By Arwa Lodhi
There’s little doubt that 3D printing technology has caused a disruption and revolutionary advancements in a number of fields and industries, from architecture and prosthetics to the fashion industry. A handful of designers, including Julia Daviy, who creates fully biodegradable 3D printed fashion, have been employing 3D printing technology to create tops, dresses, skirts, and more, all with an eye towards making the production of clothing more sustainable, more humane, and more accessible.
Born in Ukraine but currently based in the USA, Daviy is an ecologist and clean technology industry manager who saw the emergence of 3D printing as an opportunity to repair some of the pressing human and environmental costs of clothing production. She has so far designed a line of organically manufactured activewear called WILDZ, and and began experimenting with 3D printing in 2016. She estimates that there are currently less than around ten designers worldwide regularly using 3D printing technology for fashion applications, putting her at the cutting edge of a new wave of design and manufacturing.
Daviy’s bespoke pieces are delicate, feminine and functional, and she believes that the technology she’s using to create them will drastically change the way fashion is designed and produced, potentially even replacing traditional clothes manufacturing altogether. “Filament is not ready to replace fabric completely just yet”, she says, “but it’s only a matter of time. As it stands today, the technology is already good enough to create better clothes than certain materials, like leather. For example, I created a top and a skirt that look as if I used a laser to intricately cut them from a piece of leather, but it’s entirely flexible and biodegradable, vegetable based plastic. It was faster, cheaper, and more sustainable than using leather.”
Daviy’s biggest driver is the desire to improve the environmental and social impacts of fashion design and clothing production, especially given that this is normally such a wasteful process, and the drive for profit makes it even worse: “Half of the textiles used in manufacturing turn into waste right at the very beginning of the manufacturing process,” Daviy explains, “and the fast-fashion industry uses cheap methods of production that often involve slavery.” She believes that by embracing 3D printing technology for fashion design, many of these problems can be curbed by putting the power to make clothes directly into the hands of the consumer.
It’s easier than you think: “All I need today to manufacture one of my designs is to create a model in 3D printing software and print it out using flexible, biodegradable PLA filament. That means that rather than going to the store and buying a piece of clothing manufactured overseas, all a consumer would need to do is buy a premade design file and print it out at home.” Daviy says this model of production would also allow consumers to create their own custom modifications, allowing them to alter existing designs in order to better express their personalities through their clothing on a level that simply isn’t practical with mass-manufactured clothing.
In her work, Daviy uses both standard 3D printers as well as 3D printing pens to create her intricate pieces. The 3D pen is a newer development in the 3D printing world that allows the user to create sophisticated designs in much the same way as a standard printer, but with the flexibility of freehand movement. Designing clothes in 3D modeling software and creating with the 3D pen both take skill, and Daviy has pursued some specialized education in order to refine her abilities. However, she firmly believes that the methods she’s pioneering today are well within the grasp of anyone eager to create.
Summing up her vision of a world in which fashion design and manufacturing have been democratized and made sustainable, Daviy says, “The best clothes are the ones we produce ourselves. When everyone has the opportunity to create or customize his or her own clothing, they turn from a consumer into a creator. That transformation both increases their pride in the clothes they own and reduces the need for cheap, mass-manufactured clothing. Current 3D printing technologies now allow us to transform the manufacture of clothing into an art, and with new low-cost options like 3D pens, all you need to get started is your imagination. It really is making the previously impossible, possible.”
For more information, please click here. All images courtesy Julia Daviy
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