3D printing has been around for almost 30 years. Fashion designers like Iris van Herpen - one of Lady Gaga's favourites - and Francis Bitonti brought it to the catwalks. But no one before Israeli designer Danit Peleg has 3D-printed an entire fashion collection at home.
The 27-year-old used only small consumer 3D printers to create her graduate collection. From red high heels to a long striped skirt, all the garments have been printed in small A4-size pieces and then glued together. The process is extremely time-consuming - some pieces took more than 300 hours to come to life - and therefore very expensive.
Despite that, Peleg thinks this is the future of the industry, in part because of the increasing speeds the printers can operate at as well as their rapidly falling prices.
A Witbox 3D printer like the one Peleg used is sold for around $2,000 - a reasonable price considering that some of Peleg's designs cost up to 2,500 pounds ($3,856).
However, 3D printers are not doing as well as expected. One of the biggest players in the sector, 3D Systems Corporation, missed second quarter estimates at the beginning of August because of a “challenging operating environment", as the company stated. 3D Systems Corporation's CTO and former president is Chuck Hull, the inventor of stereolithography or, more commonly, 3D printing.
The future of the market seems uncertain. According to an Oct. 27 report published by Gartner, customer spending on 3D printers will hit $13.4 billion by 2018; a report published on the same day by analysts at CCS Insight suggested the market to less valuable, growing to $4.8 billion by 2018. Different factors, such as high costs of printing materials and intellectual property issues, are holding the industry behind.
It seems it will probably take another few years before waking up in the morning and 3D printing clothes before going to work.