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3D Printing for Fashion: Bringing Design and 3D Printed Innovations Together

3D Printing for Fashion: Bringing Design and 3D Printed Innovations Together

August 04, 2020

Discover The Latest In 3D Printing For Fashion Design

3D printing continues to inspire fashion designers by unveiling a breakthrough technique of 3D printing directly on fabric – challenging the boundaries of modern design! Industry leader Stratasys has been involved in numerous collaborative fashion projects with some of most well-known innovative designers including Neri Oxman, threeasFour, Iris Van Herpen and Julia Koerner in the past, and the avant-garde 3D printed fashion pieces have featured at various Paris and New York Fashion Weeks and catwalks.


Stratasys 3D printed fashion piece, designed by Noa Raviv, produced on Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer. Photo credit: Ron Kedmi


Led by chief curator Daisy Raccah-Djivre, the Fashion Statements exhibition comprises an impressive display of clothing, fashion sketches, films and fashion photography, illustrating the broad scope of fashion in Israel – from its deepest historical roots to contemporary collections, fostering a dialogue about tradition and modernity, myth and reality, and conflicting ideologies.

Noa Raviv’s ‘Hard Copy’ dresses feature a series of 3D printed black-and-white pieces and hand sewn on ruffled fabrics and grid-like patterns. These voluminous shapes were produced using Stratasys Connex Color, Multi-material 3D printing technology, allowing Noa Raviv to perfectly realize her vision of non-symmetrical distorted grid patterns and shapes. Using combinations of black and white rigid materials, the 3D futuristic shapes were sown together with 2D laser cut fabric, creating an optical illusion of 2D and 3D elements, cleverly alluding to the tension between the real and the virtual.


Stratasys 3D printed fashion pieces, designed by Noa Raviv, produced on Stratasys’ Objet500 Connex Multi-material 3D Printer, on display at the Fashion Statements exhibition, Israel Museum.


The Rise of 3D Printing in High-end Fashion

3D printing has established itself as a mainstay technique over the years for fashion designers to create otherworldly statement pieces that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to produce. Thanks to pioneering designers like Iris Van Herpen, 3D printing has been embraced by many emerging designers including Mingjing Lin and House of Anesi founder Stephania Stefanakou, due to its flexible nature. 

It also made a dazzling display at the Met Gala last year through American fashion designer Zac Posen. Enlisting the services of GE Additive and Protolabs, Posen created several outfits adorned with 3D printing, sported by the likes of Andrew Garfield and Nina Dobrev. The technology is also a regular of many films set costume departments, most notably of late helping in the fabrication of the Academy award-winning mantel and crown worn by Queen Ramonda in Marvel’s Black Panther.

In most of these instances, however, 3D printing has either been used to create separate elements affixed to fabric garments, or the entire piece of clothing itself. The technique of 3D printing directly onto clothing is seldom used due to the complexity of the process. Examples of note include Iris Van Herpen, who applied the method in 2018 in collaboration with TU Delft for her Spring/Summer collection at Paris Fashion Week.


Close up of model wearing “Cellchemy” facemask. Photo via Iris van Herpen


As demonstrated by the exhibitions, we are seeing a notable increase in interest in the technology from fashion designers. They are pretty much aware of the role of 3D printing in fashion as it continually evolves and contributes to innovation.  Stratasys works with leading fashion companies to explore new ways of approaching design, traditionally thought unattainable, and supports designers to discover uncharted grounds in contemporary fashion that can be realized with 3D printing.

With great support from R&D, led by Stratasys’ Innovative Solutions Expert, Boris Belocon, this year marked the first time that 3D printing with textiles has been achieved using Stratasys’ high-resolution PolyJet 3D printing technology – representing an interesting breakthrough for the industry.


Foliage dress, presented at the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie in Paris, part of the Ludi Naturae haute couture collection from Iris Van Herpen, developed by TU Delft scientists and 3D printed using Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology. Photograph: Yannis Vlamos


One dress from the collection was designed using a Stratasys-engineered lenticular effect to play with light and color, in order to replicate the appearance of the Greta-Oto butterfly. The capabilities of the J750 PolyJet 3D printer allowed the designers to print thousands of small, spherical cells made of photopolymers directly onto polyester fabric. Each cell on the dress’s 27 parts contains a clear lens with strips of color contained inside, which enabled the color of the dress to change as it moved. 3D printing the cells took approximately 17 hours.

Kaempfer explains the benefits of 3D printing onto textiles, stating that it allows designers to capture the nuances of their creative vision. Instead of thinking about how 3D printing can replace textile materials, they can consider how the two can work together and bring the best out in each other. Kaempfer continued:



“Soft, lithe fabric touches the skin, while 3D printed designs adorn the outer garment. This approach, developed through months of collaboration and testing, was the only way to realize the designers’ vision. It brings the intricacy, nuance and splendor of the dresses to life.” 



Material developments are another key element to accelerating the adoption of 3D printing technology within fashion design. Digitally-created materials are offering up vast possibilities as every element of a garment or textile can now have its own individual digitally manipulated physical properties. For example, we can create a specific textile that is waterproof, opaque, flexible or rigid and then combine these elements together enabling all of these properties to be present in a single garment.



Stratasys 3D printed OSCILLATION dress designed by threeASFOUR in collaboration with Travis Fitch, produced using Stratasys’ unique color, multi-material 3D printing technology. Photo credit: Ben Gabbe


This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:



Norde International is the official solutions partner of Stratasys, Ltd. –  a global leader in additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology and is the manufacturer of FDM® and PolyJet™ 3D printers. The company’s technologies are used to create prototypes, manufacturing tools, and production parts for industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer products and education. For 30 years, Stratasys products have helped manufacturers reduce product-development time, cost, and time-to-market, as well as reduce or eliminate tooling costs and improve product quality. The Stratasys 3D printing ecosystem of solutions and expertise includes: 3D printers, materials, software, expert services, and on-demand parts production.

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