What Is It Actually Like To Wear 3D Printed Fashion?

By on September 16th, 2015 in Design

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You may have seen fantastic 3D fashion prints worn by models, but what is it like to actually wear such outfits? We found out.

We spoke with Sandy “The Material Girl”, who frequently appears at 3D print trade shows wearing a fully 3D printed dress. If anyone knows what it’s like to wear these things, it’s Sandy, who spends full days wrapped in plastic 3D prints. 

You might be wondering why Sandy would do this. She works with Airwolf3D, makers of some very fine professional 3D printers, where she demonstrates the versatility of the equipment by literally wearing the prints! 

The dress itself is made of macro-sized components that link together flexibly through a hinge mechanism. In total, the dress required 180 hours of printing on a dual-extruding Airwolf3D printer. Here we can see the outer surface of the dress, which is composed of a black flexible material.

On the inside we have the mechanical parts that clip together to form a piece that acts somewhat like fabric. 

It can slightly fold and drape, in other words. These pieces are assembled together into a dress that exactly matches Sandy’s dimensions. The dress fits her perfectly, so long as she maintains the same body shape. It would seem straightforward to make a similar dress for someone else by adjusting the number and position of the macro-cells. 

But what is it like to wear this all day long? Sandy explained that although the dress weighs 4.7 lbs (1.2 kg), it doesn’t feel heavy at all, because the dress fits so well that it rests on her entire body, not just her shoulders. She said:

It holds to you, so you don’t feel weight. It’s like wearing a strapless sequined dress.

Getting into the dress does require an assistant, but Sandy said that it takes only five minutes to do so. 

We asked whether wearing plastic had any heat / airflow issues, as one might have wearing a plastic suit, but Sandy explained that the dress’s unique design allows for plenty of airflow and that often she found herself cold wearing it in overly-air-conditioned trade show floors, which she attends twice a month. She wears a standard slip underneath the dress for comfort. 

According to Sandy, it is actually practical to wear such an outfit. In fact, she wears not only the 3D printed dress, but also 3D printed shoes and a handbag, too. 

As it always is in 3D printing, it’s the design that matters the most.

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!