Sophie Carter-Kahn
July 30, 2015 7:00 am

When Danit Peleg set out to create her senior collection in Fashion Design, she knew that she “wanted to have the freedom to make my own textiles.” At 27, the recent graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel told Mashable that she wanted to challenge herself. Well, CHALLENGE ACHIEVED, lady! Peleg was determined to forge her own path, literally, by creating every item on her models, top to bottom, with 3D printing. Through a long process of trial, error, and hard work, Peleg created five gorgeous looks. At her graduation showcase, she sent the outfits down the runway complete with 3D printed shoes and that glimmer of The Future about them.

She started with an inspiration: a Delacroix painting, Liberty Leading the People, depicting an allegory of Liberty holding the French flag during the July Revolution in 1830. She “modified it so it would look like a 3D picture,” bringing out the repeated shades of black, red, white, and green inherent in the painting as well as reminiscent of vintage 3D imagery. Noticing the many triangles in the paintings careful composition, Peleg carefully designed the clothes to riff on the painting. You can see the triangles repeated, magnified, minimized, overlapping, in conversation, throughout all of the fabrics.

When Peleg began prototyping and creating fabrics, she hit a wall. The materials she was using were not flexible enough to be used as textiles (most 3D printing is done with various types of plastics). The 3D printing community introduced her to a new material called FilaFlex, which is much more bendy and forgiving. Boom! Suddenly, she could create the fabrics she wanted in her own room.

She began printing everything for the collection, designing it carefully beforehand. Everything from the shoes to the underwear is 3D printed. Talk about follow-through! All that dedication to printing came at a cost, however. You know how when you’re printing a paper out right before class it seems to take just forever? Peleg ran into that, too, but on a huge scale. “It would take more than 2000 hours to print [everything], so I had to step up my printer-game to a full fledged 3D-printing farm,” she says on her website.

Peleg’s motivation, in part, was to “check if it’d be possible to create an entire garment using technology accessible to anyone.” 3D printing is super cool, but it’s more than just a new fancy way to make clothes, or part of the wearable tech trend. In fact, the technology has the potential to truly change the way that the world approaches the way we make our goods.

Ever since the production line was invented and Henry Ford perfected large-scale factory industry, we’ve been putting out product as fast as we can. It was convenient to rely on a product that would be exactly the same, every time, with a lower cost than a hand-made or unique one, and brands that build trust with the public made a whole lot of money. This (and other factors) have led to mass production across the board and the growth of megacorps, from food chains like McDonald’s to hotel chains like Holiday Inn to clothing giants like Walmart. (Basically, any company that now uses overseas factories with low costs but high dangers in health and safety for its workers).

Now, the Internet and advances in worldwide communication and travel have transformed our capability to transport goods effectively and quickly. A combination of Etsy and FedEx can get you a hand-made crochet newsboy cap for your cat by tomorrow, if you want it. The tide has turned to more individualized product. This isn’t a return to the vintage days of pre-Industrial Revolution hand-made everything, however. (And thank goodness. I like our current advancements in human rights and toilets, thank you very much.) This is a cultural shift, and a restructuring of manufacturing, production, and design worldwide. It’s easier than ever for small, niche companies, creators, and artists to find their audience. 3D printing is a growing part of that trend, and will continue to grow as the world economy slowly shifts.

Newsweek‘s Kevin Maney sums it up by saying, “Information technology is eroding the power of large-scale mass production.” Hemant Taneja called it “unscaling” in Harvard Business Review; Forbes calls it “the new manufacturing.” Peleg calls it “just the beginning.” She writes on her website, “I really enjoyed the fact that I could create without intermediaries; I could design my own textiles and manufacture my own clothes, all from my own home. I didn’t have to go buy cloth that someone else chose to sell – I could make my own…As technologies evolve, we will soon be all printing our own clothes at home.”

You can find out more about Danit, the project, and her other work on her website, here.

(Images via Danit Peleg)

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