Dec 10, 2015 | By Tess

Throughout history fashion has been marked by various passing trends, from powdered wigs to neon spandex leggings, and it has also been impacted by timeless and iconic styles, such as the blue jean or the little black dress. It is fashion’s ability to change, innovate, and adapt to its times that make it such an exciting industry both for consumers and designers. As we at 3Ders have seen and continue to see, 3D printing has also found its way into recent fashion designs by way of a growing number of technologically inclined and talented fashion designers.

One such designer, Syrian born Nabil El-Nayal, has been a 3D printing pioneer in the fashion world as he first used the technology to create Baroque styled antlers for his Royal College of Art collection in 2010. Since then, Nayal has continued to explore the potentials of both 3D printing and 3D scanning in fashion and believes that the growing technologies will shape the future of fashion, for better or worse.

Nayal is currently conducting a research doctorate at the Manchester Metropolitan University to explore how 3D scanning technologies could potentially become a crucial part of the design process. He says, “I recently undertook a pilot study of the TC2 KX-16 body scanner to scan my Spring 2016 collection. My aim is to develop the ‘designer’s’ creative process by pushing the boundaries of drawing through the use of 3D imagery. I am obsessed with craft and construction techniques of the past. Technology is also a form of craft.”

It is precisely this dedication to both past techniques and styles and contemporary processes that has made Nayal such a hit amongst fashion enthusiasts and other designers, which include Karl Lagerfeld - who exclaimed, “I love it! I love it! I love it!” upon seeing his collection – as well as Lady Gaga, Claudia Schiffer, and Rihanna.

3D scanning and 3D printing offers fashion designers the same freedom of possibility that it does in other industries and sectors, essentially allowing for designers to create shapes and designs that were previously impossible as well as to quickly manufacture prototypes for testing. For instance, using the technology, Nayal was able to 3D scan an Elizabethan mirror frame, and turn the design into a set of ornate antlers to fit over a dress he had designed, completing the overall look. For Nayal, the whole process was extremely exciting. “It is such a magical moment when 2D designs become real-life 3D objects that you can touch,” enthused the designer.

Of course, there are also difficulties that could arise from the technology, especially concerning its accessibility. We all remember Kanye West’s concerns about 3D printing fashion, and now Nayal has weighed in on the subject. He says, “What I think is going to be particularly interesting is how we tackle the inevitable copyright issues which will arise from 3D printing. Once consumers get printers at home which are sophisticated enough to print a certain fabric or garment, all they will need to do is download a pirated file from somewhere…which contains the details of a garment (just like movies or music today) and they will be able to create as many copies as they would like for almost no cost.”

Despite these potential challenges to designers in the future, 3D printing technologies within the fashion world are currently very promising and continue to open creative doors for fashion designers.

“For me, fashion is not just what we wear or how we wear things; fashion is a visual narrative that should communicate the times we live in, building on ideas of the past and looking directly to the future,” says Nayal. “I think it is so important to embrace technological advancements to push our understanding of what fashion can be.”

Indeed, Nayal is one of a growing number of bold and innovative young designers to explore 3D printing technologies in their designs. Along with other notable designers such as Iris Van Herpen, and threeASFOUR, Nayal is setting the bar high for 3D printed fashion designs by seamlessly and stylishly merging the worlds of fashion and technology.




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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