We’re excited at the potential for the fashion industry to utilize 3D printing technology to produce custom clothing, footwear, and jewelry. From the frankly bizarre but utterly fascinating creations of Iris Van Herpen to Janina Alleyne’s fantastic and deadly looking “Exoskeleton Shoes,” 3D printing is the ideal medium for 21st century designers to give material form to even their most out-there ideas, thanks in part to the technology’s capacity to make prototyping and custom fabrication easier than ever, as well as affordable.

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One 3D tech-savvy fashion designer, Maartje Dijkstra, has been in the vanguard of those who would join fashion and 3D printing in some pretty groundbreaking ways. Dijkstra, who lives in Rotterdam, has launched a new 3D printed jewelry line, “Big Cartel” that emphasizes the technology’s adaptability to creative exploration and expression.

Dijkstra’s style might be described as something between high-tech and retro-futuristic. You look at her clothing lines and see glimpses of “Metropolis” and “Blade Runner” crossed with contemporary big screen dystopian projections like “The Hunger Games” of a future where high fashion persists by pushing the envelope of absurd.

Dijkstra went to art school in the Netherlands, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design in 2006. Immediately after graduation, she worked in London for Alexander McQueen’s design house and then launched her own fashion label DijkstraNecklace1-e1419283549446in 2007. Her first big show, “Illustre Shoemachine,” debuted in 2008 during Amsterdam fashion week. The daring young designer cites nature as a major influence but, from our perspective, it’s nature several times removed, verging on the industrial.

While we find her clothing lines both puzzling and intriguing, albeit impractical as with a good deal of haute couture, her jewelry line successfully blends the sci-fi and organic with 3D printing technology in an ingenious way. Dijkstra uses PET filament combined with a 3D print pencil and various other materials such as silk and polyester wires to create jewelry that, in some instances, evokes those macrame plant holders that were all the rage in the 1970s.

Dress from Dijkstra's "Fantasy City" line. Credits Photoshoot: Fashion designs/styling and hairpieces: Maartje Dijkstra; Photographer: Igor Kruter. Models: Bart, Elisabeth, Beorn.

Dress from Dijkstra’s “Fantasy City” line.
Credits Photoshoot:
Fashion designs/styling and hairpieces: Maartje Dijkstra;
Photographer: Igor Kruter. Models: Bart, Elisabeth, Beorn.

Dijkstra’s 3D printed bracelet, for instance, is made from transparent, manually 3D printed elements, all produced using PET filament. It resembles a colorless skeletal structure like a rib cage and is supported on a band of woven, black silk/polyester wire that looks a great deal like braided human hair — hence, the artist’s reference to nature, but nature revised, industrialized (if that’s possible). The bracelet sells for €185, or about $225.

Seemingly the counterpart of the bracelet is Dijkstra’s 3D printed necklace, also incorporating PET filament and other materials such as the silver chain, the diamond-shaped black plastic stone, and the finishing touch — a small black Swarovksi stone. This piece also sells for €185 and has a gold twin in the same design. We love the fact that Dijkstra doesn’t seem intent on disguising the nature of her materials. The PET filament looks like what it is but is used and combined with other materials to give her work that interesting blend of industrial and organic, past and future.

Is it something you might wear? Let us know what you think about this collection over at the Dijkstra 3D Printed Haute Couture Jewelry forum thread at 3DPB.com.

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