How 3D Tech is Accelerating the Fashion Industry

3D scanning and printing has taken businesses by storm in recent years, but it may come as a surprise that fashion can be included in that list of industries which have been revolutionised by the technologies. From downloadable sewing patterns to body scanners, technology has helped fashion enterprises to improve their operations across the board.

With London and Milan Fashion week taking place this month and Paris hosting it next month we can’t wait to see what 3D influences appear on the runways in the coming weeks.

From speeding up the production process to cutting costs and avoiding waste, 3D technology is helping to enhance sustainable fashion brands like Xandra Jane, who have created a digital pattern library using 3D processes to enable customers to access luxury, ethical fashion tutorials and downloadable sewing patterns without premium price tags. Traditional methods of communicating with manufacturers and issuing physical copies of patterns comes with risks of loss and damage but thanks to 3D scanning and digitised patterns, an instant database can be created in a fraction of the time.

Anna Cleveland Vogue Italia, mixing traditional photography and 3d scanning


In terms of sustainability, this also avoids dead stock and over-production, because one garment can be made and customised through fabric choice and colour, allowing the customer to experience all the stages and processes involved in creating it, without physically creating and recreating the garment each time.


From 3D sewing patterns which create an accurate fit, to using actual 3D avatars when shopping online, various online stores such as Little Mistress have invested in software which takes a customer’s height, weight and body measurements to find the perfect fit and assist customers with the ordering process, to ensure they are selecting the right size. This process reduces judgement errors and minimises the number of returns, in turn saving the company money.


3D body scanners have also been introduced into stores providing a niche service. The scanners capture your measurements in seconds and provides customers with a more pleasant shopping experience than using traditional methods like a measuring tape.


As 3D scanning experts, we’ve also had first-hand experience of using 3D technology in the fashion industry. Solve Sundsbo invited us to a studio to help him scan famous model Anna Cleveland last year. Solve was hoping to achieve something unique with his own images and after capturing Anna using a traditional camera, he asked us to then scan the model in the same pose.

Anna Cleveland Vogue Italia, mixing traditional photography and 3d scanning

Using the Artec Eva handheld scanner, we were able to capture the model’s form perfectly, and Solve was then able to layer his own 2D photography with a perfect 3D image of the model. Having the two different methods enabled Solve Sundsbo to add distress and surrealism to the shots, resulting in some spectacular imagery which was then published in Vogue Italia.


It isn’t just 3D scanning that has brought a new dimension to the fashion world, 3D printing has too. Just last year, Charne Esterhuizen debuted a dress that she had created entirely from 3D printed butterflies at Vancouver Fashion Week. Taking it a step further, just last week a Spanish Design studio called ZER showcased and entire collection at Madrid Fashion Week. The Innovation Project features a number of 3D printed garments which seamlessly combine fashion and technology in 10 different looks, each one featuring a garment made with the help of 3D printing or another digital fabrication technique.


Do you think 3D inspired or printed fashions will become the norm? We’d love to hear your thoughts on our social channels: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.