.

Multicolor 3D printing for garments

This dress is a piece made by the American designer Travis Fitch, with 30 different sections. It has been printed with a colorful multi-material. The material is flexible in order to respond to the movements of the body. The 3D printing process is a good way to give life to objects with really complex designs and to make them wearable as traditional garments.

The use of color on this project is quite unique, 3D printing projects in the fashion world are often monochrome, and are not as colorful. This technique offers new possibilities as multicolor 3D printing is not often used in these kinds of projects.  

credit: https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/3d-printed-dress-debuts-new-york-fashion-week-95736/

credit: https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/3d-printed-dress-debuts-new-york-fashion-week-95736/

3D print knits

Ministry of supply developed a 3D printed knit blazer, a sustainable way to create garments that will last longer! The 3D printing process and the work on the 3D designs that they are creating are allowing to make pieces more adapted to the body and to its movements.

Their goal is to develop an agile supply-chain and create on-demand products that are more comfortable and durable. Their 3D printing technology is an eco-friendly method to create knits, and they are noticing a reduction of 35% regarding material waste.


3D printed knit

New generation of 3D printed clothes collections

Danit Peleg is a designer who decided to create a fashion collection that she entirely 3D printed by herself. By doing that, she shows that 3D printers are great tools, allowing to rethink the manufacturing process of the fashion industry. The collection took her 2 000 hours to print completely.


Her goal? To create comfortable clothes that she could wear herself. Once again, we see the will of designers to create wearable 3D printed clothes.

3D printing, still useful to give life to outstanding designs

Alexis Walsh is a talented designer who created an impressive dress 3D printed using Selective Laser Sintering. The dress has 400 tiles assembled by hand. Here, 3D printing has been used to develop the design of the dress. It took at least six months to the designer to develop this impressive garment using 3D printing.


The 3D printed comfortable dress

We were talking previously about more comfortable clothes. Dresses made by designers are not what we can call comfortable, as it is not their primary goal. But do you know about the Kinematic dress?  By 3D scanning her model, Jessica Rosenkrantz created a dress perfectly fitting her body.

By using this innovative manufacturing technique, the designer wanted to show a new approach of manufacturing for her fashion collection. Moreover, 3D printing is perfect to make several iterations for these kinds of dress, to be sure that they respond correctly to the movements of the model.

3D printed dress


3D printing costume

It is now possible to use additive manufacturing to create costumes for the film industry, but also for video games. You might have heard about Sculpteo’s collaboration with Ubisoft for their Just Dance 2020 video game! The goal here was to create a lightweight costume, with an ambitious design but that shouldn’t hinder the dancer’s performance.

Get more info about this great project in the following video:

3D printed fashion for men

We can see that most of these creations are dresses or tops, intended for women. But what about men?

There is actually the 3D printed tie developed by Viptie 3D. This company is more focused on the mass customization aspect of 3D printing technology. They want to join luxury and high tech to create ties and bowties, as unique products for their customers.

3D printed clothes for men

3D printing footwear

More than garments, additive manufacturing is revolutionizing the footwear industry. Some important brands such as Adidas are making the most of additive manufacturing to develop impressive projects. 

Adidas and the Futurecraft 4D

Adidas actually launched its Futurecraft 4D project: they create shoes with a midsole created in partnership with Carbon 3D, using a new process called Digital Light Synthesis (formerly known as CLIP). Thanks to digital light synthesis, oxygen-permeable optics, and liquid resin, this process can produce durable and resistant polymeric goods.

Using additive manufacturing in the footwear industry allows working on new designs to improve a previous product, for example. That is precisely what happened with this project, Adidas created an impressive midsole using a lattice structure!

This project is also showing an interesting aspect of the use of additive manufacturing. Indeed, these shoes are not only produced using 3D technology, but they are mass-produced using 3D printing! We can say that Carbon and Adidas are taking additive manufacturing a step further with this project.

adidas 3D printing

Olivier Van Herpt developing the fully 3D printed shoe

For the moment, 3D printing is mainly used in the footwear industry to 3D print midsoles, which offers, once again, to get custom made products, adapted to any morphology. But is it even possible to 3D print an entire shoe? Designer Olivier Van Herpt is using 3D scans and 3D printing to create new shoe structures, making them unique, lightweight and really resistant. These 3D printed shoes guarantee you the perfect fit.

3D printed jewelry

3D printed jewelry is now becoming more and more common. 3D printing is a perfect method to launch a jewelry business, for both prototyping and production, additive manufacturing can be used to improve your product and process on many different levels! At Sculpteo, we offer great 3D printing technologies, suitable for the creation of your jewelry parts.

It’s possible to use metal 3D printing, with technologies such as Lost Wax Casting, and different materials such as Brass, Sterling Silver, or Bronze. These precious metals can be beneficial for your projects. Resin and plastic 3D printing can also be used for jewelry projects, Selective Laser Sintering or Polyjet technologies can be useful to create accurate parts.  

If you don’t want to produce your jewelry using additive manufacturing, keep in mind that this technology can be used to create your jewelry molds. An interesting use of additive manufacturing is the creation of master 3D printed molds for your parts!

The Nervous System collection

This collection of rings, bracelet and necklaces called Nervous System is made with nature-inspired designs, structures that it would have been impossible to create without 3D printing. These jewelry parts are created using the Lost-Wax Casting process!

ABL’s 3D printed watch

Is it possible to 3D print a watch? ABL “Atelier le Brézéguet” is a french brand from Toulouse. This company is specialized in watches and used our 3D printing service to produce the black rings, on the top and the bottom of the watch. These parts are 3D printed using polyamide material.


3D printed bags

Accessories such as bags can also be produced using 3D technology. For example, the Italian brand XYZ Bag created a 3D printed handbag collection called “DADA”. These bags are customizable, thanks to the use of 3D printing.

Regarding the designs, 3D printing is offering great advantages for the development of bag projects: it is actually offering the possibility to play with geometries and try new things. Working on different structures, like implementing lattices, can be an effective solution to get lightweight but resistants bags!

Evolution of 3D printed clothes: What is the future of fashion?

Some companies are developing new techniques and new 3D printing materials such as Ministry of Supply who used a new method to create knit garments. We can notice that some extraordinary 3D printed designs made for fashion shows are still present as the 3D printing technology is still really convenient to manufacture these unique pieces. But 3D printing tends to be more and more used to create clothes that anybody could wear. Indeed, now that we saw that the 3D printing technology is able to create intricate geometries for garments, comfort is becoming the key to new 3D printed fashion projects.

There is also a growth regarding the use of different 3D printing materials and techniques. In the future, metal 3D printing could be implemented to create some ornaments, but also laser cutting techniques! There are a lot of benefits and possibilities for designers who want to approach the laser cutting and 3D printing industry.

We can also see that the eco-friendly aspects offered by 3D printing are becoming quite important, as, for instance, recycled plastic and biodegradable materials can be used to 3D print some fashion parts. Soon, it could even be possible to use natural materials. Last but not least, we notice that the fashion industry is trying to push the boundaries of 3D printing, but is also implementing other great technologies such as electronics. It is now possible to 3D print smart fabrics, and more of these outstanding projects might be unveiled in the upcoming years!

Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Materials Used in 3D Printing

If you have a 3D printing idea and want to bring it to life right now, we can help you to choose the perfect CAD software for your fashion project, thanks to this blog post. Then, you will be able to upload your 3D models on our online 3D printing service.