Custom 3D print fashion is a growing trend with the world of fashion shifting to a new phase of design and production. While studying fashion design, Danit Peleg found that design and producing clothes through a desktop 3D printer is a great way to make her fashion ideas come to life, all in the comfort of her home. Learn two processes, equipment and materials she uses when making her clothes and find out why she doesn’t consider 3D printed fashion designing a job.
We have done a few episodes in the past regarding various 3D print fashion designers at times. We had a 3D-printed bra and we’ve had a couple of clothing. We’ve done some various things like that. I would say maybe four to five, maybe half a dozen episodes in our almost 500 episodes at most. This one I am really more excited about in a different way. I respect all the designers and I love all their work, but I’m so excited about this one because it brings 3D print fashion to much more reality than anything we’ve seen before.
Danit Peleg is a fashion designer out of Tel Aviv. She started doing 3D printing as a thesis project in fashion college. She’s really taking it to a level by which, she has a vision for, making it completely custom. That means you could eventually print it out in your home. It’s not there yet obviously, but that’s her vision of the future and I love that. That’s the subscribed vision that I want for my future of 3D printed fashion. I want to be able to have a great connection with fashion designers and then be able to print it out and know it’s going to fit and know it’s going to look great and know it’s what I want to wear tomorrow.
What’s really exciting and different is she not only has a vision to do this, she’s actually printing all of her fashion on desktop 3D printers in her own apartment. That to me is a game changer. She’s not just printing prototypes of things in her apartment on her own 3D printers that then she’s sending out to commercial machines, no. All these garments are designed to be printed on FFF desktop 3D printers and she’s doing it. While you can’t get the files and do them today on your own printer, she’s going that way. For now, you have to buy them from her. What’s so exciting is she is really blazing a trail here for 3D printing clothing on your own printer, and we’re all going to be able to do this. I have seen this potential for years now. I thought it was honestly a lot farther in the future from where it is today before people would really be doing it. It is really close. You can start doing this on your own if you want to as well. Be inspired and start creating your own fashion. Let’s go to the interview and hear all about how Danit is doing it.
Listen to the podcast here:
Custom 3D Print Fashion: A Steadily Growing Trend with Danit Peleg
Danit, thank you so much for joining us today on WTFFF. I’m very excited to talk to you about your 3D-printed fashion.
Thank you so much, Tom and Tracy. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
It’s exciting to talk fashion for me personally because I have a textile design background. Your fashion is both at the same time, and I love that. Why don’t we talk about how you got started 3D printing and a little bit of your background?
I studied fashion design. I was always fascinated of creating my own textiles. I really like to be part of every part of the process of making my garments. I also like to create my own textiles. In order to make them, I use a bunch of different kinds of fashion technologies like laser cutting, knitting machines and all of those. When I came to the point that I needed to start working on my thesis project, I decided to start and research about 3D printers. That’s how it started.
How long ago was that?
The research took me nine months to develop and create a full collection of five garments.
When did you do this research for the thesis project? When did your interest in 3D printing start?
In 2014. I graduated from school in 2015.
When you were researching, what did you find?
Basically, I really wanted to see if we have these desktop printers available already, why people are not printing clothes from their homes. That’s what I wanted to find out. When I started my research, one of the main challenges was to find a flexible filament or at least something that will feel more like fabrics than stiff plastics that you can mostly find, like PLA. That was very challenging to find the right one.
That’s one of my favorite subjects to get into. I agree, I think the materials are really holding things back here for a lot of advances on the design side of things. There’s no question, obviously, the machine works. My whole thing about 3D-printed fashion is that I love the way it looks but at the end of the day you want to feel your fabrics. You want to feel good in your clothing. You want them to move with you. If the materials don’t come along to help you out there, then it actually is impossible to just have this world in which we can have a 3D printer and just print out what we’d like to wear today, wouldn’t that be wonderful, by our favorite fashion designer. That would be great. Without the materials coming along, what did you do? Did you create your own materials?
