10 Ways 3-D Printing Could Change the World

Custom-designed Clothes
Model Lindsay Ellingson struts the runway in her 3-D-printed headpiece as Taylor Swift (center) sings during the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

In 2013, Victoria's Secret model Lindsay Ellingson wowed fashionistas and techies alike by strutting down the runway in a one-of-a-kind glittery snowflake ensemble, accessorized with a set of wings, a corset and a headpiece fashioned from nylon via a 3-D printing process [source: Heller].

But that attention-getting stunt only gave a hint of how 3-D printing may transform the clothing industry. In the near future, according to Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, clothiers are likely to use 3-D scans of consumers' bodies to create custom-designed garments and accessories that not only fit them perfectly, but even adjust to their bodies' individualized movements [source: Dezeen.com].

"With 3-D printing you can decide how much flexibility you want in millimeters or centimeters on a specific part, for example the knees or the shoulders, and you can just include that on the file," van Herpen said in a 2013 interview.