Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Revolutionary 3D printed fashion to be developed at Loughborough University

Personalised 3D printed fashion - manufactured within 24 hours - is the end goal of a new project led by Loughborough University that’s set to change the way we shop for clothes.
Dr Guy Bingham, Senior Lecturer in Product and Industrial Design, has teamed up with global textile and garment manufacturer the Yeh Group, to embark on landmark work in 3D textile printing that could revolutionise how clothes and footwear are made.
The 18-month project[1], known as 3D Fashion, will see Dr Bingham - a world leader in his field - produce 3D wearable, full size, Additive Manufacturing (AM) textile garments and footwear - with design input from a major fashion house.
Advancements in AM textiles have made it possible to produce 3D printed garments directly from raw material, such as polymer, in a single manufacturing operation. This technology not only has the potential to reduce waste, labour costs and CO2e, but can modernise clothing production by encouraging localised manufacturing and production.
Currently, garment manufacture generates 1.8 million tonnes of waste material - equivalent to 70kg or 100 pairs of jeans per UK household, with 6.3 billion m³ of water used in the process - equivalent to 200,000 litres per year per household or 1,000 filled bathtubs[2].
Dr Bingham said: “With 3D printing there is no limit to what you can build and it is this design freedom which makes the technology so exciting by bringing to life what was previously considered to be impossible.
“This landmark technology allows us as designers to innovate faster and create personalised, ready-to-wear fashion in a digital world with no geometrical constraints and almost zero waste material. We envisage that with further development of the technology, we could 3D print a garment within 24 hours.
“Printing clothes using AM will revolutionise the fashion industry worldwide by opening up digital manufacturing to the masses via online retail, bringing a much needed update to 19th century techniques and processes. This modern approach to clothing production helps meet the growing demand for personalised apparel and footwear which through 3D printing can be produced in a sustainable and ethical way.”
David Yeh, Managing Director, Tong Siang (Yeh Group), said: “3D Fashion supports the Yeh Group vision of direct polymer to garment manufacture. The Yeh Group is always striving to cut out unnecessary waste and resource use, and support the industries goals of faster to market, creating a manufacturing technology that brands and retailers can install closer to their customers. This is all with no compromise to performance.”
Industrial collaboration opportunities are available for future research in AM materials and technology development. To find out more click here or contact Colm Watling, IP Officer at Loughborough University, on 01509 222943 or email

  1. The underpinning research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC). The commercialisation activities are supported by The Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Higher Education Innovation Fund and the Yeh Group.  
  2. Valuing our clothes, WRAP 2015. 
Dr Bingham, who has been a lecturer within Loughborough Design School since 2010, gained a PhD within AM textile structure design and modelling in 2007. He has since designed many items using AM techniques, including footwear, personal protective equipment and the world’s first conformal AM textile dress and personalised Taekwondo torso protector.
Yeh Group is an innovative vertical sports, outdoor and intimates supplier, based in South East Asia, with headquarter in Thailand.
Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts  please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. It was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015 and Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times.
Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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