Textiles are a major part of the waste problem in the world. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing or other textiles every year, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 5% of landfill space is taken up by textiles. Even many people who donate their unwanted clothes to charities don’t realize that many things they throw away can also be donated. If a piece of clothing has a stain or a hole in it, for example, people assume that it’s not good enough to donate and throw it away. However, many charities, including those yellow Planet Aid boxes you see everywhere, will take even textiles in poor condition and recycle them into something else.
Of course, if our clothing was biodegradable we wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with our worn-out clothes – we could just toss them in a compost heap. Most apparel isn’t fully biodegradable, however, unless it’s 100% cotton or wool. But a designer named Julia Daviy is creating a new kind of biodegradable fashion – out of 3D printed plastic. Daviy, an ecologist and clean technology industry manager who started experimenting with 3D printing in 2016, believes that 3D printing will change the way clothing is produced, maybe even replacing traditional textiles eventually.
“Filament is not ready to replace fabric completely just yet, but it’s only a matter of time,” she said. “As it stands today, the technology is already good enough to create better clothes than certain materials, like leather. For example, I created a top and a skirt that look as if I used a laser to intricately cut them from a piece of leather, but it’s entirely flexible and biodegradable, vegetable based plastic. It was faster, cheaper, and more sustainable than using leather.”
Her pieces include lacy, wispy-looking 3D printed dresses and tops, and, unlike much 3D printed fashion, they look as though they can actually be worn somewhere other than just on a runway. In addition to being biodegradable, Daviy’s clothing is environmentally friendly because it doesn’t need to be mass-produced and stocked – a customer could just buy a design file and 3D print a piece at home, which is much more ethical than the way most clothing is produced currently.
“Half of the textiles used in manufacturing turn into waste right at the very beginning of the manufacturing process, and the fast-fashion industry uses cheap methods of production that often involve slavery,” said Daviy.
Allowing customers to 3D print their own clothing at home would also let them make custom modifications if they chose to, which is an appealing idea for many who long for something more personal than mass-produced clothing. Daviy herself uses both 3D printers and 3D printing pens to produce her fashion, and while she has had some specialized training in the technology, she believes that it is accessible to anyone.
“I created this top (on me) with 3D technology without any inch of thread, without any stitch. Also I did not need any kind of fabric for this top creation and any type of labor involvement. This top is recyclable easily so when I will not like it anymore I may do another one from this material. Isn’t that cool??” says Daviy.
Use of 3D printing allowed for Daviy to go from consumer to creator, a transition she is proud of.
“Idea of eco-friendly lifestyle and its exploration, attempts to live a life not harmful and painful to other earthlings and to the Earth was the reason and beginning of my way to studying Design Thinking and different technologies. When I became more familiar with 3D printing I realize what a huge transformational power it has,” she explains on her website.
“Today, I believe that 3D printing is the most sustainable way to revolutionize the development of the most industries, moreover it is sustainable by itself.
“The more I studied, the more understanding of how the combination of the methods of Design Thinking and 3D Printing (and 3D design) may give much better solutions to people, startups and every organization.
“And, I became obsessed of idea to turn us, the society of consumers to the society of creators. That is how all this started.”
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Source: Eluxe Magazine / Images: Julia Daviy]