The wearables market is about to get personal with 3-D printing.
Bow & Drape, the fashion brand start-up that allows women to personalize the apparel and accessories options on its site, appears to be the first to provide three-dimensionally printed hardware to go with interchangeable belt straps, as well as metal pulls for clutches. The option is available this month at bowanddrape.com.
Still in the early stages, 3-D printing is an evolving technology. Its use by Bow & Drape seems a natural for the brand, as it’s already known for allowing consumers to choose a top, bottom or dress style, and personalize the product through color, fit and embellishments.
Bow & Drape founder and chief executive officer Aubrie Pagano believes the incorporation of personal taste as part of a design element will serve to foster “me-commerce,” the tech buzzword for highly personalized, made-for-you commerce. Pagano also believes that as 3-D printing technology evolves, it will open doors to new customer interaction models, such as a consumer’s ability to license within a five-year time frame a Bow & Drape design, modify it using CAD (computer-aided design) software and print it out in one’s own home. “This is not a so distant reality,” Pagano said.
For now, the technology is limited to CAD designs selected by the firm, which consumers can choose for their belt buckle or zipper pull of choice. Production is at the Shapeways factory in Long Island City, N.Y. The ability to print three-dimensional metal buckles is relatively new, and they can’t be printed in large quantities just yet.
Consumers choose from a variety of materials for the belt straps, which are made traditionally since technology to print fabric from a 3-D printer isn’t yet available. After the buckle design of choice is printed, Bow & Drape will assemble it with the belt strap chosen prior to shipment. The entire process takes about two weeks, and retails for between $48 and $148, depending on the options chosen. The design options, whether for the belt buckle or zipper pull, include an assortment of animal and miscellaneous shapes. Pagano said the plan is to offer different designs for 3-D printing each season.
Carine Carmy, director of marketing at Shapeways, said the factories — a second one is located in the Netherlands — employ printers used in industrial production, such as to print prototype parts for airplanes.
According to Carmy, 3-D printing has been in place for more than 20 years. The original material was plastic, and was often used by industrial designers to print objects that they could hold in their hands. While it would have cost more than $500 to make an iPhone case a few years ago, that price tag now is down to just $10. “The materials have also improved, too. We can now use gold-plated brass and sterling silver in our machines,” she said.
She believes that the next iteration for 3-D, now that consumer awareness is burgeoning, will involve “product made to fit, such as a 3-D scan of one’s body so something like a watch can be made to perfectly fit the person’s hand. The applications for 3-D printing are just opening up.”
In fashion, while there’s been a greater demand from the U.S. for 3-D printing, the Europeans and Japanese are the ones at the cutting edge of technology, Carmy said, based on her firm’s experience in its home base of the Netherlands. And while Shapeways is the firm that produced the 3-D printed nylon dress by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti in the U.S. that was perfectly curved to fit burlesque queen Dita Von Teese’s body, that’s more representative of high-end couture applications. For more mainstream fashion applications, the Bow & Drape metal options are more likely the areas at the forefront of mass customization, Carmy said.
Stacey Charbin, head of global fashion marketing at Paris-based technology solutions firm Lectra, said of 3-D in general, “What’s really amazing and cool is that you can come up with the idea and view it in a couple of ways, and you can have it in a few hours or a few days. The world is moving in this direction.”
Lectra doesn’t do any hardware printing, but focuses its 3-D tech know-how in soft goods using software to help cut back on production time. In apparel, the process starts with designers creating concept boards for their ideas. The technology specialists follow with tech drawings for the designers’ images, while the software creates visuals that can be viewed and changed before samples are made. The 3-D software can show what the seam lines can look like, estimate the fits and provide how the same style will hang using different fabrics.
“The biggest push has been in Europe, for proximity reasons, such as France and Italy. Dior Homme uses the software, as do several high-end Italian customers. That’s spreading to Germany and China, and now picking up speed in the U.S.,” said Charbin, who noted one custom men’s suit company uses the software in its stores. “The men are choosing buttons and fabrics and printing out a PDF of the visual so their wives can see what it looks like before the suit is made. It’s a semicustomized suit, with 1,000 different combined options available,” she explained.
Rose Auslander, a partner in the intellectual property department at the law firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn, said that fashion firms taking advantage of innovation in design should partner with 3-D companies. They should also take a good hard look at peer-to-peer sharing of files, such as in the music industry, which was pioneered by Napster. The P2P process, while legal, can result in copyright infringement issues. “This is the time for the fashion industry to see how the music industry reacted to P2P and what happened. Fashion needs to take a lesson from that,” she advised.
Bow & Drape launched in November 2012, after being funded via a Kickstarter campaign.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)