"Keeping Up With the Kardashians" premiered last Sunday and featured a rare appearance by rapper/husband of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West. Kanye accompanied Kim and Khloe on their trip to Armenia, giving a performance and visiting a local arts school. While touring the building, Kanye was shown a 3D printer, to which he expressed some concern.
"This is what I'm afraid of, right here," he said pointing to the printer. "Because the internet destroyed the music industry. And now this is what we're afraid of right now with the textile industry."
The woman showing him around tried to reassure him saying, "Still, you have to design. It doesn't do it by itself," but he still wasn't convinced.
"Yeah, but I'm saying there will come a time where it's like, people are making their shoes at home."
While it's easy to follow Kanye's logic, it still seems drastic to say that 3D printing will wipe out the entire textile industry. Professor Donna Avery, a textile and fashion industry specialist at Parsons in New York, spoke to MTV News about the accuracy of Kanye's idea.
"It is not as easy as making the assumption that just because a new and popular technology is introduced, that the mass majority of the public will immediately adopt that product," she wrote.
The idea that 3D printers could destroy the textile industry is excluding a lot of factors. As Professor Avery notes, it's not as simple as just having a 3D printer in your home.
"Now anybody can have access to the purchase of a 3D printer, does the price fit your budget? Do consumers want to make their own clothes? Do you need to know how to sew? If so, you may need to buy a sewing machine. If you make a pair of shoes, are they comfortable? Of what is your fabric made?" she explains. "The man-made fibers industry has now stared technological industry modifications in the face. It is not going to take all of the advances in 3D (and cellular) printing lying down. Too much money has been spent making products last longer, perform stronger, conform to consumer expectations, and so on."
3D printing is a fairly new concept and the fashion and textile industries have been around for a long time -- long enough to know how to do business well and quickly. For 3D printing to completely take them over, it would take a lot of work, strategy, and frankly, a lot of time. Basically, Kanye's worrying about something that isn't a problem and shouldn't be for a long, long time, if ever.