You remember your grandmother had a collection of dolls that had intricate, classic and elegant patterns? What if those designs were clothing, and were laser cut designs?
Laser cutting was once reserved only for the most elegant designs. Only those who could afford haute couture designed clothing could experience the beauty of this type of clothing. However, as the customer demand for this technique began to grow, the technology became more available to clothing manufacturers. It is now common to see materials like leather and silk that have been laser cut. The fabrics are then ready to be designed into runway clothing.
So, when high end, runway clothing starts a trend, it is not too long after that these trends are made affordable to the average consumer. For example, you can now see these types of fashion in retail stores like ASOS, and it is highly likely that they are just the first of many retailers who will embrace this trend.
What is Laser Cutting?
Laser cutting is a type of manufacturing that uses a laser cutter to trim the materials. There are several advantages to this manufacturing method:
- Cleaner cuts
- Precision and accuracy
- Sealed edges on fabric
These are some of the advantages that have made it the ‘go-to’ method for clothing manufacturing.
Another advantage is that this method can be used on various types of materials including:
When the cuts are made, they do not place pressure on the fabric. So, the process to cut the materials requires nothing more than a laser for the garment to be trimmed and cut to specifications. Marks are not left on the garment, and this is an added benefit when handling delicate fabrics like lace and silk.
There have been several high end fashion designers who have used laser cutting to create beautiful and elegant spring and summer collection pieces. Georgina Chapman is known for flooding the runway with soft, intricate laser cut fabrics and patterns.
How Does Laser Cutting Work?
Laser cutting is a very technical process. There are a few different types of machines that are used for the process. They are:
- The Neodymium Laser (Nd)
- The CO2 Laser
- The Neodymium Yttrium laser (Nd-YAG)
Of all of these lasers, the CO2 cutter is the most preferred machine to use when dealing with fabrics. The CO2 uses a laser with high-energy that can cut wearable fabrics by vaporizing, burning or melting them.
In order for the cut to be precise, the laser must travel through a device shaped like a tube. While traveling through the tube, the laser is reflected by a few mirrors. Eventually, the laser beam approaches the focal lens, and the focal lens directs the beam to a particular area on the material. This area is where the cut will occur. The operator can make adjustments to the material that the laser cuts.
Why Should a Consumer Care?
Fashionist as appreciate the fine details and accurate cuts that are made in the clothing they wear. The laser allows cuts to the fabric to be extremely accurate, and the laser never touches the fabric. This means that garments leave the manufacturer without being damaged or tainted.
This process offers the type of precision that could only be compared to hand crafted designed. However, the laser can create this accuracy at a much faster rate. It is also more cost effective and practical for designers and manufacturers. The savings in production costs can be passed down to you, the consumer.
There is also the theory that manufacturers and designers who choose this option have a reduced option of having their designs copied by someone else. Why is this so? Designs of an intricate nature are more difficult to replicate with 100% accuracy. Those who choose to copy these designs have the ability to copy the original pattern, but they will have more trouble trying to create identical cuts in their fashion creations.
It was not that long ago that technology was not as available in as many industries as today. A few decades ago, the only way you would be able to purchase a laser-cut dress or blouse was to pay a lot of money.
Fast forward to today, and you can purchase a laser-cut leather vest for around $100. A faux leather garment will cost even less.
What this means is that the argument against laser cutting manufacturing is not persuasive enough. If you want detailed and beautiful clothing, you should consider laser cut garments. It is the way of the future, and will stay in demand because of their affordable prices.