At the beginning when I only had these stiff materials, I thought that if we’ll use these flexible structures using these stiff materials, maybe I can come up with a nice flexible fabric. It didn’t work out because it was very breakable and scratchy. I tried a new filament back then, it’s called FilaFlex. It’s a Spanish filament and comes in many colors and it’s very strong and flexible, and that’s all I needed. That’s really helped me to move on with my research and with the development of my clothing. I kept with the idea of making a flexible structure and combine it with FilaFlex. It’s come up exactly like a fabric that actually feels really nice on the body.
I’m very intrigued by it. Listeners, you’re just going to have to check it out because there’s just so many different textures and colors and patterns and styles that you’ve got going on. You’ve got some flow here that would look good on a lot of body types, which I think is really amazing as well.
That’s true. It’s very flexible so it fits a lot of different body types. One of the biggest benefits with 3D printing, I could just put the customer or anyone’s measurements on my computer and just redesign the file to fit exactly to this person.
No alterations necessary.
I totally agree with you. This is nothing like cotton or silk or anything we know from the everyday fashion that we use but I’m pretty sure we will get there.
I hope so too because I want it. I really do. It’s not that I’m against it. I’m totally there with you. I want it to happen. I just love the idea. I think this is what you see as well, the idea that in the future your designs will just be available to me here and I can print them out and wear them tomorrow or to an event. You have my measurements and you know me. I would love that relationship with a designer and have that being really capable. Colors, patterns, color materials, those are really the biggest limitations.
I have to mention, because you mentioned that you can’t wait to have these files and print them, that I’ve already come up with the first step. I felt like I was getting so many requests from people who just want to have it and wear it just like that. On my website, you can actually see the first commercially available 3D-printed garment. It’s more like a collector item, I would call it, because they’re all marked with a number. It’s all printed inside of them, the serial number of the jackets. My customers are having a virtual fitting session with me, so they do have a relationship with me. It’s all virtual and it’s all online. It’s a pretty fascinating experience to have a 3D-printed garment. We’re not there yet technologically. I wish I could just sell my files. I’m actually selling the product. Totally, I am working on it to add more files and garments to my platform and having more people experience printing clothes. I hope you’ll be one of them.
One of the things that I was very excited about when I researched you and checked out your website is the idea that you’ve designed all this clothing to be printed on common desktop 3D printers that people might have in their home. I know right now people have to order them through you. I think that’s the right way to start and you had to do it that way. I don’t question that at all. I think that what you’re doing though is you’re bringing the future closer to us here of people being able to 3D print their own clothes and being able to use a common 3D printer. That to me is so exciting and I’m very impressed with what you’ve done.
It’s a really interesting discipline for me. I’m so fascinated by pushing the limits with it. I can’t even call it a job. I’m just enjoying.
I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much. That’s great. Some of the other people that started creating what I would call high fashion or certainly runway quality fashion, which your products absolutely are, were doing it on 3D printers that were commercial grade. They were coming up with all these ways. I don’t know if you ever saw that nervous system dress that’s done in a Powder Bed Fusion printer and it’s all designed and folded up so when you take it out, you unfold it and it’s already a dress. That is just not accessible to most people in terms of those printers. I think in the future, it is going to be these desktop 3D printers that most people have access to and can afford to use. I applaud you for making it a part of your criteria to do it on what I would call more common 3D printers.
That was one of my challenges as well when I was still a student and I had limited access to these industrial machines. I had to find a creative solution. I realized that we have so many benefits using these small machines. The process won’t cost me $20,000 for a dress and I can use more flexible materials that you can use with SLS. I just find a lot of benefits using them and the idea that I can do it from my house, I don’t need anyone else. I can just do this by myself. I just need my printer, my computer and myself and I can make a full fashion collection from my apartment in Tel Aviv. How exciting it is.
How many different printers did you go through before you found one that was really doing what you needed it to do with the flexible filament?
I think I tried something like five different companies, five different printers. I went to a small makerspace in Tel Aviv, and that’s how I started. I just tried all of them until I found Witbox, which is also a Spanish printer. It’s a coincidence completely and it works the best with the filaments I was working with, and that’s how it started.
