3D printed fashion could make designers the next record labels, suffering illegal downloads

Sections: 3D Printing

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I’ve always said I wish I could illegally download clothes off the internet, maybe a few Chanel torrents or a Fendi bag off of a friend’s USB, but alas, the world’s large-scale thievery is limited to digital media content. (I swear I don’t download anything illegally. Hear that, Comcast? Stop sending me those Cease and Desist letters!)

3D printing is the way of the world more and more each day, that’s how quickly this technology is moving. One major industry that’s looking to cash in on the futuristic tech is the fashion industry, which is just as mean and aggressive as depicted in “[easyazon-link asin=”B000LX00RY” locale=”us”]The Devil Wears Prada[/easyazon-link]”. Military men have nothing on chic girls, mkay? The [easyazon-link asin=”B00BFZOVGI” locale=”us”]Makerbot[/easyazon-link] already brings printable toys, via open source code, to the homes of those who can afford a freaking desktop 3D printer (not recent college grads, in case you’re wondering).  The code is available to anyone who’s interested for a reasonable price, and coders can upload new designs as they wish.

The technology is obviously in its infancy, as we can only print small plastic products with the device, but what happens when the little guy grows up into a booming cultural phenomenon and someone pulls a Sean Parker and passes out Louis Vuitton’s newest luggage collection for free online, to be downloaded by even the most unworthy of a Louis Vuitton (me)? That scary ass industry will come crashing down on everyone’s head way harder than the record labels did and I, for one, am not looking forward to the revolution. There will be blood.

An Iris van Herpen piece from the Fall 2012 Haute Couture fashion collection. Paris, July 4, 2011

An Iris van Herpen piece from the Fall 2012 Haute Couture fashion collection. Paris, July 4, 2011

High-end designers are often ripped off by bootleggers selling the designs for a fraction of the price to the savvy (read: poor) shopper who doesn’t mind shopping out of a bearded man’s trunk (done it), but this new age of printable fashion could mean top-quality designer products for the price of a pound of melt-able plastic or textile.

Designers themselves have already dived into the world of 3D printed fashion with shoes, dresses, hats, jewelry, and even sweaters. Iris van Herpen is one designer leading the movement into the future, and is making a name for herself as such a pioneer. Even Victoria’s Secret debuted some 3D printed angel fashion at last year’s fashion show.

I can’t wait to steal some angel code. The irony will surely send me straight to hell.

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