Last night, a model in the Victoria's Secret fashion show walked in a snowflake-patterned bustier and wings designed by architect Bradley Rothenberg and printed by Shapeways. Constructed of laser-sintered nylon ("sintering" is a process that uses heat to fuse powder into flexible material), the entire piece weighed less than a pound and was custom fit to a 3-D scan of model Lindsay Ellingson's body.
Clearly the era of 3-D printed fashion and accessories is inching ever closer within reach. Fashion, with its globe-spanning supply chains, massive popularity, and worrying labor violations and environmental impact, is one sector where mass customization, localized production, and less waste could revolutionize the market.
But, as the items in this slideshow make clear, while it is possible to get custom fit, custom design, comfortable wear, reasonable retail prices, and cutting-edge visual effects, it's still not quite possible to obtain all of those features in a single 3-D printed garment.