Many industries have directly benefited from the inspiring design ideas that seem to spring forth from the minds of people exposed to 3D printing technology. 3D printed clothing remains in an interesting limbo, somewhere between high art and mass produced, ready-to-wear ensembles. Just like all other sectors, as more people learn what can be done with 3D printing, clothing designers follow suit. This makes sense, since we all have to wear clothes most of each day. Practical applications of 3D printing in the design and manufacturing of clothing is part of the wave of our 3D printing future. We can see this in the 3D design work of Cornell University senior Eric Beaudette.
A student in Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, Beaudette, who graduates in Spring 2016, designed the 2016 Recycl3-D Spring Collection. This collection is both recyclable and 3D printed. The idea behind the line is for men to be able to move comfortably from the office to the gym or leisure time wearing multipurpose clothing that wearers can alter by adding sleeves, hoods, pockets, collars and other accessories. Also, the garments buck the wasteful fashion industry design and manufacturing process by being fully recyclable. Beaudette explains that waste reduction is a major motivating factor in his clothing work:
“The real perks of 3-D printing have not been used to their full potential. I brought together recycling with synthetic blends, customization from body scanning and optimization of the manufacturing process to drastically reduce production waste.”
Due to all of the attention given to sustainable design in many sectors, Beaudette’s work is getting some serious approval from the fashion industry, too. On January 12, 2016 he received a $30,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund at a New York City gala. For the scholarship competition, which has been won by Cornell University students for three years in a row, Beaudette used his own measurements taken in Cornell’s 3D body scanner to design a full-scale prototype garment with accessories and locking capabilities so items can be mixed and matched. (This prototype was fully 3D printed at Cornell University, too.)
This scholarship allows Beaudette to continue his explorations into 3D printed sustainable fashion, and Beaudette explains it has also booted his confidence to pursue sustainable 3D printed clothing design:
“As a graduating senior entering the workforce in a short time, winning the award reassures me that I have the skills needed to make a difference to solve real-world issues. Receiving this award as well as interacting with industry leaders has made such a positive impact on my confidence and will help me with everything I set out to do in my life.”
The ability to transition from work to post-work activities without entirely changing one’s outfit seems like it would be an attractive prospect for many people, who also seek to reduce harmful environmental impacts using customized, multi-functional, and recyclable clothing.
With the help of scholarship support, and with the encouragement of fashion industry leaders, we are likely to be seeing more from Beaudette as he transitions from college into the work world. And Beaudette definitely has ideas about how his multi-disciplinary training at Cornell prepares him for his future career:
“Having a hybrid education between science and design allows me to investigate any one aspect of a product through two unique perspectives. True product design, especially for apparel, has to be a perfect marriage between design and materials. My dream is to be a product developer and innovator, and bring new perspectives to materials and technologies specifically made to interact with the human body.”
Tell us your thoughts on this latest high-tech fashion development in the 3D Printed Men’s Clothing forum over at 3DPB.com.