How big is the bed on that?
It’s really close to a size of like a sheet of paper. I need to assemble all the pieces together.
I wanted to ask you about that because clearly I understood using desktop 3D printers, doing it in the comfort of your own apartment, and also just for keeping your designs confidential until you’re ready to reveal them to the world, that’s a wonderful thing and the design process because it is an experiment. You try something, you don’t like it, you just stop the print. You don’t continue going on. If you had to send that out every time you’d be interrupting your design flow.
Totally a lot of stress when you don’t know how it’s going to come up.
Can you share with us how you join the different components of your garment after they’re printed?
All of my patterns, the patterns of the dresses, of the garments, I divide them in a size so they will fit on the printer plate. For each garment I have something like fifteen or twenty pieces to print. Then I’m just using a really, really strong super glue that hold them forever. Basically when I join them together, they’re meant to be the front of the dress or the back of the dress or the sleeve or whatever. When I put them together, it’s turned to be a 3D puzzle. The joining part, the gluing part is really a lot of fun because you already printed all the pieces so you just want to see it come alive. When I have all the pieces printed, I just go for it and it would take me one hour to put it together.
That very strong super glue, I imagine it’s not the average super glue we could buy at our local hardware store. It’s probably more industrial.
No, it’s Loctite glue. It’s very famous. You can find it everywhere.
I use the same Loctite glue when I’m gluing parts of my 3D prints together. I imagined maybe it would be something more significant. By the time you’re done though, when you glue these pieces together and you have this flexible material that doesn’t create stiff points or scratchy points or anything, are you able to control that?
Yes. When I design the files on the computer, I know that it’s going to join in these areas. On the files, I could just slide it in, I don’t know how to call it, but it’s meant to be connected in these areas. When I put the glue, it’s actually inside. You can’t really see it.
You’ve created mating geometry that gives you a place to glue that’s hidden.
Yeah. I have two approaches. One of them is working with all of these many pieces that is a pattern of the jacket and then I glue them together. It’s turned to be a 3D jacket. The other approach is working with fabric just like a regular cloth. When I’m printing these textiles, I’m just printing a bunch of them. Let’s take the black and white skirt. It’s one of the iconic garments I made I think because it bounces really nicely. This skirt, for example, I just made a lot of fabric. I was just using it just like a regular fabric. When I don’t need it like we had extra fabric, I could just cut it. Because it’s a pattern, you can really see the connections. If you go really closely to my fabric, you can see where I glue them. It’s like a wallpaper, you can see the connections going.
There are seams on fabric anyway. I don’t think that’s anything unusual. Did you have a lot of CAD skills before you started shifting this way with your thesis project?
No. I do have an experience with working of making my patterns on the computer. I’m using AccuMark and then I move them to Blender. When I started realizing I need to 3D model my patterns, I have them on real size and I just need to find the right software to 3D model them. I realized that Blender will work the best for my work. I was actually looking for someone who really knows Blender because you need ten years experience in order to know every little detail there. I would think it’s a blessing because I found a super religious guy, super ultra-orthodox. I would probably never connect to someone like him if it wasn’t for our mutual passion for creating. We became really good friends and he completely volunteers to work with me. I believe God truly sent him with his Blender.
I’m asking more from a business side than I am from a 3D print side, what is the challenge for you to really get to envision your future the way that you want it?
For me right now, the lack of materials is really a boundary because I want to move on from working with rubber. I want it to feel more and more like fabric. I want it to feel like wool or cotton or something that is really soft and meant to be worn. This is one of the things I’m actually working on, developing better filaments. This technology is so new and there is no other person I can learn from. Every time I have my vision to create, I just need to go and do it. I’m very happy that I give inspiration to so many people and I feel the responsibility of pushing and making my vision a reality. That’s what makes me wake up every day and enjoying what I’m doing. I hope I will solve every part of it at the end.
Are you working with partners? I saw a couple of things about partnerships on your website. Is that helping you out?
