Gallery: Are 3D-Printed Fabrics the Fu...

3D printers, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, Freedom of Creation, eco-textiles, eco-friendly fabrics, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, sustainable style, green fashion, wearable technology

Three-dimensional printing may have little in common with sustainability—at first blush, anyway—but the rapid-prototyping process has a litany of surprisingly green benefits. The emerging technology, which uses ultraviolet beams to fuse layers of powdered, recyclable thermoplastic into shape, leaves behind virtually no waste. Its localized production and one-size-fits-all approach also racks up markedly fewer travel miles, requires less labor, and compresses fabrication time to a matter of hours, rather than weeks or months.

3D printers, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, Freedom of Creation, eco-textiles, eco-friendly fabrics, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, sustainable style, green fashion, wearable technology


Designer Jiri Evenhuis, in collaboration with Janne Kyttanen of Freedom of Creation, was the first to toy with the idea of using 3D printers to create textiles. “Instead of producing textiles by the meter, then cutting and sewing them into final products, this concept has the ability to make needle and thread obsolete,” Evenhuis has said.

3D printing has the “ability to make needle and thread obsolete,” says designer Jiri Evenhuis.

A decade later, designer-researchers like Freedom of Creation in Amsterdam and Philip Delamore at the London College of Fashion are cranking out seamless, flexible textile structures using software that converts three-dimensional body data into skin-conforming fabric structures. The potential for bespoke clothing, tailored to the specific individual, are as abundant as the patterns that can be created, from interlocking Mobius motifs to tightly woven meshes.

Freedom of Creation’s 3D textiles are currently display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

+ Freedom of Creation

6 Responses to “Are 3D-Printed Fabrics the Future of Sustainable Textiles?”

  1. ToneStar says:

    Great e-zine, please keep me informed…

  2. davegreenfield says:

    Beautiful. I’ve seen some remarkable design concept at Objet (where I work), but clothing is new one to me

  3. drstarted says:

    Imagine the cloth sprayed with metal and we’re back to the middle ages.

  4. AnMarosszeky says:

    This is an exciting technology, but in terms of sustainability you have to think about how this technology will be implemented if people don’t change how they value what they already have and how they consume.

    High street fashion stores already have achieved design-room to show-room turnovers of just 3 weeks. Whilst the 3D printing would allow more customisation and therefore less ready-to-wear stock, as well as less fabric waste in the production process, the extremely high turnover that 3D printing allows should be approached with caution while we’re still trying to shift wasteful consumer attitudes and behaviour.

  5. geonerstiem (@geonerstiem) says:


  6. srkane says:

    Right. I really want to wear rubber mesh garments. Yuck. How uncomfortable and sweaty. Yes they are cool to look at. I can see carrying a bag or backpack from this type of fabric. But on my body next to my skin? Um…no thanks. Natural fibers are tried and true. I doubt humans will ever come up with anything to replace what nature has already given us!

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