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3D-printing textile for sustainable future

According to a study by the British charity Barnado’s in 2015 showed that annually consumers are buying 80 billion apparel items and on average worn seven times before getting tossed. This depicts the calamity of the fast-fashion scenario. To overcome this calamity many sustainable initiatives are taken already.

3D-printing textile for sustainable future
Figure: One of the newest additions is eliminating fabric waste during fabric manufacturing with 3D textile printing.

One of the newest additions is eliminating fabric waste during fabric manufacturing with 3D textile printing. A Danish company Son of a Tailor is eliminating fabric waste is 3D textile printing. The company recently completed a Kickstarter campaign for their 3D merino wool pullovers for men, amassing 400 orders in the first 24 hours and reaching their $15,000 target in under 40 minutes.

Its simple pullovers reduce fabric wasted in the cutting process from 21% to less than 1%, producing a garment that is made to last from one piece with no seams and reinforced edging.

Son of a Tailor used an algorithm based on data gathered from 30,000 men globally to create avatars and custom design garments from customers’ weight, height, age and shoe size. This achieves a 4% product return rate compared to the 25-50% average.

“Just imagine the potential… If you’re cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room. Will we soon be able to design, share and print our own clothes directly from home?”

prominent 3D Printed Fashion Designer Danit Peleg

“The fashion industry must finally rethink,” said Fleischer in a statement. “The success of our Kickstarter campaign shows that consumers are ready for this. Sustainability is not a choice. We need to change the negative impact of our consumption on the environment as quickly as possible, but this can only happen if all manufacturers rethink and run their production lines in a more environmentally friendly way,” said Co-Founder Jess Fleischer.

All its men’s outerwear is made to order from sustainable materials with zero stock inventory. European workers put the garments together under fair working conditions, meeting more of the fashion revolution’s goals for sustainable fashion.

With 3D printing, there is no raw material wastage as it uses as much raw material as required to print, which means eliminating the need for additional raw material, and can print the exact size of the panel for each garment.

A prominent 3D Printed Fashion Designer Danit Peleg explained, “Just imagine the potential… If you’re cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room. Will we soon be able to design, share and print our own clothes directly from home?”

Beyond zero wastage, 3D printing eliminates many labor-intensive processes from the complete apparel manufacturing cycle, reducing the labor costs.

3D printing in textiles is still at a conceptual stage. One promising avenue in this field is combining 3D printed panels with the traditional textiles. The adhesion of these 3D printed panels to the garment, although it needs to be worked upon by fine-tuning of the printing parameters.

Overall, it might still take a few years or even a decade to reach full-fledged 3D printing textile industry, but 3D printing has the potential to change the business altogether.

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