Additive manufacturing for the fashion and lifestyle industry

Image Credit: Thomasnet

Image Credit: Thomasnet

Chinmay Saraf

Technical Writer, AM Chronicle
Chinmay Saraf is a scientific writer living in Indore, India. His academic background is in mechanical engineering, and he has substantial experience in fused deposition-based additive manufacturing. Chinmay possesses an M.Tech. in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing and is enthusiastic about 3D printing, product development, material science, and sustainability. He also has a deep interest in “Frugal Designs” to improve the present technical systems.

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The fashion and lifestyle industry is one of the unique spaces where Additive Manufacturing is playing transformative role. Globally, the fashion and lifestyle industry has a considerable market size, and application of AM, specifically in the fashion & Jewelry market, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22.5% from 2022 to 2027. The article by AM Chronicle highlights the application of AM in the fashion and lifestyle industry. It also discusses the application of AM by various companies in the fashion and lifestyle industry.

Prototyping

AM can play an essential role in fast prototyping various lifestyle products such as watches, bottles, cases, and glasses. This helps the lifestyle industry to create products faster and improve them using customer feedback, and in the fashion industry, new AM technologies such as fabric printing and multi-material printing can help create low-cost prototypes at faster rates. Sometimes, it also helps eliminate the need for costly labor and supply chain challenges.

The J850™ TechStyle™ 3D printer by Stratasys can print full-color using multi-materials that can be used for many applications. Additionally, technologies such as direct-to-textile can also scale the prototyping for the fashion industry.

Direct on Textile 3D Printing Image Credits: Stratasys

Customization

3D printing can enable mass customization for the fashion and lifestyle industry. This opens new possibilities for companies to gain customers and align the business with the recent customization trend. Nike has launched “NikeID,” a website that helps customers to customize their shoes which can be manufactured using 3D printing techniques. Additionally, an earphone company NORMAL uses additive manufacturing to offer 3D-printed customized earphones. Customers can order earphones by downloading the application and submittinga picture of the ear. Luxury furniture company PoltronaFrau uses additive manufacturing to offer customized furniture. The company also provides 3D models that customers and interior designers can use to test the furniture using virtual reality.

NikeID for Shoes Customization
Image Credits: Nike
NORMAL’s Customized earphones
Source: NORMAL

Castings for Jewelry

AM is widely used in the jewelry industry to produce casting using 3D-printing methods. The application of AM in jewelry casting enables the production of complex shape jewelry, resulting in some unique designs. In addition, direct metal printing can also be used to produce gold and silver jewelry using metal additive manufacturing methods.

Jewelry made using 3D printing
Image Credits: OR Laser

Sustainable Fashion

The clothing and fashion sector are one of the largest waste-generating industries worldwide, due to significant water and energy consumption. The clothing sector is also responsible for releasing large amounts of chemical waste, that results in water and air pollution.

Serval studies have shown that the use of additive manufacturing can help to reduce the carbon footprint of the clothing and fashion industry. Today, the clothing and fashion industries are adapting new business models that help to improve sustainability using AM technology. The new business models can be classified as the “clothing as a service,” “collaborative consumption,” and “direct sale/distribution” model (Khajavi, 2021). These new business models are considered significant drivers of sustainable fashion.

Stages of Waste Production by the Fashion and Textile Industry
Source: Khajavi, 2021

New Trends

The use of AM in fashion has created new trends in the fashion and lifestyle industry. These trends develop new business opportunities and create customized solutions for various requirements. The 3D-printed jacket by Israeli designer Danit Peleg is one example of recent trends in the application of AM in the fashion industry. On the website of Danit Peleg, customers can select color, fabric, and lining and undergo a virtual fitting session.

3D Printed Jacket by Danit Peleg
Source: Danit Peleg

Use of additive manufacturing in the fashion and lifestyle industry is an evolving area. The key advantages of using AM in fashion and lifestyle is sustainability, faster prototyping and new trends, whereas the challenges are mass production, customer adaption and cost.

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Chinmay Saraf

Technical Writer, AM Chronicle
Chinmay Saraf is a scientific writer living in Indore, India. His academic background is in mechanical engineering, and he has substantial experience in fused deposition-based additive manufacturing. Chinmay possesses an M.Tech. in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing and is enthusiastic about 3D printing, product development, material science, and sustainability. He also has a deep interest in “Frugal Designs” to improve the present technical systems.