Monday, 18 Feb 2013 11:38 GMT

3D Print - A runway success?

As the fashion world descends on London this week, it is the exciting 3D printed creations that Kimberley Ovitz showcased at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) earlier in the month that could signal the commercial opportunities for the printing industry


As the fashion world descends on London this week, it is the exciting 3D printed creations that Kimberley Ovitz  showcased at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) earlier in the month that could signal the commercial opportunities for the printing industry.

Kimberley Ovitz developed a range of form-fitting jewellery for her AW13 collection and produced it with Shapeways   – a marketplace and community that offers access to 3D printing using over 30 different materials including metals, and ceramics. Her collection features the Coelom Bracelet, and Squama Ring, in stainless steel or flexible nylon, that spiral around the pointer finger and hand. There is also a Thana Earcuff and Spicules Earhook that doesn’t require any piercing. And at between £22 to $95 the prices are not hugely prohibitive.

Shapeways discussed 3D fashion with designers Michael Schmidt (creator of Lady Gaga’s bubble dress), Anna Sheffield, and Chris Habana as part of a one-day NYFW event. It also saw the designers and CAD experts help guests create their own 3D printed products, and culminated with the completion of a printed dress designed by Schmidt and Francis Bitonti.

Kimberley is not the first to see the potential for the technology. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s Paris Fashion Week collaboration in January featured a 3D printed skirt and cape created with artist, architect, designer, and professor Neri Oxman from MIT's Media Lab, printed by Stratasys. She also presented a dress designed in collaboration with Austrian architect Julia Koerner, currently lecturer at UCLA Los Angeles, and 3D printed by Materialise.

Interest in this area of design and production has escalated rapidly following the 3D Print Show in London last autumn. And if 3D printing is making its presence felt in one of the most cynical environments – fashion – what impact is it set to make in the commercial world of print?