Levi’s® Tests 3D Printing Technology

Levi Strauss & Co.
July 31, 2017

Over 50 years ago, the classic Levi’s® Trucker jacket was introduced. But we are not one to rest on past accomplishments.

Now, the brand is turning to futuristic modes of innovation in manufacturing, pioneering a new approach in denim design.

Fast Company joined Levi’s® Head of Global Product Innovation, Paul Dillinger, at the Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco to witness how Levi’s® has been experimenting with 3D printing, creating digital renderings of the denim jacket which is essentially a shell of what the “real” thing could look like.

Paul is spearheading the project and is enthusiastic about the brand’s newfound ability to “capture the real essence of a pair of Levi’s and convert it into digital collateral.”  In doing so, the brand hopes to cut back on both material and manufacturing costs.

It’s important to emphasize that 3D printing won’t create an entirely functional jacket – all of the fine details seen on the “printed” denim are actually only impressions.  But, this semi-duplicate product still proves meaningful for Levi’s®.

“Everything that we recognize from this garment is captured in a topography scan,” explains Paul.

So, what does that mean for the Levi’s® brand?

“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.

However, that doesn’t mean that a 3D printed jacket will go directly to store shelves.  To Paul, delving into digital rendering will instead help to elevate the brand in more long-term and forward-thinking ways.

Watch the video feature courtesy of Fast Company here.