A carpeted and windowless room in the Javits Center was transformed into an unlikely fashion show venue last night, as models in 3D-printed cuffs, collars, bras, and heels stomped across a curtained stage. Some of the designs, like Holy Faya’s chunky neon link necklaces, could be confused with traditionally-manufactured plastic. New York-based Heidi Lee's models marched out in shiny face-print helmets that managed to evoke astronauts and aliens at the same time, and Denise Nova covered her model's faces with the equivalent of 3D-printed algae.
As the lights came up, our photographer Sai Mokhtari suggested that, for a certain subset of nerds, this must have been the ultimate party. Granted, there were more straggly goatees and tall white socks in the crowd than you’d expect to find at Fashion Week, but the lighting was seductive, and the club bass was deep enough to vibrate your shoes.
Since Wednesday, hundreds of 3D-printing obsessives have been crammed into adjacent booths at the Javits Center, showing off their wares as part of the third annual 3D Print Week New York (apparently, the largest 3D printing event in the world). Among them, there seems to be a consensus that 3D printing is having its printing press moment. Mark Trageser, the founder of a 3D-print toy company called insaniToy, came from Los Angeles to participate. He told us he’s confident that “the world is being invented right now under our feet.” What's his proof? Trageser picked up a tiny plastic toy car with intricate wheels. “I printed this fully assembled. It came out of the machine with the tires on it, already rolling.”
Ushak, an Italian design company that traveled all the way from Parma to attend the show, set out intricate 3D-printed sculptures inspired by 18th-century ivory carvings. And SOLS, a New York-based startup, showed off it’s 3D-printed insoles, which are printed using pictures of your feet for reference. Nearby, Heisel, a streetwear company based on Orchard Street, displayed oversized mesh shirts fuzed with 3D-printed smiley faces. Co-founder Scott Taylor told us, “We wanted to show that 3D-printed clothing doesn’t have to look like Star Wars.”
We also came across this spinning tableaux by 3d3+, a startup that prints frames from animated shorts. Look closely, and you'll see a flying airplane reflected in the glass.
And for those who've never seen a 3D printer in action, here's one half-way through printing a skull.
Click through our slideshow for more examples of 3D-printed objects that caught Sai’s eye, from sneakers to emojis.