TextileLab and Fabricademy: Interview with Anastasia Pistofidou on Sustainably 3D Printing Fashion

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Fashion and sustainability are two words that feel as antonyms nowadays. The mass production of clothing and ethically doubtful methods of manufacture give one of the biggest economic forces one of the top rankings of the most polluting sectors. This creates a negative social influence and climatic impact that makes obvious the need for a change to make fashion great again. This issue is not new and many people are working towards a better future. And although the changes come slowly, the mentality and so with it the industry is moving towards a healthier direction.

Picture of a 3D printer printing a sample

3D printing on textiles, one of the innovative methods in fashion industry. 3D printer at Fabricademy. Credit: Anastasia Pistofidou

One of those people who believe in the need for a change in fashion is Anastasia Pistofidou. She is a Greek architect specialized in digital fabrication technologies. Based in Barcelona, currently works as director of the FabTextile research lab and Fabricademy, a new textile and technology academy. The FabTextile project offers an “Open sourcing fashion production for a global innovation ecosystem.”. It is a research platform that seeks a new approach in the fashion industry through the use of technologies as 3D printing or CNC milling.

Taken from FabTextile website:

In Fab Textiles we are developing and implementing a new approach on to how create, produce and distribute fashion elements, by using distributed manufacturing infrastructures and knowledge networks. Fab Textiles offers a cross-disciplinary education and research platform, where production and culture through advanced technologies are making impact in the way we think and act towards the fashion industry.

top view of 3D printed top

3D printed top. Credit: Anastasia Pistofidou

As we have mentioned in other posts, the use of 3D printing in the textile sector is opening a new scope that is oriented towards improving the present landscape of fashion. Although we are still making baby steps before we graduate to major achievements, there are some interesting ways that 3D printing can add to fashion. Some of the positive things 3D printing could bring this field is the possibility of creating tailored garments that waste less material. The capacity to produce locally and improve distribution systems, saving transportation costs and pollution are other benefits. Also, the idea of open source fashion is quite interesting and could shift the way we design clothes, enhancing the customization of pieces to fit personal needs while making fashion more of a collective endeavor.

We asked Anastasia some questions in order to learn more.

Which 3D printers do you use?

We use various 3D printers using FDM technology, mainly BCN and Prusa.

What materials can you print?

We can print in TPU, PLA, Filaflex, nylon.

How would I work with you if I was a fashion designer?

You can make your sketches and patterns in paper and we can 3D model and 3D print them.

Why is what you do important?

Because it is a completely new production process and it used 3D models that are digital and not physical patterns on paper. you can also design directly in 3D, not necessarily in a flat pattern. You can send your 3D file anywhere to be printed, without having to ship garments

What is the added value?

Distributed production, collaborative production, self making, self sustenance.

What are you adding to the 3d printing & fashion world?

Techniques, tutorials, educational material, methodologies, products as showcase, artistic pieces.

Can you actually wear the garments?

Yes, you can.

Can you clean it in a washing machine?

Washing machines may change as well, imagine cleaning your garments as you are cleaning a table, it will be different cleaning method.

Picture of the back of a 3D printed top

3D printed top. Credit: Anastasia Pistofidou

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