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3D-knitting Has Unlimited Potential

WHOLEGARMENT machines 3D-knit to shape... the possibilities are endless!
March 16, 2022
By Oliver Charles

Why Oliver Charles 3D-Knits Sweaters

Introducing a 4-part blog series about 3D-knitting.

While 3D-knitting remains more expensive than cut-and-sew and other forms of high volume manufacturing, we strongly believe it’s worth it.


What Can You Make With 3D-knitting?

When we learned that each stitch within a 3D-knit design could be analysed/edited to create complex patterns, we knew we needed to utilize this feature in some way.

We eventually tested adding targeted ventilation by switching to an aerated knit in the armpit area.

Today this is one of our customers’ favorite features because it's a warm sweater and a highly breathable sweater. 

3D-Knitting vs. 3D-Printing

The best comparison for 3D-knitting is 3D-printing.

In case you’re new to 3D-printing, it’s the process of creating three dimensional solid objects by layering/bonding materials on top of one another repeatedly.

3D-printing doesn’t require molds or welding. Instead the process produces finished objects as a whole piece.

Check out the image below for an example. Similar to 3D-printing, 3D-knitting creates finished knitwear as 1 whole garment.

Just like how 3D-printing doesn’t require molds or welding pieces together, 3D-knitwear doesn’t require seams or sewing parts together… such as sewing sleeves to armholes or collars to neck holes.

OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition

3D-Knitting Removes Inventory Waste

In the 3D-Knitting In An Inventory-Less World, we explored how 96 billion lbs of excess clothing are disposed of every year before ever reaching a home.

There are a few reasons for this imbalance between what people want and what's produced.

One compelling reason is that companies aren’t spending enough time and money on testing new styles and fits before placing large inventory orders.

With WHOLEGARMENT® knitting machines you can come up with a simple or complex design and quickly knit a sample from a single machine with minimal touchpoints.

The streamlined nature of 3D-knitting helps companies quickly prototype and test clothes out with their community.

We’ve been doing this since our launch with our Customer Advisory Board and with the 1-Week Challenge. We strongly believe in owning less and owning better.

In order to create comfy sweaters that people not only want to wear but wear all the time, we constantly send versions of our khullu sweater to community members to test before we knit at a larger scale.

Similar to 3D-printing, 3D-knitting offers an array of possibilities in what we can create.

By combining digital design with advanced knitting technology, people have created everything from astronaut clothing to desk chairs to wearable sensor technology. 

OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition

3D-Knit Clothes

3D-knitting has given us the opportunity to create a more comfortable, unique modern sweater ideal for daily wear.

Another use of 3D-knitting is commonly for making running shoes. Large brands such as Additas have used 3D-knitting to create parts of their UltraBoost shoe.

3D-knitting is an ideal tool for running shoes because WHOLEGARMENT® is known for its ability to create lightweight knits, which of course allows for any average joe to run like Usain Bolt.

OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition

3D-Knit Sweaters In Space

3D-knitwear is among the few items that have traveled beyond the Earth's atmosphere and into space. Yep, that’s right, outer space!

3D-knitwear has been worn by astronauts because of the comfort, fit, and mobility benefits of seamless clothes, and also because of the sensor capabilities of WHOLEGARMENT® knits…maybe one day NASA will launch our sweaters into space 🚀.  

OLIVER CHARLES - Blog #Repeat - Style, Sustainability, Unique Innovative Materials, Sizing, Enclothed Cognition

3D-Knitting In Healthcare 

3D-knitting also has use-cases in healthcare. Designers have complete control over the seamless knits created on WHOLEGARMENT® machines. With this, knitwear can be adaptive to a person's body providing particle compression and unique shaping.

Also, 3D-knitting can make a big splash within prosthetic manufacturing. After all carbon fiber prosthetics start as carbon fibers knit together.

Before being stiffened with resin, WHOLEGARMENT® machines are the ideal tool to wield when knitting carbon fiber to specific, complex 3D shapes. 3D-knitting is an advancement that will be increasingly used in personalized healthcare.

Knitting 3D Wearables 

Within healthcare, 3D-knitting is already making a difference. 3D-knitting is capable of knitting conducive yarn, allowing for finished garments to be “smart”. By knitting sensors into conductive patches, clothes can change temperature, identify moments of stress, and even improve balance.

The world is becoming increasingly data driven. With data on our health, we can make preventative adjustments to improve our well being and quality of life. 

3D-Knitted Home Decor & Artwork 

Beyond clothing, designers have been experimenting with 3D-knitting by creating furniture and even artwork. IKEA launched a 3D-knit version of an office chair, a textile designer created 3D-knit space dividers, and an artist in Mexico City used 3D-knitting as a structure to build a sculpture around.

Similar to us creators in all disciplines are finding 3D-knitting to be a superior method for producing modern, lightweight, complex, and versatile designs. We’re excited to see 3D-knitting become the gold standard for apparel production and expand into new, exciting industries!
If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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