Will 3D printing upend fashion like Napster crippled the music industry?

By Rebecca Hiscott Before MakerBot, no one could have conceived of Napster for fashion. A Burberry trench couldn’t be replicated digitally, which meant the garment industry was more or less safe from the revolution that upended music production and book publishing. But with 3D printing, Fifth Avenue is headed for its own disruptive moment. 3D printers can manufacture spare parts for spacecraft, produce food and housing, even replicate human organs. Simultaneously, the materials used in 3D printers are improving by leaps and bounds, incorporating metals and plastics, wood and nylon. New York-based Shapeways has begun selling 3D-printed objects, including jewelry, while Continuum has created a 3D-printed bikini with plastic pieces that snap together. And a San Francisco-based entrepreneur is currently experimenting with a printer that can create garments out of polymer fabrics — the future of 3D-printed textiles. “We are living a world in which fashion and design take on a personal element,” says Jonathan Askin, a professor with the Brooklyn Law School and a consultant in Internet law. “The same way anyone is now a publisher or a music distributor, now almost everyone can become a fashion creator.” “3-D printing will impact every creative industry, not just fashion. You thought mp3’s caused chaos and panic with executives and artists? Soon it will be possible for people to illegally download t-shirts, slap bands, watches, you name it. Better to thinking about how to adjust our business models around this inevitable technology.” Read the entire article here: http://mashable.com/2014/03/03/3d-printing-fashion/

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