Of all the focal points that make up the fashion industry, footwear is one sector that has benefited greatly from the implementation of 3D printing technology into the fashion design, prototyping, and production of stylish shoes. At this year’s London Fashion Week, which took place in September, 3D printed shoes ruled the runway, as models strolled down the catwalk in the 3D printed Honey Wedges shoe, which were created by the London-based fashion designer Julian Hakes.
The Honey Wedges were turned from a concept to a reality, once the Julian Hakes team reached out to the industrial 3D printing company Ogle, based in Hertfordshire, London, to help manufacture the shoes quickly for the London Fashion Week event. Having worked with Ogle beforehand, Julian Hakes knew that their 3D printing services could provide them with timely production of the Honey Wedges shoe.
The Ogle team was able to 3D print Julian Hakes’ Honey Wedges with an SLS printer, using nylon material sturdy enough for walking and structural support. The low-wedge shoe is simple and sleek in design, and wouldn’t quite strike you as 3D printed unless you took a good look at them. Unlike 3D printing-savvy fashion designers of the past, such as Zoe Jia-Yu Dai and Bryan Oknyansky, the Honey Wedges are not extremely complex in shape or too strange in style. Rather, Julian Hakes’ shoes look comfortable, accessible, and seem just as fit for the sidewalk as the runway. But don’t get me wrong, they’re far from plain, old shoes, and worked pretty well with the various outfits showcased by the London Fashion Week models.
Thanks to Ogle’s 3D printing technology, the Julian Hakes design team was almost instantly able to have their digital design produced for a dozen models to wear during London Fashion Week. This showcase signifies the shift toward additive manufacturing that is currently happening in fashion, among other commercial applications. As our ability to mass produce 3D printed products in a more time- and material-efficient manner increases, it is likely that fashion products, such as the Julian Hakes’ Honey Wedges shoe. will find their way beyond the catwalk and onto our shoe racks.