Top 4 Ways That 3D Printing is Already Changing Fashion



I’m obsessed with 3D printing. The first time I saw it happening live, I sat there with my mouth agape, finally grasping what the concept meant–I knew immediately that the technique was going to have some really cool applications in the fashion world. While we’re still in the very beginning conceptual stages, there is some cool stuff already happening that you should know about.

Here are some current utilizations of 3D printing in our world:


collier-rThis gorgeous “Black Rose Collier” necklace (left) was designed by Dario Scapitta Design and is available for purchase for $111.18. Jewelry designers have been using 3D printing to make prototypes for designs for years. Recently, however, it’s the final products themselves that are being printed, and the designs are really gorgeous. Rings, necklaces, brooches, bracelets, earrings, and even sunglasses and cufflinks are being printed and sold.



thingiverse-rAn easy thing to do with a 3D printer is to print missing pieces and make repairs on items. Through Thingiverse, a website that hosts thousands of user-generated designs for printing on the awesome MakerBot personal 3D printers, you can print precise sizes of buttons, replacement watch bands, and my personal favorite, replacement high heel tips. (Who doesn’t need those?)


Shoes present a special challenge (they have to hold a lot of weight, and shoe shapes and sizes are very diverse), but there are some beautiful prototypes being built.

Biomimicry Shoe“ by Marieka Ratsma and Kostika Spaho (top left)
Invisible Shoe (Naked Version)” by Andreia Chaves (top right)
“Designed to Win” Running Shoes by Luc Fusaro (bottom)





Most 3D printed objects are printed in plastics or metals. Printed clothing will have to use special materials, such as the Nylon 12 that is used in the N12 bikini for sale through Shapeways (a huge resource for 3D printed products). The N12 bikini was developed by Continuum Fashion, a team of two awesome ladies who also designed the “strvct” Shoe at the top of this post (see header image).

“The N12 Bikini“ by Continuum Fashion // “The Lotus Top“ by ThreeForm


If you’re interested in learning more about 3D printing and fashion, here are a couple of articles to check out:

This article originally was originally published on Open Source Fashion, an active community of helpful innovators working in fashion, retail, and technology. Join OS Fashion on Meetup to attend future discussion series events.

About the author: Liza Kindred

A passionate believer in open business, Liza’s last stint was as Managing Partner at a successful web development & education company, where she took the company from 2 guys to a 30 person team with multi-million dollar revenues and a client roster that includes Grammy.com, MarthStewart.com, and MTV.co.uk. At the age of 22, she opened her first business, a fashion forward clothing boutique, which led into retail buying, fashion show production (for her own store and brands such as Wacoal and Ralph Lauren Childrens), and photo styling. She served as Fashion Editor of a regional newspaper, wrote a fashion column, and even did a little model scouting along the way. Liza is a strong advocate for open business practices, and has been consulting for business startups – both on and offline – for more than a decade.

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