3D printing firm Stratasys has partnered with two fashion designers to leverage its direct-to-textile printing technology, from design through to production, demonstrating the possibility for localised manufacturing and mass customisation.

Stratasys has been working closely with a number of household fashion brands to optimise its novel PolyJet Technology to meet the needs of modern-day apparel fabrication and make customised fashion design commercially viable.

Two collaborative works, with fashion designers Julia Koerner and Ganit Goldstein, form part of Re-Fream – a collaborative research project funded by the European Union bringing together artists, designers, engineers and scientists to co-explore the use of technology and 3D printing for the future of fashion.

At this week's virtual ARS Electronica Festival, Koerner unveiled her latest collection ARID. The works are built on research focusing on digital processes from 2D to 3D for nature-inspired geometries and the connectivity and adaptability of textiles with multi-colour 3D-printed parts — with an underlying focus on material efficiency and sustainability.

Using Stratasys' PolyJet Technology, the digital designs were 3D printed directly onto sustainable fabrics in vivid colours, creating a shimmer effect when the garment is in motion, while maintaining the comfort and wearability of fabric garments.

The collection also allows for the easy adaption of personalised sizes through modified 3D printed connectors, which are derived from 3D scans of the wearer. There is no sewing involved in the final assembly of the parts. Instead, all seams are connected with 3D printed joinery, which is said to be the first time 3D printed connectors have been used in the assembly of textiles.

Meanwhile, Goldstein teamed up with Stratasys to combine craft methods with direct-to-textile 3D printing to produce a Japanese-style dress.

"Looking at the fashion world today, I want to introduce a new way of manufacturing – moving away from mass production to customised design," says Goldstein. "3D printing has always offered the potential to personalise design in ways not possible before, but to truly create a new way to manufacture requires a new kind of textile. My goal is to create a new hybrid world of crafts and multi-colour 3D printing – connecting past, new and future techniques to evolve fashion design."

The new technique for 3D printing directly onto fabric was first unveiled last year.