Excited about that stylish top from J.Crew but wish you could have it for the party tonight? Why not just 3D print it right at home? That’s the vision embodied in a Clothing Printer conceived by industrial designer Joshua Harris. Harris developed the Clothing Printer with a group of colleagues as an entry in the Electrolux Lab design competition in 2010, where it placed in the semifinals.
The Clothing Printer is conceived as a wall-mounted personal appliance that could be connected electronically to retailers. Fashion designers and apparel companies could sell digital designs to be instantly printed at home using material cartridges. T-shirt worn out? Tired of last week’s fashion? No problem, just feed it back into the Clothing Printer, where the old garment gets broken down into thread for reuse.
The brief for the Electrolux competition, says Harris, was “to come up with a solution to deal with the rapid urbanization of the population that would begin to make drastic changes in how we live by 2050.” The rationale for the Clothing Printer was based on the likely shortage of space in urban living units in future decades. The Clothing Printer, says Harris, would reduce or eliminate the need for closets, washers, and dryers, besides allowing instantaneous delivery of new clothing. Harris says that “the technology for a clothing printer exists but is not packaged in a form that would be suitable for consumer use.”