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3D Printing in Fashion - What Will You Wear Tomorrow?

September 4th, 2013


3D Printing in Fashion - What Will You Wear Tomorrow?

Please Note: This text is balanced for women, but may also catch the interest of men.

The following story may be painfully familiar to women, but... Imagine, you are invited to some kind of celebration: the wedding, baptizing, birthday party or there is a prom night right around the corner. So, you will spend an incredible amount of time (I mean it) to find the right outfit (I’m not sure, how long men spend choosing their best suit) and, perhaps, you will come up with the best choice. You think you are done with this, but not really.

So, you come to the celebration place and suddenly like the thunder out of the blue she passes by. Women probably know what the next sentence will be about. Yes. Yes. Yes, there is another woman, wearing the same dress as yours. You promise yourself never to go to parties or at least THAT shop again. Usually, these situations are taken easily. At least by people who have a healthy sense of humor. Others, indeed, may cry their hearts out.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that each and every person, who walks on the Earth, wants to feel unique and to be unique. Fashion is the niche powered by eccentrics and ego-maniacs, creating the craziest designs, therefore the uniqueness steps into the market. If myriads of expensive clothes shops, second-hand markets and friend’s, mother’s or grandmother’s wardrobes do not help, you have an extraordinary choice ahead: 3D printed fashion.

You may make jokes about 3D printed bras, but, dudes, there is nothing funny about them. There already are such ones. Step by step 3D printing enters the fashion industry, transforming the concept of what we consider to be wearable clothes at all. It also brings a strong wind of changes, becoming a magnificent tool to stand out from the crowd and achieve the dreamed originality.

I have a fashion show scheduled for the next weekend. I am totally bored with the shopping. So, I have decided to put only 3D printed stuff on me. Let's open the doors of digital wardrobe. Guess, will I succeed to beat the understanding of what it means to be uniquely dressed?

Mind Your Underwear

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Meet the world's first ready-to-wear fully 3D printed item of clothing designed by Continuum Fashion. Bikini is named N12 for the material it is made out of: Nylon 12. This material is treated to be highly functional, because it is waterproof and remarkably comfortable when wet. All the 3D printed pieces are snapped together without any sewing.

Moreover, you may choose in different sizes and colors. It is stunning. Perhaps, I am not brave enough to wear it even at the weirdest pool party and enjoy the water without a doubt that this piece of art will get wet and just sink to the total bottom of my reputation. Nevertheless, it is the only possibility to mind my underwear, so I jump in and promise myself to avoid swimming.

N12.bikini - Intro Video from Continuum Fashion on Vimeo

Turbo Unique Dresses or Are You Brave Enough?

So, let’s start with a dress. They may be long or short, black or red, clumsy or light as summer breeze, but all of them are more or less wearable. I am not sure if I could honestly admit that these 3D creatures made by a highly talented designer Iris Van Herpen are also clothes. The more of them I discovered, the bigger my eyes got. You have to be crazily brave or out of your mind to wear them. But I definitely choose one of these creatures. Oh, I mean dresses.

Iris is extraordinarily passionate about the idea to produce 3D printed clothes, because the process allows her to come up with the most unbelievable shapes. Iris Van Herpen has already become the icon of 3D printed fashion in the industry. Actually, it is her unrepeatable style that takes the breath even of the fashion giants away.

Iris experiments combining the fine handwork techniques with futuristic digital technology in her work. So, dresses may turn into diving suits or open space outfits and even the costumes of the best sci-fi movies can hardly be compared to these masterpieces. Iris' combination is shocking, outstanding and memorable, isn’t it? It surely grabbed your attention.

Take a look at her collection showcase.

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This is how the wardrobe turns into a modern art museum or a masquerade. Shapes of the human skeleton, forms of Octopus limbs, abstract concepts and modern minimalism - everything goes. Have you ever dressed yourself like this before? No? What about the Halloween celebration or school carnival? Still, no?

In fact there is a woman who is not afraid to be too extraordinary: burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese. She was the first female to wear 3D printed dress, designed by the giant of 3D printing Shapeways. It was made (or built?) using selective laser sintering (SLS), where material is built up in layers from plastic powder fused together with a laser.

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This dress was decorated with 12,000 Swarovski crystals and gave everyone the shiver: strangers, designers, journalists and fashion-amateurs were astonished. Can we announce it as the start of new era of fashion? We will see soon, but I hope so.

3D Printed Purse Will Convince You To Leave Half of Your Life At Home

There is the unsolvable conflict between women and their bags. The smaller they are, the more stuff you need to put inside. Moreover, bags and purses reveal the wisdom of femininity. Really? What's about these tiny 3D printed purses? I bet they will convince us to leave half of our lives at home and not to stress thinking about all the 'what ifs...' on the Earth.

