Print Goes High Fashion

3D printing has always fascinated me—especially as the technology has evolved over the years. We've seen it used for 3D renderings in the architectural markets, as a way to build spare parts that might not be sold through the manufacturer. We've also seen it taking off in the medical field as doctors have the opportunities to build prosthetics and other devices that are custom fit for each person.

At the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion show, however, we saw 3D printing go high fashion. Victoria's Secret partnered with Shapeways to create a costume—including a pair of "angel wings"—for Model Lindsay Ellingson. According to a report by CNN Money, Shapeways scanned Ellingson's body using a 3D scanner and printed the wings with nylon plastic. They were then encrusted with millions of Swarovski crystals.

Duann Scott, design evangelist for Shapeways, explained the process in the CNN Money video clip "Victoria's Secret model's 3D-printed wings" which you can view at

But as CNN Money correspondent Laurie Segall pointed out, this was not the first time that high-tech had come to the runway. Asher Levine used Makerbot's 3-D printers to print multicolored glasses for his models. He also embedded RFID tags into some of his clothing pieces—jackets and gloves, for example—and linked them with an app. I know I continually misplace my gloves in the wintertime, so being able to "Find My Gloves" with an app would be awesome.

But how can PSPs get involved? While prices have dropped on the equipment, making these 3D printers affordable for consumers, there is still more involved than simply just "hitting print". Can you offer 3D services to consumers? Do you have a B-to-C business plan when it comes to specialty 3D products? If you're not providing it, someone else down the road might be.