Fashion’s Future, Printed To Order

by MR Magazine Staff

3-D printing may radically change our relationship to shopping and our clothes a lot sooner than we think. Or so said Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google developing machine intelligence, in the past week at The New York Times Global Leaders’ Collective conference held in Washington. Mr. Kurzweil is a futurist who accurately predicted the explosive growth of worldwide internet use in the 1990s, the rise of mobile devices in the 2000s and the dominance of self-driving vehicles by the end of the current decade. He now believes people will be 3-D printing bespoke clothing en masse in their homes by 2020. While advances have been made in recent years in the 3-D production of nonpliable products, namely sneakers and sunglasses, the printing of fabric-based items remains in its infancy because of the stiff, synthetic quality of the raw materials that the current printers must use. In as soon as a decade, Mr. Kurzweil said, this will start to change. “As the variety of materials available to print in 3-D become more extensive and less expensive, both free open-source and proprietary clothing designs will be widely available online in as little as 10 years,” Mr. Kurzweil said to his audience, predominantly made up of fashion and luxury executives. “By 2020 there will be a whole host of product available immediately to buy for pennies on the dollar and to print straight away. It will become the norm for people to have printers in their homes,” he continued, adding that food and housing materials will also be printable. Read more at The New York Times.