For our first jewelry collection, we collaborated with 3D Printing marketplace Shapeways to create a fluid and organic line of six pieces that mold to your body like armor. After debuting the Fall 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week, we spoke to Shapeways Designer Evangelist Duann Scott about 3D printing and its role in the future of fashion.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do?
I am the Designer Evangelist at Shapeways, which means I find the most interesting uses of 3D printing within the Shapeways community and help them to tell their stories, whether they be commercial, educational or cultural products. I also help people understand the potential of 3D printing, and how they can incorporate it into their work, life or hobbies. My background is in bespoke Industrial Design having worked on projects as small as jewelry up to large-scale sculptural works as well as dabbling in academic research around democratizing digital fabrication.
How does 3D Printing work?
3D printing is a phrase we use for a number of technologies that fabricate a solid object layer by layer. A 3D object is designed using software, that 3D object is then converted into a file that the 3D printer can convert into a solid object. The powerful thing about 3D printing is that complexity is free, and there fore customization is free. So it does not cost any more to make a unique object as a mass-produced object.
How does Shapeways transform ideas into reality?
Shapeways makes it easy for anyone to access professional digital fabrication tools so they can make any thing they want in high quality materials. It also means that designers can then sell their products with no financial risk, because all items are 3D printed on demand.
Why do you think 3D printing is so revolutionary, specifically for the fashion industry?
3D printing is ideally suited to the fashion industry as it is perfect for fast iterations and custom forms. You can make an item exactly fit one person and there is no additional cost for that customization. Also with 3D printing, everything can be fabricated on demand, there is no minimum order run and supply exactly meets demand. If you have an order for 6 of an item, print 6; if you have an order for 6,000 then you print 6,000. There is no need for inventory, no excess stock, none of last years’ line you need to sell at a discount.
We’re into nature here at Kimberly Ovitz. How does 3D Printing impact the planet?
With 3D printing there is very little waste, as the excess powder used in a print run is recycled and used in the next print run. We can also print locally, so if a customer orders a piece of jewelry in Paris, we will print it in Europe and send it to them, if they order in New York, Shapeways will 3D print it in New York so there is less transport and smaller ecological footprint.
From a designer’s perspective, what do you think of the Kimberly Ovitz with Shapeways collection?
I think it is HOT!!! I was lucky enough to be in the factory when it was being printed to see all the women who run the machines getting really excited. It is inspiring to see a designer such as Kimberly be so quick to innovate and realize her aesthetic with 3D printing technology.
If you could design anything with Shapeways, what would you make?
I try to design everything I need to be 3D printed by Shapeways. From my cup that holds my first coffee of the day (designed and 3D printed in ceramics), to the Nylon 3D printed iPhone bike mount I use to navigate my way through Brooklyn and Manhattan. When my baby’s stroller broke I repaired it myself with a part I 3D printed in stainless steel and the ring I am about to give my wife for our anniversary I designed myself and 3D printed in sterling silver (shhh, don’t tell her).
Where do you see 3D printing five years from now?
If you asked me this five years ago I hoped, but did not think it would have come this far. We are at the start of a very important period in our culture when access to these incredibly powerful tools is available to anyone to make whatever they want, and not have to settle for a mass produced item that is almost what they want. As social media has revolutionized communication, 3D printing will revolutionize the world around us.