Young brand ZER Collection has revolutionized the Spanish fashion scene by incorporating 3D printing into its designs with a double goal: to accelerate production processes, and to bet on sustainability through the reduction of waste and the use of recycled materials.
Barcelona, 9th January 2020-. Born in 2017, Spanish fashion brand ZER Collection focuses on designing “futuristic, functional and urban clothing with sporty aesthetics”. Its first collection was introduced with great success during the last Mercedes Benz Madrid Fashion Week, and included 12 outfits “whose most parts were 3D printed”, according to Núria Costa, designer and co-founder of the label.
From the beginnings of the brand, Costa and Ane Castro, her co-founder and ZER Collection’s other designer, set the goal of contributing to the introduction of new technologies in the apparel industry. In their exploration of new opportunities in sustainable manufacturing practices, they ran into 3D printing and have never looked back.
For them, including additive manufacturing into their processes has had many significant benefits. The first one, explains Núria Costa, is that now they can “digitize all patterns in order to produce only the necessary fabric”. During the cutting process of most of the apparel we wear, “normally up to 30% of the fabric goes to waste”, says Costa. Using a 3D printer means that they produce “only the fabric needed for each garment”, reducing the waste to almost zero.
Another advantage of additive manufacturing for them is the considerable acceleration of their processes, thanks to the IDEX technology of their BCN3D Sigma 3D printer: “we work much faster, because we can print two fabrics at the same time”, assures Costa, while Ane Castro highlights that this system enables them to combine two different materials with different properties such as elasticities and thicknesses.
3D printing offers them, then, many possibilities to create innovative designs, while working with flexible materials such as TPU guarantees the functionality of all garments, which is a must in their collections.
A sustainable new era of fashion
In addition to the innovation that using 3D printing in fashion represents, and to its production benefits, this technology can also contribute to boosting the sustainability of the fashion industry as a whole. In the case of ZER Collection, its founders have started a line of research in which they “create tissues without generating any residue, tissues that are also biodegradable and have a closed life cycle”.
Their whole process, from design to end-use is focused on sustainability, so they also recycle the materials from used garments, melting the plastics into a once-again printable filament and re-using it for new items.
For Castro and Costa, there’s no doubt that 3D printing “opens a field of possibilities within the design of fabrics, providing them with functionalities that cannot be achieved without the use of this technology, from an elasticity that we can control and modify depending on our needs, to protection against different impacts. We believe that the use of 3D printing represents a revolution in fashion, in environmental care and in society”.