Yes, very much. Gerber Technology is the company who brings AccuMark to hundreds of fashion brands. They totally help me a lot of getting the tools to research. Together we’re trying to develop their software so it will work better. As a fashion designer, you could just design the garment and immediately send to print. That helps a lot in order to cut the process. I started this amazing partnership with FilaFlex, the company for the filaments. They actually saw me working on the few garments at the beginning on Instagram. That’s how we started. They just sent me a box with all the materials I needed and that’s how I could accomplish finishing my thesis project. Since that day, we kept in a really, really good relationship. Witbox is always sending me the new printer they’re making and it’s always getting better for fashion, I have to say. From the first version to the second version, it became three times faster using my materials. It’s actually working better with the flexible filament than with PLA, so it’s really funny to see that they’re actually trying to adopt my workflow and idea.
I find that too when you start working with a particular printer and a printer company. You’re doing real world designs and applications, which is something that not enough manufacturers of 3D printers actually have enough real world case studies and work to be able to help guide the development of their machines. I’m sure they value that partnership with you and they’re probably building a lot of what the machine does around what you’re doing, hoping to really expand in that market in the future.
I hope I am helpful for them.
I have a question. You mentioned earlier about how you can just take the measurements of somebody, like in the case of your jacket, your new item that’s on your website. You’d get their measurements and then resize your model, and then can print it out to fit anybody. Can you share a little bit about that process? Is that just scaling a model in Blender or is it a little more sophisticated than that?
The process is like that. Once the customer chose the colors they like, they can totally customize their jacket. They can choose the colors of the lining and the 3D fabric and write the name in the back. I am sending them a request to have a virtual fitting session with me. That means they’re getting an email that asks them to download an app called Netello. Netello is a very smart app who could take just two photos of yourself and you send back to me these two photos. It actually turns the two photos to an avatar. I am getting all of the measurements of my customer from every angle. I can just press on your figure on your avatar and I can see how many centimeters or inches from the top of your hand to the end of your hand. That’s how I get all of my measurements. Then I go back to the textile. The textile is a textile but I can totally choose the length of it or the size of it. I come to the point that I have zero waste with creating my jackets. Everything is completely made to measure for the customers. The ribs or the rest of the areas that is actually also printed are also fitted exactly to the length of the neck or the size of the hand. It is a combination of getting the measurement using an app and then putting these measurements on the computer and having the exact amount of textile that I need in order to print a jacket with zero waste.
If I understood you properly, and this is fascinating to me, it sounds like you’ve designed different 3D-printed textiles, for lack of a better expression, different patterns. The structures of what you’re printing, you’re thinking of them like fabrics. Instead of cutting them off of a roll to the size that you need, you’re just printing enough of that textile to the size that you need for each piece of the pattern. Does that sound right?
That’s exactly how I do it.
I think that a lot of people would think, “I’ll scale this thing up or down to meet my needs,” but no. You’re essentially just adding more material or taking away material from a set pattern as needed, depending on the size of the person. I love it. I want one. I discovered that you have my signature purple color. I picked my color already. I get speeches all the time, this is the thing. I’m always complaining to Tom. I’m like, “I don’t have anything to wear or put on that looks like cool 3D-printed that’s such a statement.” This is a great idea. You have to go check out the website because you can do a simulation and see it in your colors, and it will pop up what it looks like. It’s very, very cool and a lot of fun because you feel like you’re participating in your own design process.
It’s really new everything there. We’re going to add a lot of new photos so you could see the actual jacket on real life very soon. Also, we developed some workflow with Netello that actually shows your figure wearing this jacket. You can see exactly how it fits you. You could see yourself as a figure, like a simulation of yourself. You will see yourself as well wearing the jacket. That’s how I feel we will shop in the future. I think maybe the printers will look different than they look today and of course the materials will evolve. We will see ourselves wearing the garments and we will have so much information before we actually purchase them and of course, they will fit to our measurements. That will be one alternative to receive them fitted exactly to ourselves. That’s how I see it.
