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By Diane Small
You’d think there could be nothing more different than the delicate, handcrafted art of French couture and the high technology used for 3D printing, but one designer has merged the two quite elegantly. Since 2014, jeweller Diana Law has been creating zero waste accessories and jewellery using… a 3D printer.
Her background in French couture at the Paris American Academy gave her an eye for detail, which she translates into 3D printed earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets, headpieces and handbags all made with the finest materials and printing techniques in The Netherlands. Her collections explore 3D dimensions through geometric lines and intricate forms uniting technology and style with each collection.
The process begins with hand sketches that are realized into rendering formats with the help of a 3-D designer. The files are then uploaded to the manufacturer overseas for printing, and the accessories are then sent directly to Law’s workshop for fine finishing. It sounds complicated, but the designer states that with the Internet, she’s able to access the whole design and production chain from anywhere in the world, in a matter of seconds.
In fact, Law couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the creative possibilities behind 3D printing: she see it as completely changing and simplifying the way the supply chain works: innovative pieces that previously seemed impossible or too costly to be produced by traditional methods can now be created; 3D printing, she says, “has opened me to a new vision of “limitless” designs.”
These designs couldn’t come at a better moment – lately, there’s been an increasing sense of disappointment and frustration amongst fashion consumers, even leading some journalists to declare that ‘fashion is dead.’ Fast fashion has made it possible for catwalk designs to come out of factories at ever-increasing rates, leading to a sense of diminished individualism and lower quality, even for luxury brands, who now struggle to keep with the pace of fast fashion brands.
Yet, as Law told Eclectic magazine, “Individualism is ever growing and will continue to be of great importance…3D printing is as far as you can get from mass production. It is about the uniqueness of each individual piece being created as well as the whole experience with this state-of-the-art technology.”
But won’t fast fashion brands adopt this technology to quickly mass produce accessories, especially as it becomes cheaper? Law thinks not: “It is not just about the item anymore, it is about a new vision, a concept into the future. I believe fast fashion will level off at some point, as consumers will once again search for the quality and rarity they once knew.”
Personally, I’m not so sure. It seems despite any gains in the sustainability movement, there’s always demand for fast fashion, even if it means shifting that demand to emerging economies, for example, But one thing’s for sure: even if it does become ubiquitous one day, 3D printing’s zero waste potential can only be a step forward for the fashion industry.