3D printing technology has made such rapid advancements in the past few years that these incredibly high-tech printers are capable of producing everything from an iPhone case to a working gun. Now this groundbreaking technology is poised to reinvent another industry altogether: fashion.
Julia Daviy is a Miami-based designer and creator who approaches her work from an eco-friendly standpoint; she describes herself in her Twitter bio as a “cleantech ideologist” and “vegan triathlete.” According to the designer, her fascination with 3D printing began in early 2016, during a time when she was becomingly “increasingly concerned with the ethical and environmental impact of fashion on our world.” She points to chemical pollution, energy consumption, material waste, and the exploitation of animals as the major environmental culprits of the fashion world, and so she began looking for alternative and sustainable options for her own artistic endeavours.
Daviy enrolled in a course at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where she majored in design thinking. She soon discovered a solution not in some subsidiary of the world of haute couture, but in the technological sector: 3D printing. She pursued her studies in 3D printing at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and has been using her newfound skills and knowledge to shake up the fashion world.
After two and a half years of research and experimentation with various printing software, hardware, and materials, Daviy has achieved a process that executes her vision with precision and style. And while that process is rigorous, as each garment requires a time-consuming and complex design and production process (using CAD-type software to design each piece, and intensive post-processing and final assembling once the pieces are printed), the result is a cruelty-free, slavery-free, sustainable approach to fashion.
Daviy debuted her eponymous label at New York Fashion Week 2018, where it quickly captured the attention of trendsetters and the media. Christened the Liberation Collection, it is being toted as the first collection created with large-printing format to ever be released in the U.S., as well as the first 3D-printed garments in the country that are ready-to-wear and functional for everyday life.
The Liberation Collection features bespoke skirts, dresses and suits that, despite their high-tech production process, are designed with a heavy nod to the natural world.
The Pure Nature Suit is a two-piece made from recycled fishing nets that have been turned into a flexible, eco-friendly fabric. The pattern of this white and green ensemble is inspired by an organic pattern known as Voronoi, commonly seen on leaves, larvae cells, insect wings, and dried mud flats.
The Parametric Coral Pleated Dress, designed for cocktail parties and special events, was inspired by sea reefs and Fungia Coral, a circular, ridged specimen that grows on the reefs of the Indo-Pacific.
The Polka Dot Exoskeleton Dress, inspired by the exoskeletons of sea urchins, uses 3D polka dots to create a contemporary take on a classic black-and-white number.
Perhaps the most daring piece of the collection, the Parametric Skin Suit features a three-dimensional pattern inspired by snakeskin and parametric lines that pay homage to coral and the skin patterns of sea creatures. Its otherworldly blue hue, transparent sections that trail from shoulder to hemline, and daring shapes will leave you feeling like a very fashion-forward mermaid.
Perhaps our personal favourite of the collection is the Lace Mini Skirt; it’s the world’s first 3D-printed lace skirt. Like most pieces in the collection, it too is inspired by underwater coral reefs — but it also pays homage to an iconic piece worn by one of fashion’s greatest icons, Carrie Bradshaw.
Snakesin, corals, sea animals: the collection’s motifs are again evident in the Pink Coral Neon Skirt. We love the way this pattern, so steeped in the natural world, also echoes the art deco style.
The Parametric Black Ocean Dress feels like the standout piece in the Liberation Collection and one that showcases exactly what 3D printing is capable of. 3-dimensional and manually printed from mixed filaments, the shapes on display in this semi-transparent sheath dress are the bodies of starfish and shoals of jellyfishes. This dress is deliberately meant to draw attention to imminent threats to our oceans and the diverse life they house; overfishing, the killing of sharks and sea predators, massive pollution, and the dying coral reefs are just a few of the concerns that led Julia Daviy to create this unique piece.
Visit Julia Daviy’s website for more information on this cutting-edge collection and the future of 3D-printing. If this is the future of fashion, we’re on board.
Photos via Julia Daviy’s website.