The fashion industry is disrupting and Julia Daviy is part of this change. Julia cares deeply about the future of our environment and the impact that people today have on it. In the advent of fast fashion, Julia is creating a clothing alternative whereby consumers can buy clothing that fits perfectly due to electronic body scanning. The material Julia uses for 3D printing can be composted and because each piece is produced for a particular individual, there is little to no waste involved. Read below for our conversation with Julia and her road to 3D clothing design.
MADE LOKAL: You were an ecologist and an industrial clean technology manager. What were you studying and working on before starting 3D printing for fashion?
JULIA DAVIY: I have a bachelor's degree in the Environmental science. Also I studied some Sustainable development after I graduated. My second degree is a Masters degree in International finance. My work has been connected with both fields for a decade. I managed projects at a company in the clean technology field and have been involved with companies worldwide working in renewable energy and water management industries in particular.
MADE LOKAL: How did you transition into 3D printing fashion?
JULIA DAVIY: It all started as I was looking for an answer to the question, 'how to produce clothes differently'. Some time ago, I started a business producing organic clothes for active lifestyles. I thought it was a good idea, but very soon I realized how many challenges I faced - I bought fabric in one region of India, delivered it to another to customize with my prints. Then I delivered to Ukraine to sew the pieces of apparel. Lastly it had to be delivered to the customers in the US and Western Europe. All that created a massive environment footprint of the clothes, despite that I was proud to work with the finest organic fabrics on the market and a patented printing machine using water-based inks.
I realized that in the 21st century, fabrics and clothes should look differently than in the last centuries. What if we could create such kind of fashion which is not oriented on consumption? How that may look like then? I was passionate about the Design Thinking methodology and devoted my free time to studying this field. I prototyped and started to investigate 3D printing and fashion tech in 2016.
MADE LOKAL: How long did it take for you to learn 3D printing for clothing design?
JULIA DAVIY: As with every discipline, it takes so much time. If you want to succeed you need to learn a lot. A year and a half ago I started passing numerous courses on 3D printing and modeling. In 2017 I devoted an average of 10-15 hours a week to learn and mainly to experiment. My home 3D printer was working non stop, very often 24 h a day with very short breaks.
MADE LOKAL: What is the name of your 3D printed clothing design collection?
JULIA DAVIY: It will definitely be devoted to attracting attention to beauty of the Earth's wildlife, especially Ocean life which is endangered now, but I’m still at the stage of the collection creating.
MADE LOKAL: How can other designers learn how to design 3D printed clothing?
JULIA DAVIY: Today, everyone can learn software and hardware for 3D printing. There is no good program for clothing designers, since the industry is so new. At the same time, there are more than 80 different types of materials (types of filaments) for 3D printers are available on the market. Take it and start your experimentation! If you are struggling with software, take a 3D pen and try to make or prototype something manually!
MADE LOKAL: How much does a 3D printed piece of clothing cost to the end-consumer?
JULIA DAVIY: You may find 3D printed accessories starting from $15. 3D printed pieces of clothes are not widely used in the market. The cheapest one I’ve seen was $850 for a 3D printed bra and $5,000 for a dress. I’m working on making 3D printed designed clothes much more affordable.
MADE LOKAL: How long does it take to create one piece of 3D printed clothing?
JULIA DAVIY: 3D printing technology is still not advanced today, yet with that, is extremely fast to produce from scratch. Of course, with a home printer, it takes 30 hours to print and assemble a skirt, for instance. On a mini factory and with the industrial printers the speed is growing. 3D modeling could take anywhere from a day of work to a month or even more, depending on what you create and how complicated the model is. If it’s something similar to clothes in today’s fashion world it’s not hard and does not take a lot of time.
MADE LOKAL: What do 3D printed clothes feel like?
JULIA DAVIY: It feels differently than today's clothing and depends on so many things. The type of filament, peculiarities of printing process, peculiarities of your model and 3D printed fabric. Sometimes my pieces feel and look like leather, others feel very soft, similar to silicon.
MADE LOKAL: Can you describe the material you use in your 3D printing?
JULIA DAVIY: In 3D printing there are more than 80 different types of materials today. ABS and PLA are two most popular materials. But ABS is a plastic and is extremely dangerous for environment and health. It should not be used at all. I use PLA, which is produced with corn starch. It is flexible and biodegradable .
MADE LOKAL: What is the best way for the end-consumer to compost PLA?
JULIA DAVIY: PLA decomposition needs time and 140F temperature. In a home pile it’s hard to achieve such temperature, so that may take 2-3 months to compost PLA. I believe that we will see better and more environment-friendly filaments in the nearest years.
MADE LOKAL: When making a customized piece for someone, how do you take proper measurements without them being physically present?
JULIA DAVIY: We use 3D scanning applications, which are developing fast, and some of them are pretty easy to be used by everyone.
MADE LOKAL: If a consumer wants a 3D printed item, how do they go about ordering something?
JULIA DAVIY: This year, I’m launching a web-site where basic models will be available for further and easy personal customization and will be delivered to the customer in relatively short period of time. 3D scanning body options to adjust fit will be a part of the online store.
MADE LOKAL: Is there any piece of clothing you would be unable to make using 3D printing?
JULIA DAVIY: Theoretically, using 3D printing technology we can do impossible things and transform the role and look of clothes radically. So today the main limit is our imagination. But today there’s no such a filament that could replace existing fabrics, and those that are so soft. Some labs are working on creating possibilities of fabric 3D printing, and I believe, special 3D printers and filaments for clothing industry is a question of the nearest years.
MADE LOKAL: How many other 3D clothing designers do you think there are in the world?
JULIA DAVIY: There are not so many who incorporate 3D printing in clothes now. I met just 4-5 those who work with 3D printing on regular basis. Others use 3D printed elements in some collections. Use of 3D printing for jewelery and accessories are much more widespread today.
MADE LOKAL: You are part of the disruption in the fashion industry. Where do you think 3D printing will be in 5-10 years?
JULIA DAVIY: 3D printing technology will continue to develop and become more advanced and cheaper. The number of materials will grow. I think we will be available to print smart fabrics that incorporated sensors and controllers, for instance, clothes where you can control temperature. 3D printing technologies will make a huge impact on turning people from consumers to creators. Clothes will be available to buy electronically where you may customize and print by yourself. 3D printing will increase the trend on total customization. Also 3D printing will make a great impact on changing shapes of modern architecture and design, as well as body architecture in fashion, in particular. 3D printers will be essential part of modern restaurants too and I can not imagine a space flight without a 3D printing factory on board.
Click here to follow Julia Daviy's progress on Instagram
Below are examples of Julia's work. The last photograph is Julia herself. All photographs were taken by: Vita Zamchevska