Designer Kasuni Rathnasuriya believes in preserving traditional art forms, which is why she incorporated the dying art of handmade Dutch lace into her concept designs for the inaugural launch of KÛR, the clothing line she started in Sri Lanka in 2009. Now based in New York City, KÛR specializes in hand-crafted, contemporary women’s fashion. Recently, Rathnasuriya decided to complement her lacework by adding some modern elements into her upcoming SS16 collection, which was showcased in October at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival in Queensland, Australia.
“I initially wanted to create a ‘Phenomenal look’ for SS16,” Rathnasuriya told 3DPrint.com. “Thus I was thinking of bringing non- conventional and conventional elements together. As an emerging brand we are very much open to technology. I always wanted to incorporate 3D printing to my designs after I saw some work in PV at Paris.”
To start, Rathnasuriya settled on 3D printed eyewear, and began working with 3D Concept Studio, a rapid prototyping laboratory in her home country of Sri Lanka. The studio, which was started in 2013 as the first affordable 3D printing service in the country, offers design, scanning and printing services to its customers. Several flexible options allow customers to be as much a part of the design process as they want to be, from submitting their own fully articulated designs to simply describing a concept and allowing the studio to take over from there. Rathnasuriya, being a professional designer, obviously chose the first option. She created her designs with Adobe Illustrator and shared them with the lab, which then assisted with the actual printing process.
The frames of the eyewear were printed using FDM technology and biodegradable PLA filament in various colors. The lenses were laser cut from clear acrylic and 3D curved. The resulting prototypes were stylish, brightly colored eyeglasses that complemented the handmade lace-incorporated clothing and handmade leather shoes worn by the models at Sunshine Coast. Rathnasuriya’s vision of bringing together the conventional and the unconventional appears to have been a stylish success. The bright frames created startling pops of color that stood out against the pale lace, and created an eye-catching, traditional vs. modern dichotomy.
I think it’s safe to say that while the SS16 collection is the first from KÛR to feature 3D printed elements, it very likely won’t be the last. Rathnasuriya seems to be a 3D printing convert, and she may not need the help of an outside studio next time.
“As a brand we believe there will be a time we all have a 3D printing facility at home and printing our own pieces,” she told us.
She’s not the only one to think so; many fashion experts believe that 3D printing will be a major part of the future of the industry, and the technology has been appearing in more and more fashion shows and exhibitions. The beauty of 3D printing is that it has very few limits, so it allows for intensely creative work that may not have been able to get past the concept stage in the past. I look forward to seeing what else Rathnasuriya and KÛR do with it in the future. Discuss this story here.