Three-dimensional printing has changed the way we make everything from prosthetic limbs to aircraft parts and even homes.Now it may be poised to upend the apparel industry as well.
3D printing won’t replace weaving, knitting, and other conventional means of apparel manufacturing anytime soon, given its high cost and how difficult it is to make durable 3D-printed “fabrics” that are soft to the touch and which drape like traditional fabrics.
But some experts foresee a day when we could print out customized garments right in the store, or maybe even from 3D printers in our own homes. “Imagine having a garment fit exactly to your size and preferences,” Melissa Dawson, an assistant professor of industrial design at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a 3D printing expert, told NBC News MACH in an email. “You could also customize your color and pattern choices… maybe even trims and finishes.”