By Janey Davis | Inside 3DP
We’ve read time and time again how the fashion industry is turning towards 3D printing as a way of expressing individual looks and creativity, but for one woman it’s become a bit of a mission. Designer and technologist Mary Huang is the founder of Continuum, a brand based in Brooklyn, NY, which she describes as ‘part design label, part lab’, and Mary is passionate about ‘the idea of fashion that is digitally manifested–fashion created on computers and converted bytes to bits into physical form’.
With this in mind she soon realised that the key to using innovative technology lay in the manufacturing side of things, and looked to 3D printing as a way of producing items without the need for sewing or stitching.
With new boundaries being reached every week and the price of the printers falling, she decided to see if she could actually make a pair of shoes and whether it would be economically viable for her to use 3D printing as a way of manufacturing. Two years later, and Mary realized that there was a big difference between just printing off a pair of shies and designing a pair that are wearable and buyable.
Her first concern was price; there was no point in carrying on if the cost outweighed the price people were prepared to pay for the shoes. So Mary spent a long time testing various materials to see which ones would be comfortable and cost effective to manufacture. And she wants to set the record straight if anyone has any doubt about 3D printed shoes being uncomfortable.
“For the record, comfortable shoes have nothing to do with printing and everything to do with design. The Laurel sandal is comfortable because I strived to design a comfortable sandal, and I put in the time to print and test iterations. It is a 4 inch heel, and definitely more comfortable than other 4 inch heels that I own,” Huang wrote.
After many months of tweaking materials, juggling figures and trying out shoes, Mary was finally happy with the results and so launched Myth, the world’s first 3D printed shoe collection.
Now all customers have to do is order a pair online and this triggers a notification to the printer in the factory where the shoes are then printed to order. Each of the shoes in the Myth collection are made using small desktop printers, and Mary is proud of every design, saying that they contrast greatly from an overtly organic to a digital geometry feel. with very organic, natural forms. Mary says that the tree-like designs are inspired by Bernini’s statue of Apollo and Daphne, where the nymph grows into the laurel tree, and this typifies how a 3D printer works, where the object that is being made grows layer by layer
So far the only two products available in Mary’s shoe collection is the Laurel Tree Sandal, which retails at $250, and the STRVCT – a Solid Black Wedge also at $250, but Mary is hoping to add more designs to her collection in the very near future.
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