Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: How Supermodel Lindsay Ellingson Used 3-D Printing to Shock Viewers

L Brands'  (NYSE: LB  ) Victoria's Secret pushed the boundaries of fashion last week during its hotly anticipated annual fashion show. The finale featured a one-of-a-kind snowflake ensemble worn by supermodel Lindsay Ellingson that was 3-D printed and dusted with Swarovski crystals.

Lindsay Ellingson sporting her 3-D printed snow angel wings. Source: Victoria's Secret.

Ellingson's wings, corset, and headpiece were made from a 3-D printing process called selective laser sintering, or SLS. SLS is an additive manufacturing process, which means that it creates an object layer by layer by using a finely tuned laser to selectively melt a bed of extremely fine powder, which bonds to the previous layer; after a few thousand repetitions, the object is formed. SLS is known for its level of detail and strength over other 3-D printing technologies. In this instance, the material chosen was nylon, and although it looks extremely delicate, it's surprisingly durable and light weight.

Behind the scenes, Shapeways, the 3-D printing service provider hired by Victoria's Secret, used an SLS 3-D printer made by EOS, a privately held German-based company that's well regarded in the industry. The American SLS equivalent, 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD  ) , recently released a new line of equally capable SLS printers at EuroMold 2013, which should improve its competitive positioning in the marketplace.

A custom fit
When 3-D scanning is incorporated into the mix, 3-D printing can be a great solution for custom-tailored applications, whether it's in fashion, jewelry, prosthetics, orthotics, or anything else that could benefit from a custom-tailored fit. To ensure Ellingson's one-of-a-kind 3-D printed costume would be as form-fitting as possible, the design process incorporated a 3-D scanned image of her body. Ultimately, this process could pave the way for 3-D printing to usher in a future where one-size-fits-all is no longer the status quo.

Sparking a movement
With 3D Systems' $399 Sense 3-D scanner, the maker community holds the power to affordably push the boundaries of 3-D printing in custom-tailored applications. In fact, anyone can upload their customized designs to Shapeways and use the same SLS 3-D printing process that Victoria's Secret employed. Since the widespread proliferation of this technology has only just begun, it's likely we're only in the early stages of possibilities here. There's really no telling where the maker community will take this.

More possibilities
Given the additive nature of 3-D printing, one of its greatest advantages over conventional manufacturing is that it can make complicated objects that would otherwise be extremely difficult to create. This invites a higher level of creative freedom into the design process, which of course makes it a natural fit for high-fashion applications. Although you won't see your favorite garments 3-D printed anytime soon, Victoria's Secret's use of the technology has certainly inspired imaginations, which could one day lead to 3-D printing playing a bigger role in fashion. After all, what designer wouldn't want to integrate a technology that could easily adapt to the always-changing seasonality of fashion?

Despite being around since 1986 in industrial settings, 3-D printing is still new to many people. The widespread proliferation of 3-D printing is changing the way the world views and approaches the technologies' possibilities. From an investment perspective, it likely means there's still plenty of runway left for 3-D printing to spread its wings and fly.

How America dominates the future of manufacturing
For the first time since the early days of this country, we're in a position to dominate the global manufacturing landscape thanks to a single, revolutionary technology: 3-D printing. Although this sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, the success of 3-D printing is already a foregone conclusion to many manufacturers around the world. The trick now is to identify the companies -- and thereby the stocks -- that will prevail in the battle for market share. To see the three companies that are currently positioned to do so, simply download our invaluable free report on the topic by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2764470, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/28/2016 5:04:37 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 7 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,228.30 133.47 0.74%
S&P 500 2,159.93 13.83 0.64%
NASD 5,305.71 48.22 0.92%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/27/2016 4:01 PM
DDD $17.14 Up +0.28 +1.66%
3D Systems CAPS Rating: ****
LB $73.04 Down -0.29 -0.40%
L Brands CAPS Rating: ****