Mar 13, 2018 | By Tess

At just 15 years old, Bay Area’s Shami Oshun founded her own eponymous fashion label. Now, just three years later, the young and amazingly ambitious designer is breaking into the world of 3D printed fashion in a big way.

The California-based designer, once best known as the teen who made her own dress the night before prom for $15 worth of tulle, is now creating stunning avant-garde garments with the help of state-of-the-art technologies such as 3D printing.

As Oshun explains on her Twitter, she taught herself how to 3D print in August 2017. A quick learner, she has already created a series of 3D printed tops that have gained her recognition in the fashion and maker communities.

Oshun in her DIY tulle prom dress

(Image: Shami Oshun / Twitter)

3Ders recently got the chance to speak to the 18-year-old designer about her early success in the fashion world and about how additive manufacturing is allowing her to be more creative.

3Ders: Could you tell us a bit about your background and fashion brand?

Shami Oshun: I am an 18-year-old designer from the Bay Area, California. I started learning to sew with a machine at the age of eight but wasn’t very serious about fashion until I was 15. My label, Shami Oshun, started out as a brand that worked exclusively with imported African textiles, but I didn’t want to limit its scope so now it’s more of a mix.

3Ders: What led you to begin exploring 3D printing in your fashion designs?

Shami Oshun: I found myself 3D printing because I had design ideas that couldn’t be made with fabric. I felt 3D printing helped me bring my abstract ideas to life. I was definitely experimenting and learning while making my last project but now I have a greater understanding of where my art and the logistics of the machine meet. I am excited to see what new boundaries I can push with my next project.

3Ders: Prior to using 3D printing in your fashion designs, had you explored other technologies in your work? Or is this your first real foray into tech?

Shami Oshun: 3D printing is the first time I have mixed my work with tech but it definitely won't be the only thing I do.

I loved working with 3D printing technology and will continue to make designs with it. I’ve already started designing my next project and my vision is that it will be more wearable but also more avant-garde at the same time.

3Ders: On a more technical note, what type of 3D printing technology and materials have you been using?

Shami Oshun: I have been using Type A Machines’ Series 1 3D printer and Autodesk’s Fusion 360 to design. In terms of filament I use PLA, ProMatte, and a flexible TPE.

3Ders: Seeing as you are relatively new to 3D printing (and because you mostly taught yourself), can you tell me a bit about what the 3D printing learning curve was like for you?

Shami Oshun: Lucky for me, I was around people that know how to 3D print so I asked them a lot of questions. Explaining the 3D printing process sounds very simple at first, but when I actually got to doing it there were many more factors that came into play.

The design part was easy for me to understand—I took a class in high school where we learned to build house models and that helped me figure out Fusion 360 pretty quick. I used some flexible filaments and tried to figure out the right temperature, printing speed, etc. That was probably the biggest challenge and I am still trying to perfect it!

(Images: Courtesy of Shami Oshun)

3Ders: Do you have any inspirations in the fashion/tech world?

Shami Oshun: In terms of mixing fashion and tech, Neri Oxman and Iris Van Herpen are amazing and motivate me to be better.

3Ders: There are currently a lot of barriers (gender and race) in the tech world. Do you have any advice for young girls and specifically young black girls who want to pursue fashion or technology (or both)?

Shami Oshun: There are so many great programs aimed at helping young people gain access to and learn about tech, so I am not the one making the huge difference here. But I do know tech can be intimidating because I was intimidated by it for a long time.

I hope that putting my work out into the world will encourage young girls and especially young black girls to use their creativity and interest to shape the world through tech. My advice for pursuing your passion is to be persistent and to make connections.

Shami Oshun’s 3D printed garments include a series of high fashion tops which she says were inspired by architecture in San Francisco, including the famous Transamerica Pyramid, a postmodern structure designed by architect William Pereira. Oshun adds that some of the other designs were inspired by doodles she created in high school.

Oshun has already accomplished a lot in her young life, and we can’t wait to see how her 3D printed fashion grows and matures in the future. She’s a maker to keep an eye on!



Posted in Interviews



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