I’m subscribing to that future, Danit. I want to know when are you going to do a men’s jacket? I’m a creative guy in general and I’m always frustrated with the clothing that I have that I wear to especially conferences and events. I want to be wearing brighter colors. I want to be making more of a statement. I could hire a fashion designer to make something completely custom for me but I’ve never done that. To me, 3D printing is a little more me anyway because sometimes I wear a 3D-printed tie. I’ve already got a couple of versions now. I need a men’s jacket, just throwing out a challenge there. If you create one, I’ll be your first customer.
That’s the goal. That’s one of the next steps. There is no difference in making this jacket for women or men, especially when I have this app. I can get it done. I’ve never had a problem to create it, fit it to the person’s measurements. I just never had an experience working with men’s wear. I think that’s the only reason why it’s only for women right now. I’m sure it will change.
I understand that. As a designer, you’re focused on certain areas. You’ve got to explore what you know first. It makes sense. Men’s wear I’m sure is not as exciting as it is to design for women but some of us men, we need this too. Danit, thank you so much for joining us and sharing all of this great information. We really appreciate that.
Thank you so much, guys. I had the best time. I hope to keep in touch and show you more of how I see the future of fashion.
Custom 3D Print Fashion – Final Thoughts
I am so impressed with Danit. She is really doing it. I’m super excited. I really want her to design a men’s wear jacket fashion piece. I haven’t been able to put the time in that it takes someone like her who’s a true fashion designer. She’s got thousands of hours in doing this. I just don’t have that kind of time. Keep in mind, that jacket that she’s printing custom that she’ll print is a limited edition of a hundred. If you want one, you’d better order one. It takes over a hundred hours. That’s the way that it is for a lot of things. Our tie is small and it takes over twenty hours. There’s a lot of handwork involved in what she does so that also adds time and value. You’re talking about a custom-made, it’s couture.
I love her approach. I’m so glad that she’s using the 3D printer to create really what are fabrics, although they’re made of flexible filament right now. She does want and is looking forward to the day when the material options that you can 3D print are more of the same quality as real fabrics, of cotton, silk, wool, whatever, and they’re not there yet. She’s taking this approach of using what is unique and taking advantage of the opportunities of 3D printing but then applying it in very much a practical way that it is in alignment with how clothing is usually made.
Construction is really important. Construction and fit go hand in hand. That’s been refined over hundreds of years. You really think about that. She’s taking what is traditional pattern making and then marrying that up with 3D print textiles and 3D print form factors. You pull those things together and it’s going to move. She’s going to find new forms. She’s going to find new ways to doing this. What I really want to point out here is the smart efforts on behalf of the companies: Gerber Technology, Blender, Witbox, the 3D print manufacturer. When you find an influencer and a mover who is doing something in such a great application and you support them, that is one of the smartest things you can do. At this early stage of support, any amount, getting the free filament, getting a new printer, getting those things are valuable to them because they don’t have a lot of startup money.
When you do simple things like that, and then if you even think about adding in some small amount of funding dollars to people like Danit, you have an opportunity not only to align your brand with someone who’s doing something amazing. You have an opportunity to inform your brand and your product and your design of your product with something that it didn’t imagine it could do before. That moves innovation to a greater place. You’re moving your product, you’re moving your brand from a market perception standpoint and you’re helping out someone in the industry who’s now inspired to go rave about you, like she just did on our show here, and talk about you and share what you’re doing. Right now, we’re going to go order some FilaFlex, because she said that. That is powerful. You need to reward that from a filament manufacturer, printer manufacturer, software manufacturer. Wherever you are, these influencers are very, very powerful. Use them. They really change the phase. It astounds me sometimes how hard it is to get people to reach out to us to give us their printers to review. They don’t do it. It’s surprising and some companies even say, “I’ll send you one,” and then never do.
The filament too, we offer it up. It’s a standard part of what we do here and we don’t charge anyone to do it. You just have to send us the printer or the filament or whatever it is that you want us to review and we return them. Some have been doing it and it’s been a while since we had a printer review. I had been working for almost two months now with a printer. I’m very excited and it’s actually a ground-breaking 3D printer. I’m spending a ton of time with this thing and it is actually to the company’s benefit.
