Team Shapeways or Team MakerBot? Turns out it doesn’t matter. During 2013, we witnessed the debut of more 3D printed fashion than ever. With the process poised to make a mainstream entry into the industry in 2014, let’s take a pass at its most fashionable moments of the past year:
1. 3D printing makes the cut on Project Runway: Once it’s on reality television, it’s in the zeitgeist. This past fall, season 12 contestant Justin LeBlanc’s 3D printed belts and accessories impressed Tim Gunn so much he made it to the finals. Of course, we heard from Tim Gunn himself that 3D printing was on its way to Project Runway this year…
Image courtesy of Lindsay Ellingson.
2. Lindsay Ellingson’s 3D-printed angel wings: The Victoria’s Secret show that aired this month was pretty typical in all ways but one — model Lindsay Ellingson sported 3D printed wings (instead of the usual fluffy feathered affair) in one of her turns down the runway. The wearable snowflake replicas were made in conjunction with the company Shapeways.
3. Plukka’s 3D printed fine jewelry line: The online jewelry start-up partnered with New York-based label Asher Athan to turn out what seems to be the first-ever 3D printed fine jewelry collection. The 25 piece line debuted this month.
4. MakerBot’s 3D-printable fabric: What’s 3D printed fashion without the fabric to create it? MakerBot solved that problem this year with the launch of the first widely commercially available printable fabric, Flexible Filament.
5. More on the way: According to industry experts, 3D printers are on track to become household commodities by 2017, with ten times as many expected to ship between then and now. Should pave the way for fledgling designers (without the backing of, say, Project Runway) to innovate using the technology. Here’s to new, weird fashion we can’t even dream of yet.