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Of all the things a person can own, clothing is the most personal. As such, it ought to be highly personalized but because it is mass produced, consumers must make do with what they can find on the racks in clothing stores. One company that is making headway in clothing customization using 3D printing is Continuum. On their website, a customer can alter online images of clothing and then resize it to fit their body.
One difficulty is printing fabric that feels comfortable against the body. Continuum has bikinis made of nylon which they say is not too chemically different from fabric. One problem with nylon is that it is broken down by UV rays from sunlight and of course, people in bikinis spend hours in the sun. However, nylon still has potential for 3D printed outer garments. If the interlocked components are made very small, then a great deal of flexibility can be achieved.
Continuum has put a lot of focus on shoes which don't have to be as pliable as clothing for the rest of the body. Some of their unique shoe designs can be seen here. Nike is also experimenting with 3D printing and with their deep pockets, we should expect significant progress from them in the years ahead.
Some fabrics commonly used in clothing such as polyester are already being 3D printed. In 2013, students at the Pratt Institute used a basic desktop 3D printer that costs $2,200 to create a dress made out of polyester. So it seems that technology for 3D printing of wearable clothing is already in place.
When 3D printing of clothing takes off, the fashion industry will experience a great deal of upheaval. Individuals will be able to bypass the big designers and tailors to produce their own custom made clothing. While most people don't have the software skills to use current modeling software, websites will have simplified and user friendly interfaces for easy design. No doubt apps will be developed that will make clothing design possible for ordinary people.
Many people have neither the ability nor the inclination to design their own clothes but would appreciate a greater choice of clothing. They would also like having more customization choices and getting clothing that's a perfect fit, and having instant access after purchase via their own printer. This means there are 3D Printing Opportunities for anyone with a good fashion sense who can create clothing designs and upload them to an online distribution point. This type of entrepreneur could easily work from home.