- US News
- International News
- Science and Tech
- Featured Columns
Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
Over the last decade, human imagination empowered with technology advancements has produced innovations that have changed our world forever. It is a bizarre marriage of misfits, from transparent privacy and personalized mass production to democratized exclusivity. How to map out the seemingly safe heavens of luxury brands of haute couture and fashion industry within this context? After all, they have survived for centuries by celebrating elitism, provoking desires and selling dreams.
However, at our information age, desires and dreams are no longer tightly constructed but are crowd sourced and mass produced. Taste leaders are democratically elected by un-tasteful masses. Where does this leave the industry? Should walls of exclusivity be elevated further with a window to an even more unattainable lifestyle of a selected few? But these are the very concepts that the new technology has made irrelevant. If we have learned one lesson from the last decade, it was “resisting technology is fatal, to win we must lead”. Then the question fashion industry should be engaged with is how to lead the technology advancements.
At the forefront of applicable technology sits the possibilities opened up by 3D printing. It is already capable of manufacturing various products, from human organs to machine parts. Currently, manufacturing incorporates metals, plastics, wood and nylon, but the medical field is pushing boundaries for bio printing fast forward. If the human cell can be printed, then other natural fibers such as silk and cotton will follow soon. The future of 3D print textile is around the corner and it is disruptive.
3D printing has already debuted at the haute couture. Iris Van Herpen’s skeleton dress and the angel wings were shown at the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Catherine Wales, a designer trained in classic garment cutting at Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro, has exhibited a collection of masks, corsets and helmets at the Arnhem Mode Biennale in the Netherlands. Designers Francis Bitonti and Michael Schmidt collaborated with Shapeways to produce a 3D-printed gown modeled by Dita Von Teese last February. It is true that these are artful experiments and not wearable, but they clearly demonstrate the 3D printing’s ability to offer quality craft that is fundamental to haute couture.
While haute couture is taking its time with the technology, young designers and fashion entrepreneurs are moving forward fast. New York-based Shapeways has begun selling 3D-printed objects, including jewelry. Continuum has created a 3D-printed bikini with plastic pieces that snap together. A San Francisco-based entrepreneur is currently experimenting with a printer that can create garments out of polymer fabrics. New Balance is introducing sneakers that use 3-D printing to create a plate on the sole of the shoe that is supposed to enhance performance with every step. They have good reasons to do so. The 3D printing offers them unparalleled opportunities by minimizing risks. It revolutionizes the production timetable and volume issues. That offers the option to manufacture exactly to the order, and the ability to design as many prototypes as intricately as they want with asmall budget.
3D technology is evolving, making printers cheaper, smaller, and more user friendly, and capable of printing a wider range of textiles. As the price goes down, its popularity is gaining momentum, not just within the industry but also by the general public. It enables us as individuals to tailor everything to suit our own specific body as well as our unique taste and desires. If the 90s offered us personal computers, and the last decade enabled us to publish and blog, this decade will enable us to design if we wish to. Considering that we all are consumers of cloths, and in view of our desire to self-expression, uniqueness and even more to be and be perceived as creative creatures, the future for 3D printing is even far more promising than the blog technology.
Dr. Pari Esfandiari – WorldNewsVine