3D printing of clothing
At least, sort of 3D.
My wife, as usual, has been complaining about the difficulty of finding dresses that meet her requirements, which include fitting her, looking reasonably attractive, being washable, and pockets. Having read a number of things recently about 3D printing, it occurred to me to wonder if something along similar lines would, or soon will be, practical for clothing.
It requires an accurate model of the customer's body, which I'm not sure you could get from photos, although it's possible that smart software could manage it. But for a less demanding version, imagine something like a phone booth in a shopping mall. You go in, shut the door, take off your clothes—if Clark Kent could do it, so can you. The sensors in the booth take a 3 dimensional picture of you. Perhaps you move around a little and they take more pictures, since how your shape changes as you move is relevant to getting clothing that will be comfortable. The description of your body shape is uploaded to the firm that put the booth there.
You go to the firm's web site, select fabric, color, style. The web page displays what the resulting dress will look like. If you like it, automatic machinery produces the dress for you.
Custom tailoring for the masses.
If customers are worried that their naked pictures will get ogled by someone in the cloud, the booth delivers its data directly to the customer, perhaps on a flash disk. The customer downloads the relevant software, plugs in the flash disk, connects to the web site for availability of fabrics, colors, and styles.
Is it doable? Is it being done? It seems like an easier problem than full scale 3D printing, since clothing is made from 2D shapes joined together. The quality of the material should be at least as good as with conventional clothing, since it's the same cloth. And the fit a good deal better.
Anything I'm missing? Any ambitious entrepreneurs out there?