3D Printed Fashion Might Just Be The New Way to Shop for Clothes. Yes, Please.

3D printing is the new frontier when it comes to manufacturing. 3D printers can create everything from electronic components to building materials. You can just print them out.

The technology makes all kinds of items more available and allows for materials to be spread to larger audiences. Typically, 3D printing is associated with hard, plasticky items, but what if we used different materials?

That’s what designer Mary Huang thought when she heard about 3D printers becoming more affordable.”I thought that the most logical thing to try to print would be something like a pair of shoes — so you could download your shoes at night, and get new shoes in the morning,” she told Mashable.

One of the shoes available at Continuum.

Another shoe design.

With that idea in mind, she launched Continuum, a web-based clothing and accessories business. Right now, Continuum offers two styles of shoes, some jewellery and a bikini, but they are looking to expand their inventory. And yes, you can swim in the bikini. If you’re wondering how you can possibly print a bikini, check out the video. 

Don’t have a 3D printer? That’s okay, too. Continuum also offers the option to print out a pattern and allow users to make their own version of the classic little black dress, using triangular modules. Users select the design and make personalized choices, put in their measurements, and a pattern, tailored to their unique specifications, is printed out. You can design your own on the site, and create a 3D model of a dress. 

Right now, Huang prints orders at her studio in New York City, and ships them to customers. As 3D printing technology becomes more available, though, this practice may change. 

The modular, personalized LBD.

A printed steel necklace.

The bikini is printed in four sections, and then hooked together.

The bikini can be worn easily, and is made of Nylon 12, giving it its name, N12.

Huang sees the possibility of printing patterns and clothing as not only a technological leap, but also as a way to make the often exclusive world of fashion more democratic. “So much of fashion is built on appreciation of craft. Right now we’re in the phase of finding that technology is really beautiful,” Huang says. “We live in a digital world.”

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