Remember the days when touch-screen machines and contactless payments were the stuff of science fiction? There was even a time when shopping was confined to the high street, and you certainly couldn’t buy your new season wardrobe online. Obviously, these things are now almost second nature to us, but what about 3-D printing?
It’s a technology that’s been creeping up on us for a while now, but all of a sudden it’s been catapulted into the foreground, largely thanks to one fashion student. For her graduate collection, Danit Peleg created every piece via the process of 3-D printing, producing some seriously amazing dresses, jackets and skirts.
SEE: The Paris Couture Moments That Made Us Gasp (Literally)
Danit’s innovative collection has practically gone viral, what with everyone clamouring to talk to her and find out exactly how she did it. Luckily, she spoke to us about her process, just how long it took and why she’ll always love Balmain. The most amazing news? Danit designed and produced her whole range on a printer we could all buy for our own homes. Yes, really…
Congratulations on your collection, it looks amazing. Can you tell us a bit about the design process and how you came to use 3D printers to produce it all?
I wanted to see if it’d be possible to make clothes without going to the market and buying fabric. I wanted to create it all at home, using this technology. The main challenge was to find the right material and printer to do this with. In the past there were beautiful examples of 3D printed dresses printed in industrial printers, but I wanted to see if I could make them with printers that are accessible to everyone.
Were you inspired by designers already using 3D printing like Iris van Herpen, for example? Obviously you used much smaller machines- the kind that are designed for homes- how is that different?
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Yes, I was absolutely inspired by Iris van Herpen’s works. They are amazing. The difference between big industrial printers and home printers is the type of printing. The difference with home printers and industrial printers is that with home printers you have to print pieces of the garment and then assemble it, whereas with big industrial printers you could print a dress in one piece. Hopefully this will change as printers improve and get more sophisticated.
Are the printers that you used actually available to the public?
Yes, totally. The one I used costs a little over £1,000 but there are some on the market for less than £200.
Can you explain a bit about the fabrics?
I used something called filaflex, it’s a soft material. I then printed with this material a structure called Mesostructured Cellular Materials; that created a sort of lace-like facbric.
What were your main inspirations behind the collection?
My main inspiration was a painting by Eugene Delacroix called ‘Liberty Leading The People’. It commemorates the French Revolution, and I modified it to look like a 3-D picture, and then used this as my starting point.
How long did it take to produce?
2000 hours for the entire collection. About 400 for each look.
Can you tell us a bit about the costs involved? Is it a much more expensive method of production that more traditional forms?
The LIBERTE jacket took 220 hours to print and about a kilo of materials. Materials would cost 70 euros. But the main cost here is printing time – you would need to buy or rent a printer or a few of them for 220 hours. A printer of the type I used costs 1700 euros. Renting it would maybe cost 250 euros per week, so I would peg it at at least 600 euros for printing, not including design, assembly,and electricity.
What about 3-D printing appealed to you?
I was fascinated by 3-D printing and wanted to challenge myself to print the entire collection using home 3-D printers. To be honest, I also wanted to have the freedom to make my own textiles as opposed to depending on what I’d find on the market.
Do you have a favourite piece?
The red jacket, and it was also the most challenging piece. I am emotionally attached to it becasue it was the first one I made and because it says “LIBERTE” on it which means “freedom” in French, which is what I felt; reedom– while working on this project.
What’s next for you now that you’ve graduated?
I plan to keep exploring 3-D printing and fashion. I may do custom pieces and maybe later my own line.
Do you think 3-D printing is the future of fashion?
I think we will see more and more 3-D printed fashion, but it will look different than it does today. What I did is almost a proof of concept – it took 2000 hours to print the collection so it’s not something that can be done easily. So for this to become commonplace 2 main things need to improve: the speed of the printers, and better materials. The fabrics I produced are flexible and fun, but they are not like cotton yet. I know people are working on innovative material and printers, though, so I believe it’s only a matter of time until we see better printers and more wearable materials. If the technology does improve significanly, then yes, this could be the future of the fashion industry. The consequnces are huge- less shipping costs, more personalization, and most imporantly the democratization of design – anyone could design clothes. Just like a viral video, you could see a “viral t-shirt” that someone designed and that everyone is suddenly wearing.
Most of the 3D printing we’ve seen so far has been based in womenswear. Do you think there’s a reason for this? Is it a technique that could be applied to menswear in the same way?
That’s a good question. I don’t know why this is the case. The technique can definitely be applied to menswear too.
Finally, which designers inspire you and your own work?
I have always been in love with BALMAIN. Specifically the connection between street fashion and haute couture and the amazing textiles and designs Olivier Rousteing keeps on showcasing in every collection.