3D Printed Bags That Create Zero Waste

These 3D printed bags aren’t just uber-chic. They’re made with zero waste techniques, too!

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

There are loads of ways fashion brands can be sustainable. They can use organic or recycled fabrics, for example. Or they can upcycle old items into new.

Another, more high tech manner of creating sustainable fashion is through 3D printing. This can be used to create practically anything, from dresses and tops to bags and shoes. And that’s not all – this technique is getting more sustainable than ever!

For example? A 2014 study from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, acknowledged that this technique could reduce CO2 emission intensities of industrial manufacturing by up to 5% by 2025. The reason for this is that 3D printing is more material-efficient than conventional manufacturing.

Also known as ‘additive manufacturing,’ 3D printing is a process that constructs three-dimensional objects using layers of material that’s crushed into dust. Initially, the dust was pure plastic or nylon, but increasingly, bio-plastics or recycled plastics are being used.

3D printing first began back in the 1980s, with the commercialisation of stereolithography. It was first used by architects and medics to create 3D scale models of design buildings and anatomical regions of a patients, respectively. Throughout the decades, the fashion industry has since adapted this technology to create 3D printed bags and other accessories.

Here below, we’ve found some of the most creative designers we know of who are structuring stunning 3D printed bags – often from recycled or sustainable materials, too!

3D Printed Bags That Create Zero Waste

1. Julia Koerner

The award-winning Austrian designer, Julia Koerner, is one of our favourite 3D printed bag creators.

She creates delicate, elegant, wearable sculptures, converging architecture with fashion design. She’s probably best known for her Black Panther 3D printed costumes, which were so distinctive, they were practically a character in the film!

Koerner finds much inspiration in natural forms, as we can see in her Kelp handbags, above and below. These are perfect for those of us who love the oceans, or who wish to channel our inner mermaid!

the best 3d printed bags

2. Rothy’s

This popular San Francisco-based, vegan fashion company makes 3D printed handbags that are both practical and affordable.

Rothy’s combines the best of 3D knitting technology and handcrafted expertise to create everyday items with minimalist designs. And the best part? Whether you choose a sweet crossbody, roomy tote or practical bucket bag, they’ll all be made from recycled plastic bottles, recovered from the sea. Oh, and Rothy’s is also famous for their gorgeous vegan shoes! These are made using the same zero waste techniques and sustainable materials.

3. Julia Daviy

This Los Angeles-based designer makes 3D printed bags, sure. But she goes much further, too, crafting highly wearable 3D printed dresses, tops and even skirts.

Julia Daviy is a pioneer in the field of ethical fashion. Her zero waste pieces are conceived as functional objets d’art with striking, elegantly nuanced designs. Their unique forms, materials, visual textures, and production processes are all inspired by morphogenesis. That is to say, mimicking the way nature produces differentiation from groups of identical cells and develops living shapes. 

the best 3d printed bags

4. ZMAI

ZMAI (“dragon” in Slovenian) is one of those 3D printed bags brands that we just discovered.

The label finds its inspiration in the symbolism of the dragon that signifies power, strength and good fortune. At the core, it is an innovation-driven sustainable brand that values zero waste, Earth-friendly materials and people-friendly design. All ZMAI bags are made exclusively of non-animal materials by using local and Italian-made vegan leather, and have been certified by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

The signature 3D texture of the bags – which resembles dragon’s skin – is what differentiates them from other vegan leather brands. Each bag is a result of an innovative design and assembly process called digital handcraft. Each design is firstly computer modelled, then is transferred onto the vegan leather. This is then laser-cut into pieces that are afterwards assembled by hand. By combining modern technology with handcrafting skills, the brand honours both tradition and innovation.

the best 3d printed bags

5. XYZ Bag

It’s often said ‘Italians do it better.’ And when it comes to 3D printed bags, that may well be true! The XYZ Bag is a proudly Italian brand which seeks to create a new form of design that glorifies self expression. The label creates customised vegan handbags for its customers, all made through an ethical 3D printing process.

No waste occurs in their production at all, since every piece is made on demand, layer by layer. Their 3D printed accessories are conceived through a tailor-made digital process. The customer’s desires are translated into a unique computer code that prints out the bag of their dreams. The result is a futuristic, tailor-made Italian handbag like no other.

xyz bag

6. Mixee Labs

The truth is that much of 3D printed fashion is so elaborate, it’s only suitable for events or to be worn on the runway. Models, rockstars and celebrities don these dresses far more than everyday individuals. But 3D printed bags are different! They’re practical enough for anyone to use, any time.

Made on a desktop 3D printer, the Mixee bag is functional, and allows for fluid movement of the accessory, due to clever hinging work. What this means specifically is that geometric forms are hung, or hinged, in a way that allows them to fold and move fluidly. These interlocking designs often reflect patterns seen in nature, and add a touch of high-tech chic to any outfit.

mixee labs the best 3d printed bags

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
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