By now, we’ve all heard of 3D printers. For instance, even Stephen Colbert had a guest make a 3D print of his face on The Colbert Report. No matter how you’ve heard of it I think we all can agree that the chance to use one would be great. But now, 3D printer users have found a new use: fashion. Fashion Designer Francis Bitonti has begun utilizing 3D printers, called MakerBots, to design and distribute intricate bowls, sculptures, and more. These are all a part of Bitonti’s Cloud Collection, which includes four housewares products: a plate, a vase, a bowl, and a serving bowl. Consumers can even customize the surface noise or relief of the product. While the line itself is interesting and innovative, its distribution is even more so. Instead of buying any of these products in a store or online, users who own MakerBots buy the code for $1 and print them at home. If a customer does not own a MakerBot, they can join a 3D Hub, and print it for more. Bitoni said: “We tried to make something where the consumer could engage in the narrative of the object and be part of the design, but not necessarily have to become the designer” (Hiscott, 2014). Using 3D printing allows the designer to customize a delicate structure that couldn’t be made by hand.
But this new, innovative mode of production doesn’t stop with housewares. Bitonti also designed a gorgeous 3D printed gown for Dita von Teese in 2013. He also designed the Bristle Dress and a belt called ‘Winter Froze You Away,’ both pictured above. (Hiscott, 2014) However, some argue that as cool as designs like these may be, they reduce the role of the designer far too much. Instead of giving the designer a chance to choose material and decide how it will be put together, they are reduced to being a simple ‘sketch artist.’ Personally, I love the idea of technology and fashion fusing, but I absolutely agree that it could have some seriously negative effects on the designer’s profession. What do you think? Will this innovation lead way to more creativity?
Hiscott, R. (2014, April). The future of fashion is code, not couture, says designer. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2014/04/04/francis-bitonti-3d-printing/