Downloading and 3-D printing your clothes sounds great, in a sci-fi utopia kind of way, but getting fabrics out of printers is still an immature technology. Lasers cutting fabric is equally awesome, sci-fi-wise, and the technology is much better tested. That’s why Post Couture is using for its downloadable clothes.
You won’t need any sewing skills to put together Post Couture’s designs either, although you might need to appreciate the 1960s designs of Mary Quant if you actually want to wear the things.
The clothes are made from Spacer fabric, “a 3-D-knitted material that is soft to the touch, breathable and strong enough for the innovative construction method.” That method involves taking the fabric to your local maker space and cutting it on their laser cutter, then sliding the various tabs into their corresponding slots. It’s more like building a paper-craft model than making clothing.
The fabric itself has to be stiff enough for these tabs to stay semi rigid, and that affects the drape of the clothes. You know how doll clothing never falls naturally because the fabric is too stiff for such tiny articles? Spacer clothes look like that, only human-sized.
The first collection, by Dutch fashion label mphvs, is already available. The clothes can be ordered pre-cut and ready for assembly, in which case you’ll pay from €100 ($110) to €130 ($144).
Or you can opt for the download, and either have the uncut fabric sent to you or source your own fabric. The amounts needed, along with fabric recommendations, come with the downloaded files. In this case, the files cost just €5 ($5.50) a pop. Fabric starts at €6.50 per meter for recycled Spacer fabric, and can be bought in amounts exactly matched to the clothes in the collection for minimal waste. As a guide, making your own costs about half as much as the pre-cut version.
Post Couture presents itself as an alternative to disposable, mass-produced clothing, with the ironic twist that its high-tech methods are cheap and easy to make. Downloadable, open-source clothing might not yet be ready to oust H&M, but they said the same thing about power looms and spinning frames.