In early 2013, Objet partnered with fashion designer Iris Van Herpen to create a 3D printed dress. It was certainly a perfect fit for the world of high fashion where functionality means nothing and art is everything. For those who want 3D printed clothing that's not an art statement, your day may come in 2014.
Fast Company reports that entrepreneur Aaron Rowley has a new startup called Electroloom. The new company is working on a 3D printer that creates functional, wearable clothing. So far, they've been able to print sheets out of polymer fabric. By the end of the year, they hope to be able to print T-shirts, beanies and more.
While the product is nowhere near complete, Electroloom is getting there thanks to a grant from Alternative Apparel. With the extra money, they'll be able to investigate new materials, including one that's a mix of natural and synthetic.
Check out the video below to see the fabric material in action:
More amazingly, Rowley hopes to set up a Thingiverse for clothing. In other words, he wants to set up a Web site where designers can share their clothing designs with the world and anybody else can print them for their own use. Everybody from professionals to amateurs would be able to share their latest designs and receive immediate feedback on the latest fashions.
Electroloom hopes to have a product out the door by the end of the year. With how amazing their material already is, I wouldn't be surprised if people were created clothes with 3D printers by that time. Of course, you can already imagine the uproar the clothing industry would make if this were to catch on. After all, why buy clothes when you can design and print your own?
Image via Electroloom/Facebook