Clothing production has changed a lot over the years, but for the most part, it still follows the same basic formula of stitching together different pieces of fabric. Now, one Boston-based men's wear brand has found a way to use 3D-printing to eliminate the need for seams altogether, Mashable reports.
Ministry of Supply specializes in "athleisure" items, and their newest jacket doesn't quite fit in with the rest of their collection (or any other store's collection, for that matter). It's manufactured through a "3D Robotic Knitting" method that produces a single, seamless garment. The whole process takes around 1.5 hours, and supposedly results in a better-fitting jacket.
Ministry of Supply
Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Ministry of Supply's chief design officer and cofounder, told Mashable that he envisions the technology leading to custom-made clothing that contours perfectly to an individual's body. Customers could have a body scanner take their measurements right in the store and then order an item that's unique to them. And because 3D knitting machines know the precise amount of material to use, the rate of fabric waste drops down to zero.
Clothes created using 3D-printers is nothing new. Last year, a fashion student created her entire graduate collection with an at-home 3D printer, and in 2011 a textured, 3D-printed dress from designer Iris van Herpen was named one of TIME magazine's the best inventions of the year. In addition to manufacturing better-fitting garments, 3D-printed fashion opens up the possibility of one day being able to print our own clothing at hom.
For now, companies like Ministry of Supply are the ones doing the 3D-printing for the customers. Their seamless jacket sold out within 12 hours of debuting, but you can sign up to be notified when it returns in your size.