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A new era: 3D printing as an aesthetic language and creative tool in fashion and textile design

Nazmiye Tufan Tolmaç (Institute of Fine Arts Textile and Fashion Design Major, Dokuz Eylül University, Tınaztepe Campus, İzmir, Türkiye)
Özlenen Erdem İşmal (Department of Fashion and Textile Design, Dokuz Eylül University, Tınaztepe Campus, İzmir, Türkiye)

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

ISSN: 1560-6074

Article publication date: 7 March 2023




This study aims to produce textile-like surfaces using fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printers and create a garment collection.


Experiments were conducted using different types of materials in FDM 3D printers until the sufficient flexibility was achieved to create textile-like structures. During the research, properties of polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) were observed. Geometrical patterns were printed and each of them gave a different result depending on the pattern. Based on the information obtained from the experiments, a garment collection with four total looks was designed inspired by Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.


Among the materials used, TPU, a flexible filament, yielded the best results. Because of the rigid properties of PLA and ABS, chain-like structures were printed to create relatively flexible surfaces, but the results were still not successful enough to create a clothing material. Therefore, TPU was preferred for the garment material selection.


In this study, combinations of 3D printed flexible structures and different types of fabrics were used to create a garment collection. It was concluded that, with the right material selection, 3D printing can be used as an alternative method to create a new aesthetic language in fashion design.



This project has been partially presented in IV. International Scientific Conference “Contemporary Trends and Innovations in the Textile Industry”, September 16–17 2021, Belgrade, Serbia.

Funding: This research did not receive grants from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Ethical compliance: In this study, there were no practices contrary to ethical standards.


Tufan Tolmaç, N. and İşmal, Ö.E. (2023), "A new era: 3D printing as an aesthetic language and creative tool in fashion and textile design", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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