Aug 6, 2017 | By Julia

Levi’s denim company is sharply redefining its “tried and true” branding, with a new turn towards 3D printing technology. Back in February, the classic denim company made headlines with a spotlight in Fast Company: sustainability was the company’s new philosophy, though this was not without its challenges. Revitalizing production is not an easy feat for the producers of a garment that’s remained essentially unchanged for 150 years.

Now, the popular denim brand is keen to show that it’s still taking this commitment seriously, with a new interest in 3D printing. Levi’s Head of Global Product Innovation Paul Dillinger recently paid a visit to the Autodesk Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco, giving Fast Company another look into the brand’s progress.

So far, Levi’s has been focused primarily on experimenting with digital renderings, and exploring what a 3D printed denim jacket would actually look like. It’s only a “shell” of the real thing for now, but one that holds promise in Dillinger’s eyes.  

The Head of Global Product Innovation, who’s spearheading the innovative project, is enthusiastic about the classic brand’s growing ability to “capture the real essence of a pair of Levi’s and convert it into digital collateral.” By doing so, Dillinger is confident that the brand could cut back exponentially on both material and manufacturing costs. It’s an established benefit of additive manufacturing technology, but one that most clothing producers have been reluctant to accept.

Of course, Levi’s is still a long way off from 3D printing a functional denim jacket. All of the fine details included on Dillinger’s printed denim remain only impressions for the time being. “Everything that we recognize from this garment is captured in a topography scan,” explains Dillinger. But this pre-prototype is certainly a move in the right direction.

More importantly, it’s a solid attempt by the brand to think outside the box, and conceptualize their newfound philosophy of sustainability. “It challenges us, and our design team, to think about design differently, and to think about design strategies to accommodate an uncertain future,” Paul told Fast Company.

Dillinger is quick to note that a 3D printed Levi’s jacket likely won’t hit retail outlets directly. Rather, the digital rendering project will be put to use for elevating the brand towards more long-term, forward-looking thinking. Progress may be slow, but for a company boasting over 150 years in the denim business, time is on their side.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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