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This one is Zip Top Bag. Yes, it is a bag: fast printable and delicately designed. It is really light and has a zip top closure. The purse may also serve as a pencil case. And you can download it from Thingiverse. Amazing. Hm... I wonder is it better for the school or for the party? So, no - it's not my pick for the upcoming celebration.

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This cozy vintage bag would perfectly suit my taste. Italian designer Pasquale Bonfilio created the first 3D printed flexible purse from rubber-like material. It was colored in black and mainly covers the shell of the bag. The purse also includes some metal parts. By the way, it costs 595 euro. Nevertheless, I like it even if there is not enough space for my life inside.

What Does It Mean To Be The Cinderella of XXI Century

To reach any kind of party, we definitely need shoes. But going barefoot would be treated as the act of originality, also. So, meet not a bit less marvelous - 3D printed shoes! If 3D printed dresses do not shock you enough, I believe the unimaginable 3D printed high-heels will do it.

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How is it possible to stand on them?” - it was the first thought that bumped into my head. There is something special about the shoes, because even the poorest kids on the streets of New Delhi may walk naked, but not so often you can meet them barefoot. So, to call these monster-like 3D printed items - shoes - would be a little bit insulting.

But 3D printed Exoskeleton shoes created by the designer Janina Alleyne actually are not meant for walking. Moreover, three models in the collection have the appropriate names: The Exoskeleton, The Reptile and The Scorpion. In my opinion, these nature-inspired and futuristic items certainly must be treated as the important piece of art and are completely worth to stand in the museum.

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According to the statistics, the average number of shoes, kept in a wardrobe by women amount to 27 pairs and, by the way, almost a half (43%) of women has a passion for killer-shoes. As I am used to say - love leads to pain. So, would you mind to have one of those marvelous pairs in your wardrobe? Anyway, women must take care, because the goal to be extremely unique and attractive after exchanging trainers into these high-class must-have ones may cause the increase of the percentage of injuries made by shoes.

P.S. I so am glad that Cinderella was not wearing such high heels at the ball, because I am pretty sure that she would have woke up in the hospital, after a race to her half-couch-half-pumpkin vehicle and, who knows, we may have had more sad ending than: ”...and they lived happy ever after”.

Open The Chest of Treasure: What's So Special About 3D Printed Jewelry

Every woman knows that original jewelry asks for the superb creative budget. But the fact is that all of them wish to look gorgeous, exclusive and save bit money at the same time. Some, who have golden hands, move to modeling their own bracelets or brooches. But Toronto-based Hot Pop Company seemingly has found a way to help the others. Hot Pop was established by two architecture graduates who had a vision to produce affordable and unique jewelry. You may ask, what's so stunning about it. Okay, they 3D print wood, using a composite material consisting of recycled cherry wood and polymer. For me it sounds incredible: wood can be produced without cutting down trees and unusual shapes and forms of jewelry are available!

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By the way, it is said that originality has no limits and borders. In my opinion, Dorry Hsu, student at Royal College of Arts has completely proved that. Her collection called "The Aesthetic of Fears" was inspired by... Guess what? It's not an easy question to answer, so I will help you. Dorry was inspired by her own fear of insects that have lots of legs. Those accessories were made using stereolithography (SLA) before attaching latex straps. And then colored by dipping each piece into the handmade boiling dye.

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She said: "my collection is about the aesthetic and the attraction of fears. I am interested in the concept of masks. In many cultures, people wear masks to scare the evil away, so the masks are decorated with the frightening images from the wearer’s fears." This unusual perspective has brought her an award of one of ten finalists in the International Talent Support Awards last month. It is said that the best way to cope with your biggest fears is to confront them. Face to face. I should say that insects with millions of legs also make me scared, but I would spruce myself with these scary masterpieces for the party. Would you?

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So, as you can see everything is possible. Put all these museum-worth items and you and jump straight into the party. Will you receive a moment of jealous silence? Yes, indeed, Miss originality! Yes. Yes. Yes. Of course, skeptics and critics, who as a species is widely spread on Earth, will judge saying that 3D printed stuff is not comfortable and because of extravagancy it becomes not wearable at all.

Actually, these items of fashion are not yet suitable to wear every day. On the other hand, the very first 3D printed examples of clothing items work as the impulse for the other designers to move forward and step into the new stage of fashion.

Funny, but "What to wear today?" is the eternal question, having no right answer as - "To be or not to be?" raised by Hamlet a few hundred years ago. All in all, it is obvious that 3D printed clothes, shoes, jewelry and any other things will have their true fans and utter haters. Furthermore, having haters is blissful as it shows that fashion does not leave people indifferent, does it?

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