The Future of 3D-Printed Fashion

This guest post on Innovation Intelligence is written by Lieve Boeykens, Brand Manager at Materialise, developer of Additive Manufacturing software 3-maticSTL. Materialise is a member of the Altair Partner Alliance

Fashion designers are always seeking to create innovating, mind-blowing outfits and the revolutionary 3D printing technology makes it possible to realize their wildest dreams. The Dutch fashion-tech designer, Anouk Wipprecht, has always been intrigued by the combination of design and technology. Her 3D printed designs have been shown and admired all over the world, such as the Smoke Dress, which could be admired at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, and the Spider Dress which was exhibited at CES in Las Vegas. Materialise, a leading provider of 3D Printing software, is Anouk’s well-established partner during her 3D printing fashion journey. Welcome to the era of 3D-printed fashion.

The Smoke Dress


Anouk Wipprecht’s Smoke Dress.

The Smoke Dress, designed by Anouk Wipprecht and .MGX designer Niccolo Casas, and 3D printed by Materialise, reacts on the interaction between the wearer and the environment. If you step into the intimate space of the wearer, the dress immediately creates a veil of smoke.

Materialise 3D printed the Smoke Dress in polyamide and TPU 92A-1 (the first fully-flexible 3D printing material) to provide both support to the sensors and smoke system that are embedded in the dress, and to have the look and feel of ultra-futuristic fabric.

Materialise’s design enhancement software, 3-maticSTL, was used to create an assembly system for the five different pieces of the dress. Materialise’s Magics software was used to fix and prepare the design file for 3D printing. Magics and 3-matic STL are two components of Materialise’s software platform that smoothly guides the user from design to printed part.   

The Spider Dress

The Spider Dress was created by Anouk Wipprecht in collaboration with Philip H. Wilck and fully 3D printed using laser sintering. This piece of art simulates a spider’s territorial instincts by using robotic arms that react according to data it picks up from motion and respiration sensors. When the wearer’s breath becomes heavy, the sensors read that she feels threatened, so the dress’s robotic arms will extend to defend her. If you approach the wearer in a quick, unexpected way, the defense mechanism will be triggered too. Once the threat has dissipated, the arms retract and the dress will have a softer expression.

spider dress

Anouk Wipprecht’s Spider Dress.

Anouk needed advanced software to make the complex spine-like geometry of the dress’s front printable. Materialise’s software platform assisted in the creation of this both unique and wearable design. The designer used data preparation software package and STL editor Magics to fix the design files.


Screenshot of the dress in Materialise’s data preparation software Magics.

The future of 3D printed fashion looks promising. Through this innovative technology and a well-established software platform for 3D printing, very complex designs no longer need to be discarded. Designers can fully explore the limits of their fantasy and amaze the public with intricate, inspiring designs that could only be produced with 3D printing technology.

Altair Partner Alliance
Altair Partner Alliance

About Altair Partner Alliance

The Altair Partner Alliance (APA) provides access to a broad spectrum of complementary software products, through the use of HyperWorks Units (HWUs) at no additional cost. Their continuously expanding list of partner software, across a broad range of disciplines, serves the needs of hundreds of companies ranging from automotive, aerospace, and defense to consumer products, biomedical and heavy equipment. The APA curates a diverse collection of blog posts written by its many partners to keep readers informed on a variety of trending engineering topics.