We offer this and so few people take us up on it. That’s why I think really the market, in the sense the industry, isn’t moving fast enough because you’re not getting in touch, you’re not aligning yourself with the influencers in this marketplace and you’re not learning from them. When you’re not doing that, then you may just fall to the wayside. You may just fall off and not be of interest. The ones who are doing that are learning more and moving faster. I’ve read a bunch of articles about this, about aligning influencers and brands and the power of it. It is happening in all other industries really well. It is not happening here in the 3D print industry and it’s such a shame. I see it on 3D print industry and all those things that trade publications, if you want to call them that, or the digital media publications. They’ll do a printer review, but that is a printer review with I feel like it’s somebody who actually didn’t even use a printer. It sounds like, “I took it out of the box. I printed the test print and it worked, and I put it back.” That’s not a review. You’ve got to print real world stuff with it. You’ve got to have experience with the hardware and the software in order to be able to write an appropriate, thoughtful, meaningful review. Some companies do get it.
There’s a couple of YouTubers who we love that do a great job out there, don’t get me wrong. It’s the website ones that drive me crazy because it’s like Google Ad bait, that’s all it is. They want to say, “I reviewed this printer,” but they really didn’t. They just write up a regurgitation of someone else’s review. They just don’t go very deep into it, that happens.
There are a couple of companies that do send us printers and want legitimate reviews of real world things. Actually, one of those is MakerBot and we’ve been criticized a lot for being too influenced by them, I don’t know why. The reality is they’re providing things to us to test because they really want our real world feedback. That happened recently. They have this new extruder called an experimental extruder, which now you’re not limited to running PLA through their machines. You can run any material you want through it. They’ve opened up their APIs, opened up their software for you to really experiment, like the way it was in the early days of MakerBot. That’s where I’m excited because I think their extruder might work very well with this FilaFlex. I’m going to give it a shot.
I’m so excited about what Danit is doing. I really, really want to see her succeed. Check out the video of this custom-printed jacket that she’s doing. Check out all the images that she shared with us. Go support Danit and other designers and influencers out there in the 3D print industry. Holidays are coming. A 3D-printed jacket for a special someone would make a great gift.
It’s very cool and I’m so excited about what she’s doing, not just because we want to get that 3D-printed jacket, but I’m more honestly excited about the approach she’s taking and that she’s advancing 3D printing of fashion in a way that’s going to benefit all of us. I really do believe her goal and what she’s already doing is bringing this as a reality to the masses. That’s admirable and exciting. I just can’t wait to see what’s next. I’m so glad she came on our show.
If you have anything you’d like share with us, especially images, please share them @3DStartPoint on social media and you can go to 3DStartPoint.com and you can leave us a comment, share things with us, send us messages. If you are interested in having us review any products or machines, let us know. We’re very happy to do it. Also keep in mind, coming up next is going to be our 500th episode. Keep a look out for that coming soon. I can’t believe we’re almost at 500. It seems astounding. In some ways, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that we started this podcast. In other ways, a lot has happened in those years, all those 500 episodes. That’s going to be a fun episode. Stay tuned for that. Thanks for listening. This has been Tom and Tracy on the WTFFF 3D Printing Podcast.
About Danit Peleg
Danit Peleg is a Fashion Designer known for her 3D printed fashion work. In 2015, Danit’s 3D printed graduate collection made waves in the fashion and tech worlds. Danit’s seminal first collection includes 5 looks which were entirely 3D printed using desktop printers that can be used from home. Her collection received global attention both in the fashion world and the tech world.
In the summer of 2016, Danit was invited to design a 3D printed dress for the headliner dancer at one of the most moving segments of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics Games. Danit believes that advancements in 3D printing technology could revolutionize fashion design and manufacturing processes. Danit is working closely with many partners to advance the technology. She’s especially proud of having a creative collaboration with Gerber Technology.
Danit is a TED speaker and has been featured in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Danit is a graduate of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and she is based in Tel Aviv, Israel.
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