The ability to design and immediately fabricate a custom ensemble is the dream of every well-dressed science fiction nerd. We're not quite there yet, but Freedom of Creation (freedomofcreation.com), a 10-year-old 3D printing company, has garnered some buzz for its printed fabric offerings. The garments and accessories—some designed directly by the customers, but most generated in house—are modeled on a computer. Then specialized printers pile up layers of material, bonding them together to form a three dimensional object.
Right now, the printers are too expensive for even the most fashion-forward folk, and the weaves of the fabric are wide and loopy, more like futuristic chain mail than silk. But Freedom of Creation sells flexible mesh bags and offers six kinds of textiles for users to turn into their own custom designs.
Other upsides: There's no waste from cutting, shipping time is minimal, and best of all, knockoffs can be produced in hours, rather than days or weeks. —Katherine Mangu-Ward