3D Printing

Researchers explore personalised 3D printed fashion

20th April 2016
Jordan Mulcare

The way we shop for clothes is set to change, thanks to a project lead by Loughborough University, the end goal is personalised 3D printed fashion, manufactured within only 24 hours. Dr Guy Bingham, Senior Lecturer in Product and Industrial Design, has teamed up with global textile and garment manufacturer the Yeh Group, to embark on landmark work in 3D textile printing that could change the way clothes and footwear are made.

The project will last 18-months and is known as 3D Fashion. The project will see Dr Bingham produce 3D wearable, full size, Additive Manufacturing (AM) textile garments and footwear, with design input from a major fashion house. Advancements in AM textiles have made it possible to produce 3D printed garments directly from raw material, such as polymer, in a single manufacturing operation. This technology will not only reduce waste, labour costs and CO2e, but it can also modernise clothing production by encouraging localised manufacturing and production.

Currently, garment manufacture generates 1.8m tonnes of waste material, which is equivalent to 70kg or 100 pairs of jeans per UK household, with 6.3 trillion letres of water used in the process - equivalent to 200,000 litres per year per household. 

Dr Bingham said: “With 3D printing there is no limit to what you can build and it is this design freedom which makes the technology so exciting by bringing to life what was previously considered to be impossible.

“This landmark technology allows us as designers to innovate faster and create personalised, ready-to-wear fashion in a digital world with no geometrical constraints and almost zero waste material. We envisage that with further development of the technology, we could 3D print a garment within 24 hours.

“Printing clothes using AM will revolutionise the fashion industry worldwide by opening up digital manufacturing to the masses via online retail, bringing a much needed update to 19th century techniques and processes. This modern approach to clothing production helps meet the growing demand for personalised apparel and footwear which through 3D printing can be produced in a sustainable and ethical way.”

David Yeh, Managing Director, Tong Siang (Yeh Group), said: “3D Fashion supports the Yeh Group vision of direct polymer to garment manufacture. The Yeh Group is always striving to cut out unnecessary waste and resource use, and support the industries goals of faster to market, creating a manufacturing technology that brands and retailers can install closer to their customers. This is all with no compromise to performance.”

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