If like me, you listen regularly to the BBC World Service, you may have heard a recent item about an extraordinary leap forward in technology, which, over time, could lead to clothes and even shoes being produced using a domestic 3D printer.
Although the idea is still at the level of ‘aspirational’, the technology exists. The concept and implications are explained in an online TED talk given in 2015 by Danit Peleg, an Israeli designer who is already producing garments in this way. In it, she set out how soon it will be possible for creative talent in remote locations to sell under licence their digitally converted clothing designs to owners of 3D printers. The buyer would download the software, and print at home or elsewhere made-to-measure versions of designer clothes using new bio-degradable materials that will ultimately make clothes recyclable
The concept has so far only been applied to haute couture by Ms Peleg and a small number of other designers. To become commonplace, it will require a dramatic reduction in the cost of 3D printing and some technical refinements. However, it is an indication of how new and lateral thinking in relation to technology will not just disrupt established industries, but before long offer small nations and creative individuals distant from the world’s largest markets the opportunity to leap the commercial constraints imposed by their geographic boundaries. ….