Duann Scott, ‘Designer Evangelist’ of leading 3D printing company Shapeways, explains how an eye-popping 3D-printed look from this year’s Victoria’s Secret runway fast-forwarded the fashion show into the future.
For the first time ever, the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Angel-fest looked to the future with a high-tech, custom-made outfit designed by architect—not designer—Bradley Rothenberg. Conceived by Victoria’s Secret and Swarovski, in partnership with world-leading 3D-printing experts, Shapeways, supermodel Lindsay Ellingson’s costume was created not with a needle and thread, but using the latest phenomenon called ‘3D printing’. In other words, the costume’s all-over filigree snowflake motif literally came out of a computer printer, made to precisely fit Ellingson from an earlier bodyscan.
Duann Scott, who goes by the poetic title of Shapeways’ Designer Evangelist, took time out to tell us a bit more about this paradigm-shifting, audacious innovation.
Shapeways was founded five years ago in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. Back then, 3D-printing technologies were twenty years old and the materials were just about ready for a broader market. Today, we have offices in New York, Eindhoven and Seattle.
We started out as a small but passionate group who understood the massive potential of 3D printing. We’ve been lucky to attract an amazing team of over one hundred people who are fired up with curiosity, intelligence and drive, and dedicated to solving problems that have never been faced before.
The power of 3D printing is the ability to make customized products where supply meets demand very precisely. There’s no need to carry stock, as everything is 3D-printed on demand, so there’s no financial risk involved in taking a product to market. It’s a new way of approaching making the things we want and need in our lives—a spaceship, if you like, rather than a faster horse.
Right now we’re 3D-printing over 100,000 objects every month. It’s always the stories surrounding the objects that people ask us to print for them that capture our interest: the father-and-son helicopter, the anniversary ring designed by a husband, the student who launched her jewelry line on the back of her first-year design project.
The great thing about Swarovski is that most of the infrastructure is in place to embrace 3D printing. It would be relatively simple to create an online app that allowed customers to customize their own design and assemble a brand new piece. We find that when people have a chance to get involved in the design process, they have a much deeper connection with the product.
Before we created Lindsay Ellingson’s Victoria’s Angel outfit we collaborated with Los Angeles based designer Michael Schmidt to make a 3D femme fatale-style gown with Swarovski crystals for (burlesque queen) Dita Von Teese, purely to push the boundaries of what is possible. Once the imagination is stretched, everything between normal and the extreme seem achievable. This partnership has helped to push the boundaries of art, design, fashion and manufacturing, and show what’s possible for the 3D-printing industry. After all, the only limit is our imagination…
See supermodel Lindsay Ellingson’s extraordinary Angel costume at the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show here.