How 3D printing could be an approach to making fashion more sustainable | The life
NEW YORK, March 31 — Imagine 3D printing a pair of shoes and then recycling them endlessly – or almost. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s a concept that will revolutionize the fashion industry. Many start-ups, like Hilos in the US, are now adopting 3D printing technology to reduce waste and produce goods more ethically.
How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet? And, more importantly, how many do you actually wear on a daily basis? Style is the worst enemy of sustainable fashion, it seems, but an American start-up chose to combine the two to reduce the environmental impact of our wardrobe without compromising on comfort or design. Hilos, a Portland-based company, won two awards for its innovative project at the 2022 edition of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival held in March in Texas.
“Hilos is the result of a team that questioned the manufacture of shoes to do better. We are designers, engineers and artists pioneering a new path, powered by technology, driven by design, rooted in sustainability,” reads the brand’s official website. And to achieve this, the founders chose 3D printing, a solution considered by many companies to reduce their impact on the planet.
An almost infinitely recyclable shoe
Other major fashion brands have explored 3D printing in the past, but not scaled up to full-scale production. Hilos now markets no less than four models of shoes, to accompany casual, work or evening outfits, all made by 3D printing. This technology makes it possible to respond to many environmental challenges, such as overproduction or stock shortages, since the start-up only produces on demand, sustainability, by limiting water consumption and waste, and circularity. , since the shoes are completely recyclable.
“We see footwear not as a collection of components assembled together, but as an integrated system working to support and propel you. By developing new patented forms of shoemaking suitable for digital fabrication, we have pushed the boundaries of production traditional”, explain the founders on the official website of the brand.
Using this technology, Hilos manages to combine the traditional insole, midsole and outsole into a single 3D printed platform, allowing for fully custom sizing in the process. Each element of the shoes on sale – clogs, mules, loafers and heels – was also designed and manufactured to be taken apart and then recycled for a new life. Customers are encouraged to return used models for a 15% discount on their next purchase.
Last fall, Heron Preston innovated with 3D printed shoes. In association with the American technology company Zellerfeld, the multi-talented designer presented the very first pair of 3D printed sneakers accessible to the general public. It was a very limited beta launch, but one that promised the almost infinite recycling of each pair of shoes to adapt to new trends. So many elements that testify to a certain interest in this technology which could clearly be one of the solutions to make the future of fashion more sustainable. — Studio ETX