While advancements in 3D printer capabilities and printing technology continue to dominate industry headlines, artists of all sorts are quietly embodying the sentiment of Pixar’s John Lasseter: “The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.”
Zoe Jia-Yu Dai, a Taiwanese fashion designer, certainly channeled that belief when she set out to create a line of 3D printed shoes as a capstone for her Master’s study at the London College of Fashion.
“I was interested in combining concepts from organic, natural structures and modern technology,” she said. “I pushed the physical limits of design materials, and created designs that would be impractical or even impossible to produce with traditional manufacturing methods.”
Her final project, “Breaking the 3-D Mould”,was funded by the college’s prestigious Cordwainers Dato’ Jimmy Choo Award. This allowed Zoe to use two sophisticated printers to manufacture the heels for her women’s shoe designs. She used an EOS printer for prototyping, and then a FDM printer to yield a superior final product. All of her designs were modeled using a combination of 3D Studio Max, Rhino, Maya, and ZBrush software platforms.
“It was a real honour to win this award because my ideas are often experimental and it allowed me to put my ideas into practice,” Zoe explained. “This award recognized the innovative use of 3-D printing technology, which has the potential to revolutionize the footwear industry.”
From left to right: a pair of shoes from Zoe’s “Breaking the Mould”, a piece of “Bone Furniture” from Joris Laarman, and “the Sagaada Familia” by Antoni Gaudi
Regarding her aesthetic: “My design inspirations for this collection came from natural structures, such as shell, fossil and bone, which are used to support or protect animals. Another inspiration [of mine] was organic shapes already used in art, for example, ‘The Bone Chair’ by Joris Laarman and ‘The Sagrada Familia’ by Antoni Gaudi.”
Going forward, Zoe Dai would like to experiment with different types of materials and colors, particularly soft fabrics, leathers, metals, and transparent materials.
Please forward any inquires to Zoe’s personal website, ladies, where individual fittings and pricings can be discussed. And, for all of you gentlemen in the UK with a taste for high-end fashion, the wait for personalized men’s wear won’t be too-too long.
“For my next project, I will start to design men’s shoes,” teased Zoe Jia-Yu Dai.
P.S. If you’re reading this Zoe, I’m a 10.5 on the US sizing chart.