High fashion meets high tech

High fashion meets high tech
August 1, 2014 Fairina Cheng

Dita Von Teese and Victoria’s Secret take technology from geek to chic.

From homemade guns to created body parts, 3D printing and computer aided design have significantly expanded the realm of what is possible.

The rapidly growing technologies have infiltrated the world of fashion and show no sign of slowing down. We have started to see contemporary 3D modelled clothing and accessories hit runways and retailers all over the world.

Nothing quite embodies this fusion of style and technology as much as Dita Von Teese in her custom 3D printed gown. Debuted in New York last year, the dress was created from 3,000 individual components, formed into 17 fully articulated pieces and bejewelled with 13,000 Swarovski crystals. It was built on a computer specifically to fit the contours of the burlesque queen’s body.

Dita Von Teese shows off her 3D printed gown
Similarly, brands such as Continuum in San Francisco allow clothing to be made by and for the end user. Their D.dress is a customisable garment that anyone with a computer and an internet connection can design. They call it a “user-generated little black dress” and it puts the power to create straight into the hands of the everyday shopper.

Continuum D.dress

Even Victoria’s Secret has jumped on board. At a fashion show late last year, model Lindsay Ellingson flaunted an elaborate 3D printed snow angel corset on the catwalk.

Lindsay Ellingson in 3D printed lingerie for Victoria's Secret

Over here in Sydney, I’ve been pleased to make my very own contribution to the 3D printed jewellery offering. The Negative/Positive collection uses computer aided design to create distinctive forms that are virtually impossible to make by hand alone.

Negative/Positive 3D printed ring

Designs are brought to life on a 3D printer, cast in precious metals and meticulously hand finished. Where possible, a mould is made so pieces can be replicated without being having to be reprinted.

While seemingly precise, each design is the result of experimentation, guesswork and a sprinkling of luck.

Unlike ever before, 3D technologies have allowed designers to push the boundaries and create objects that are limited only by their imaginations. As technology advances, we can look forward to seeing the new and exciting ways that designers will blur the line between high tech and high fashion.

Shop the Negative/Positive 3D printed jewellery collection.

Comments (2)

  1. Kathleen O'Neill 9 years ago

    Fairina, I am not a fan of 3d generated / cad cam jewellery, but I believe that is because people are just making traditional jewellery…with a computer. Your piece is truly the most exciting and interesting example of this medium I’ve seen, which uses the technology to take us into a different realm of design language, and opens up new areas to explore in adornment and expression – I think people in the industry should take a leaf from your book and create things very far from tradition and use the technology to create exciting new designs. Well done, I have a bench crush on your pieces! Cheers, K.

    • Fairina Cheng 9 years ago

      Thank you Kathleen, that is so lovely to hear. Even more so when it comes from another jeweller! That’s exactly the kind of thing I think CAD is great for – making things that you couldn’t make by hand!

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