3D Printing and the Future of Fashion + Commerce
2 Min Read
What if we carried our wardrobe around like music on an iPod?
Michael Harvey floored the room, yet again, with a crowd-pleasing keynote at Fashion Digital New York, a two-day semi-annual conference that brings together innovators and executives in fashion ecommerce and technology. His talk, “Wardrobe in the Cloud,” started by discussing exciting commerce innovations in the fashion industry (like shoppable windows at Kate Spade Saturdays or real-time Facebook “likes” on clothing hangers in Brazil). He then delved into the fascinating capabilities of lesser-known 3D-printing technology and what the effects may be for the fashion industry in the near future.
With the patent on 3D printers set to expire in 2014, Harvey suspects the technology will take off, initially making it easily available for businesses but eventually for consumers too. It’s not that far fetched to imagine a future where clothing manufacturers sell software rather than sewing patterns and fibers instead of fabric (meaning consumers have a completely custom wardrobe on demand); a future where designs live on smart phones or tablets, and are ready for printing whenever and wherever, negating the environmental damage of traditional manufacturing and shipping processes. 3D Printing has the potential to disrupt not just fashion design and manufacturing, but supply chain too and even shopping as we know it.
“Michael Harvey’s opening session at Fashion Digital NY made me open my eyes,” wrote Tim Parry of MultiChannel Merchant. “3D printing will change everything we’re doing in the world of commerce.”
Photos via Flickr, GreenPearl Events; Iris Van Herpen; Kerrie Luft; Protos; Shapeways