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Cornell Student Develops 3-D Printed, Custom-Fit Activewear

Recycl3D concept design. Image courtesy Cornell University.
Recycl3D concept design. Image courtesy Cornell University.

There are three things trending in a major way today: customization, athleisure and 3-D printing, and one student has found a way to provide all of the above in one product.

Some are calling it the next breakthrough in sustainable fashion, but Cornell University senior Eric Beaudette just wants to simplify the transition from workplace to workout—something a slew of consumers are also seeking.

Dubbed Recycl3-D, Beaudette’s convertible concept clothing can be altered by adding or removing collars, sleeves, hoods, pockets or other accessories to suit the occasion. Beyond that, the garments are fully recyclable and would all but eliminate waste, according to Cornell.

Beaudette, a student in Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design in the College of Human Ecology, won one of four $30,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarships from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund for the idea.

He made a prototype for the competition based on his own measurements as taken in Cornell’s Body Scanner and the garment was then printed on a 3-D printer. Wearers could create their own custom versions of Recycl3-D by picking colors, patterns and accessories and once finished with the garment, could return it to the company to convert into raw material for more apparel or even for packaging.

“The real perks of 3-D printing have not been used to their full potential. I brought together recycling with synthetic blends, customization from body scanning and optimization of the manufacturing process to drastically reduce production waste,” Cornell reported Beaudette as saying.

Design and technology are increasingly moving closer together and Beaudette said learning both science and design lets him look at a product from two perspectives—a key concept for the future of apparel.

“True product design, especially for apparel, has to be a perfect marriage between design and materials,” he said. “My dream is to be a product developer and innovator, and bring new perspectives to materials and technologies specifically made to interact with the human body.”