Fashion week has officially arrived here in New York City, and while all the large fashion houses prepare to show off their AW16 lines, Shapeways will be taking the week to focus on the ever-growing trend of 3D printing in fashion.

Over the past two years, and however unintentionally, I’ve been submerged in the world of 3D fashion. It has been a truly unique experience to observe how different corners of fashion utilize this technology. I’ve witnessed a range of use cases: from high-end fashion brands using 3D printers to prototype hardware and jewelry, to experimental tech-hobbyists using software algorithms to knit 3D printable garments. While there has been no shortage of obstacles in each sector, one thing still holds true: people keep pushing the limits.

"Poseiden" a sharkskin biomimicry 3D printed garment

“Poseiden” sharkskin biomimicry 3D printed garment – a project from our annual Computational Fashion master class

But why? Why are people (and corporations) so steadfast in getting involved with this experimental market? The barrier to entry is incredibly high, and traditional fashion manufacturing has worked just fine for us thus far. Is there truly a need for change?

Could it be that including ‘3D printing’ in your fashion line is alluring simply because of the novelty factor? Or does this tech actually hold some weight to being a relevant form of fashion manufacturing in the future?

In order to answer this question, we’ll have to take a deep dive into what’s actually going on in the world of computational fashion: Who is making what and why? Over the course of the next week, we will be featuring a number of 3D fashion designers to find out exactly that. Stay tuned!