product technology

This collection is based on 3D-printed textiles resembling traditional fabrics

The University of Hertfordshire in the UK has announced a collection of 3D-printed garments that it says are both wearable and highly customisable.


While 3D printing isn’t a complete stranger to the fashion week catwalk, it’s usually in a conceptual, sculptural form, rather than anything we’d yet consider too wearable. Increasingly however, that technology is getting more sophisticated, and as it does, items more suited to everyday wardrobes are slowly beginning to emerge.

Step aside Iris van Herpen then, and enter The University of Hertfordshire in the UK, which has announced a collection of 3D-printed garments that it says are both wearable and highly customisable.

Modeclix as the line is called, is made from “printed” textiles that are flexible enough they resemble traditional fabrics, and indeed are then assembled in traditional ways – dyed, weaved, stitched and knitted.

The concept collection features eight dresses and two headpieces, and was created by Dr Shaun Borstrock, associate dean and head of the Digital Hack Lab at the university, in collaboration with renowned 3D specialist and designer Mark Bloomfield of Electrobloom.

“We have strived to create stylish 3D printed garments that have sufficient movement to ensure they are fluid, eye-catching and comfortable to wear. These prototypes are made, dyed and finished by hand and our aim now is to produce them for a wider market,” says Borstrock. “It will only be a matter of time before we see 3D collections on the high street and 3D printing technology in stores as part of everyday life. We’re pleased to be part of the movement that is exploring how this might become a reality.”

Bloomfield added: “I’ve spent the last 25 years exploring how technology and 3D printing can enhance production techniques for jewellery and accessories, and this has been a fantastic opportunity to take this research even further. There is a huge amount of potential to develop complex construction techniques that defy traditional pattern cutting and create garments that are multi-functional, customisable and wearable.”

The collection will premier on April 21, 2016 at the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival. It will then be available to view online from May 1 on the Modeclix website. It will also be available to view in store from May 23 at Electrobloom in London.

Check out the making-of video below:

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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