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Fashion and Tech: When Two Worlds Collide to Create 3-D Perfection

Fashion and Tech: When Two Worlds Collide to Create 3-D Perfection

Fashion and technology were meant to be together.  At first it was tough for one to embrace the other, but fashion has finally agreed to accept technology as an ally.  When Google Glass walked the Diane von Furstenberg runway last year, we got a small hint of a relationship that was blossoming from one brand to the next.

As the two worlds continue to mingle, designers are not only embracing emerging digital technology, they are using it to push the envelope and expand their offering.  From Kimberly Ovitz, who utilized 3-D printing in her jewelry designs, to Iris van Herpen who has always incorporated technology in her couture collections, designers are stepping further out of the box and experimenting with new ways to showcase their work.

Kimberly Ovitz’s debut jewelry collection was created in partnership with Shapeways, a 3-D printing marketplace and community that allows users to make, share, and sell their designs.

Using Shapeways, Ovitz was able to create 3-D printed pieces from structured, lightweight nylon.  The line includes a collar, ear cuffs, rings, and bracelets – each produced on white nylon and then dyed the desired color.  The process allows designers as well as any Shapeways member to use the technology to digitally manipulate materials in a way that is not possible two-dimensionally. Another benefit of using this method is the quick turnaround time of two to three weeks.

Ovitz will debut the collection during her runway show at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 7.  The prices for the 3-D pieces will range from  $50 to $150.  Check out a few pieces from the collection inspired by animals and insects in regards to their colors and varying exoskeletons:

Iris van Herpen can’t help but let her architectural background shine through her designs.  Couple that with her couture collections and you’ve got one of fashion’s most technologically savvy designers showing at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.

For her spring 2013 show, titled ‘Voltage,’ van Herpen produced 11 garments using 3-D printing and laser sintering. One design was created in collaboration with Neri Oxman, an MIT Media Lab professor using Stratasys, a 3-D printing company.  To create the outfit, an Object Connex printer was used to incorporate different materials into the final design using only one model versus multiple models.


Another collaboration involved Austrian architect Julia Koerner and Belgian company Materialise.  Together they used laser sintering, a fabrication technique that uses lasers to fuse together particles of plastic or resin, to create a dangerously, stunning black cocktail dress.

Van Herpen continues to go beyond the expected scope of being a fashion designer by experimenting with new technologies and teaming with innovative minds from different industries.

Watch Iris van Herpen’s ‘Voltage’ below: