3D Printing

The Indie Brand Fair Brings 3D Printing to Fashion in Korea

The “icing on the cake” represents an additional benefit to something already good. Fashion itself is a very interesting field to look at, but when combined with 3D printing, I believe it becomes far more intriguing. This past week in South Korea, there was a fashion fair for indie brands, and 3D printing was the icing on the cake of the fashion on show.

The 5th Indie Brand Fair was held by the Korean Fashion Association and Fashion Insight, sponsored by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, for two days in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea. The show was comprised of 51 brands of women’s clothing, 26 brands of men’s clothing, and 63 fashion accessory brands. The number of pre-registrants was up to around 1,000 buyers, and if on-the-spot registrants were added … well, it was a bustling show. The goal of the show was to nurture and encourage breakthroughs in the 21st century Korean fashion industry by creating a business platform for indie fashion designers, distributors, and fashion companies.

ccrecc 3D printing in korea

Out of all the participants, I found two that were applying 3D printing technology to their fashion items. The first was ‘CCRECC’, an exciting brand owned by Son Gyubo and Lee Eunhyun. CCRECC set a good example of how 3D printing can be applied to modern fashions. The concept of CCRECC at the show was simple, in that they were designing accessories that could be manufactured on a 3D printer.

caps with 3D printed accessories

One example was the accessorizing of baseball caps where CCREC would 3D print accessories and put them together with the  hats, giving them new styles and functions. There was a cap with a 3D printed accessory that allowed an actual plant to be grown on the wearer’s head. Another was a cap with LED lights and 3D printing tech for parties and stage performances. The nice people at CCRECC were also kind enough to send me a copy of their new company catalog.

3D printed accessories korean
3D One’s Son Gyobo showing a hat to an interested attendee.

I also met Son Gyubo, an employee of another start-up company, called 3D One, that is also looking to the future potential of 3D printers. 3D One originally started as a 3D printing education company, and has held lectures on 3D printing at a number of universities and organizations for the past year, but is now expanding to fashion printing and professional design printing. 3D One, well connected with other manufacturers and printing firms, is also developing their own textbook and original 3D printing curriculum for students, as well as various other activities.

3D printing baseball hat accessories

Son Gyobo told me about their future plan with CCRECC. He said, “We plan to expand the brand to wearable items, such as necklaces, shoes, and belts, targeting people in specific lines of work that requires these items. I hope that my items satisfy customers both functionally and aesthetically.” He added that he is also in collaboration with some musical artists, so we may soon see some of those items being worn on TV and in music videos.

3D printed hat accesories in korea

The other company at the event utilizing 3D printing was ‘212 Flying Couture’. The designer, Kim Yunhui, produces fashion accessories. She prints out her designs and then fits them with jewelry. Ms. Kim puts the emphasis on youth, innovation, and originality. In yet another example of the close bonds that are sometimes formed within the 3D community, Ms. Kim had started to receive some technical support from 3D One. 212 Flying Couture products are available in Korea through their local distributor, Assemblage, and talks are ongoing with buyers overseas.

These brands, though few in number, are already on the market and, by applying 3D printing tech to their products, they made quite a splash with the local media, who noted that the era of customized items, over items of mass production, has begun. They also noted that 3D printing might already be closer to our lives than most of us think.