A/W13 Creative Trend-Watching: 3D Printing

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Everyone’s talking about a creative revolution. The biggest thing in design and technology since the invention of the computer, 3D printing is set to take every industry by storm. From bespoke production for the luxury retail sector to new inspiration for artwork, London boasts a talented core of experts and artists exploring the fresh possibilities of this exciting medium. Stay ahead of the trend with our guide to the best in 3D printing for the art, design and fashion worlds for the coming season.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the ever forward-thinking Selfridges has been one of the first department stores to get involved. From 24th October, a special pop-up will open on the ground floor, offering the chance to instantly re-create yourself as a figurine using 3D full body scanning technology. Operated by iMakr, the innovative company behind the 3D printing pen whose permanent shop is located in trendy design district Clerkenwell, this pop-up will put a whole new spin on buying unique gifts for Christmas. I can’t wait to report live for The Sloaney from the opening event.

In the meantime, there’s plenty on offer at the fantastic London Design Festival, running from 14 – 22 September. In collaboration with D2W (Digits2Wigits), a 3D print company renowned for products of the highest quality, the festival has put out an open call inviting design entries for an exhibition of fantastical 3D print structures. If you’re feeling creatively inspired and thinking of trying this at home, why not attend the D2W seminar on Thursday 12 September, an introduction to the limitless possibilities of what you can make with a 3D printer.

The London Design Festival

The London Design Festival

For artists and their big imaginations, the idea that 3D printing can create structures that would be impossible to make with traditional manufacturing techniques is irresistible. For the best chance to see some examples in the coming season, mark the 3D Printshow 2013 in your diary, which takes place in Islington from 7-9 November.  Following on from the success of last year’s art gallery (the largest in the world to date), the event will feature 3D print artists including Marjan Colletti, Joshua Harker, Linlin & Pierre-Yves Jacques and Nick Ervinck.  Trust me, their incredible creations need to be seen to be believed.

The fashion world has eagerly taken on board what 3D printing can do for creating the perfect show-stopping garment. Any sceptics about the technology should take a glance at the now iconic image of Dita Von Teese in her printed dress by Bitonti and Schmidt – a masterpiece of sexy contours and an unbeatable close fit. From designer sunglasses by Ron Aran to shoes by New Balance, product ranges are fast expanding. Here in Britain it’s Catherine Wales pioneering the trend with her bespoke white nylon accessories. Her pieces for Project DNA are striking examples of how the technology can be as beautiful and stylish as it is functional, with added benefits of fitting your specific body shape and reduced wastage in production for an environmentally friendly purchase.

Do believe the hype. 3D printing is as close to magic as design technology can get.