Day 7 of Corra's NY Fashion Week Coverage: 3D Printing Technology Set to Shake Up the Style Scene
Imagine it. The PERFECT dress (or suit or shoes). Not just the precise style and color you’ve been dreaming of but an impeccable fit. Straight off the rack. No tailoring required. 3D printing is finally poised to deliver exactly that.
Image via Paper
3D technology isn’t new to the fashion scene. Since 2000, it’s been making an appearance here and there: the first-ever 3D printed dress by Freedom of Creation at the start of the millennium; various surreal designs by Iris van Herpen in collaboration with Daniel Widrig in 2010 and 2011; Dita Von Teese in a phenomenal dress crafted by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti in March 2013; and Catherine Wales’ accessories collection, Project DNA, which opened at the London Design Museum this past July.
Image via de zeen Magazine
Extraordinary confections made from powdered nylon with a finished consistency of stiff, solid plastic and a rough, uncomfortable texture. More modern industrial art than modern style. Drop-dead gorgeous, edgy, outrageous…but not exactly wearable and not likely to become popular with consumers.
And then there was New York Fashion Week. Last week multidisciplinary designer Francis Bitonti debuted the Verlan Dress–a 3D printed ensemble made with an entirely new raw material – MakerBot Flexible Filament.
Image via Shoppingblog.com
MakerBot (an industry leader in desktop 3D printing technology, recently acquired by Stratasys) collaborated with Bitonti’s New Skins: Computational Design for Fashion workshop to produce the dress. Soft, pliable and smooth, MakerBot Flexible Filament is biodegradable, non-toxic and can be reshaped and re-purposed – absolutely ideal for custom printing perfect, form-fitting garments.
But it was the Threeasfour show that really knocked our socks off. Combining laser cut fabrics and 3D printed textiles, the design collective joined forces with architect Bradley Rothenberg to create stunning and very wearable outfits.
Image via Style.com
Prior to the Verlan Dress and the Threeasfour collection, 3D printed fashions were clearly a product of design serving technology. #NYFW showcased the fact that 3D printing technology is finally evolving to service the skills of talented designers instead.
All of that innovation and inspired design might just be irrelevant however if the 3D printing industry wasn’t about to experience a significant shake up. Although primitive, consumer-facing, fused deposition modeling printers have been available for several years, the significantly more advanced (and much faster) laser sintering technology has not. But in February 2014 key patents that have been holding back open market competition for production of laser sintering 3D printers will expire. The likely result? An explosion of affordable, accessible devices. Combine that with the advances in design and raw materials on display last week in New York, and a whole new world of multichannel, fashion ecommerce is about to open up.
In the meantime, don’t forget the accessories. With ecommerce sites such as Shapeways already offering 3D printed accessories and jewelry; and Protos Eyewear creating perfectly fitted, custom eyeglass frames, online shoppers don’t have to wait until 2014 to start rocking 3D printed style.
Image via Shapeways.com
Corra is a digital agency creating transformative commerce experiences for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. With headquarters in New York, Los Angeles and London, Corra provides strategically led creative and technology solutions to a growing global market.