Design of the times: 3D is the new black
On the catwalks of Paris, 3D-printed haute couture has become all the rage as fashion leaders embrace the futuristic designs with little trepidation.
Celebs like Lady Gaga, Bjork, Dita von Teese and the Victoria's Secret angels have swathed their shapely figures in the technologically advanced garments.
Most recently, the worlds of fashion and technology converged at the 3D Print Fashion show in New York. It showcased forward-thinking pieces created by3D-print designers from around the world.
Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has been the leading light in 3D garment printing, inspiring many others. Van Herpen's techniques include injection moulding and laser cutting to create intricate three-dimensional structures for dresses, jackets, trousers, skirts and blouses.
It was Van Herpen's printed collection, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week two years ago, that piqued the interest of Durban fashion design masters student Kiara Gounder.
The 22-year-old Durban University of Technology student's research into the impact of the 3D-printing revolution on fashion earned her a Dean's Merit award at a recent graduation ceremony.
As part of her research she concocted 3D-printed embellishments that attach to garments - and a beautiful neckpiece.
Gounder has her sights set on creating a commercial range of wearable 3D-printed fashion - but it will be a long time before she is able to realise her dream.
"I have been fascinated by the capabilities of 3D printing and the way Van Herpen is applying the technology to fashion," she says
"3D-printing technology has been breaking new ground in the international fashion industry, but remains relatively unknown in South Africa.
''Overseas they are really trying to push the boundaries. Here, we still need the equipment and material."
Gounder has used her studies as an opportunity to indulge her curiosity about 3D-printing technology and to introduce the concept of 3D-printed fashion locally.
She got the opportunity to showcase her work at this year's Design Indaba in Cape Town.
Gounder was one of 46 individuals selected from hundreds of emerging designers to exhibit their work.
Gounder showed the 3D-printed pieces that formed the practical component of her submission.
"My aim is to motivate more South African fashion designers and students to incorporate innovative technologies into their design practice."