Now you can 'print' your own shoes! Designing bespoke heels at home is the future of fashion
07:59 GMT, 11 June 2012
It’s the most frustrating scenario. You’ve got the perfect dress to wear tonight, but none of your heels look quite right with it. A frantic dash to the shops is usually your only answer — but soon there will be a simpler way.
According to trend forecaster Jane Monnington Boddy, a director for market analyst Stylesight (a company that works with Prada and Zara), within the next decade or so you’ll be able to quickly and cheaply ‘print’ your own perfect shoes at home. ‘This will revolutionise wardrobes,’ she says. ‘It really is the future of fashion.’
It may sound unbelievable, but crude versions of this new technology are already available for around 600 from online electronic shops such as desktopfactory.com. Like all hi-tech gadgetry, prices are expected to drop as the technology becomes more mainstream.
Ready to party: Print your favourite images on to a pair of shoes
You’ll be able to turn on your computer, download a design for new shoes and instantly ‘print’ it at home using a 3D printer.
How on earth does it work Well, 3D printing operates in a similar way to your inkjet printer, which prints ink in layers to form a image. Instead of ink, however, a 3D printer uses molten plastic to create a solid object.
Hundreds of fine, 0.1mm-thick layers are stuck on top of each other by the machine to produce the item. The printers themselves look like a cross between a microwave and a bread machine, and are about the same size.
To ‘purchase’ the item you require, you’ll simply log on to a website — some, such as shapeways.com, already exist — and pick an item you want to make, for instance a pair of shoes.
You’ll pay a small amount (delicate bangles and rings on shapeways.com start at 8, while a white mesh handbag is 15) then the design is ‘downloaded’ to your computer.
Then, simply use your 3D printer to make the product layer by layer, and wear them to your party.
The technology potentially also saves you more than just time and money. ‘3D printing cuts out shipping, so it’s eco-friendly, too,’ says Jane.
It’s a brave new world out there — is your wardrobe big enough to cope