3D Printing: this technological breakthrough,  which makes three-dimensional solid objects from digital designs was developed in the 1980s. Nothing short of revolutionary, the process requires a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing.

Just how does this cutting-edge technology work? The first step is creating a virtual blueprint (or downloading a ready-made design) on your computer. The design is then sent to the 3-D printer (the simplest models actually look a bit like an everyday ink-jet). Using the process of additive manufacturing, the printer creates the object by adding layer after layer of material (this can be anything from plastic, paper, and metal, to human cells) until the entire object is created. Envision each of these layers as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the resulting object.

The most common material currently used is plastic, but doctors can use their patient’s own cells to produce small body parts like ears and noses, and are even experimenting with creating organs for use in transplants. Sound like science-fiction? Well, it’s not.

Stanford University professor Dr. Paul Wang, is a cardiovascular and bioengineering expert studying the printers’ potential for prosthetics and replacement bones. “You can make things for tens of dollars rather than thousands of dollars,” Dr. Wang said in the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s totally opened up what’s possible.”

In order to understand this brave new world of technology, FEMME ROUGE visited the MakerBot store in Boston, Massachusetts. This company’s mission is to bring 3-D printing to the masses by producing affordable printers and scanners (sold at select Staples stores and online), and setting up several retail locations where curious customers can take their products for a test run, and even attend classes on how to design, scan, and print in 3-D.

With the advent of this and other exciting new technologies being applied to fashion design, we can’t wait to see what’s next to appear on the runway!

See more at makerbot.com.

Learn more about 3D Fashion in our post: Future of Fashion.