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  • Stephanie Santos

3D Printing for a Fashion Designer

It's time for new ways.


Traditional Couture is full of amazing techniques and brilliant work.


But when it comes to the Era of technology, and new solutions to problems, why not update ?


In order to create a garment, we need to create the fabric first. At least, in traditional thinking that's how it works. Developing textiles takes energy, time and produces large amounts of waste.

Moreover, the garment production takes another round of the same costs. What if, textile and producing clothes could be fusioned in a common process and thus minimize energy and time cost, as well as waste outcome ?


It is possible. One example would be through 3D printing. How? Well, there are designers, engineers, scientists all over the world researching and developing their techniques and ways to do so. Some create clothes fully 3D printed; whereas others apply 3D printing on fabrics. We'll invite you to check out the works of Danit Peleg or Wearpure.Tech do discover examples mentioned above, both using 3D printing machines and digital design.


Another 3D printing technology available for 3D Couture is the 3D pen.


3D pen from 3Doodler, photo by Pierre Matgé, Model : Stéphanie Santos.


At Stephanie Santos Couture, the designer uses the 3D printing pen, a technology she explored during her Fashion Design studies in France. She later discovered more about the benefits and impacts of using 3D printing.


Most 3D print filaments ( the material extruded through the pen or 3D printer ) are sustainable. Although most are still plastics, they are either 100% recyclable or bio-based and therefore compostable. Another feature of the extruded materials is the hardness. Mostly they will be hard, only a minority have more flexibility.


The main filament used in Stephanie Santos' collections is TPU ( thermoplastic polyurethane ). This material is one of the few filaments that is very flexible and bendable. It is a material that can be 100% recycled and is used in the 3D pen with a melting heat point of about 220°C.



3D pen with TPU filament tutorial by Stéphanie Santos


The use of this technology gives Santos new freedoms and a new ground to explore on. The designer has to think out of the box and find new ways of how to build clothes, but also rethink the definition of garment. Since 2017, Santos has been doing research on working with 3D printing technologies, and started developing her own techniques of garment construction. In her first collection HYBRID the designer created two pieces out of 18 garments fully made with the 3D pen and TPU filament. In those two pieces you'll find an absence of fabric and stitches. Instead you'll see a tridimensional clothing piece covered in a linear knitted-like flexible black material.


HYBRID Collection 2018 by Stephanie Santos


This piece is fully handmade by the designer and can be 100% recycled, even at a local plastic recycling center. The sustainable idea to create 3D printed clothes is to avoid excess waste, non-degradable waste or waste at all.


After HYBRID Santos went on discovering more possibilities in terms of garment design with 3D printing. The first developed technique was technically very simple to apply as it equals blocks of parallel lines, in the shape of the garment patterns, then attached together. For her latest collection Santos explored 3D print applied on fabrics and developed her manual 3D printing techniques further.



To discover more about her latest collection click on the link bellow:

(coming soon)



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