For a technology as diverse and adaptable as 3D printing it seems that the fashion industry doesn’t utilize it nearly often enough. While there are some designers who wholly embrace the use of 3D printing in their designs, sadly they are few and far between. While we’ve seen some amazing 3D printed clothing and shoes over the years, the technology still seems to be supported by newcomers and students more than actual established fashion industry leaders. Personally I think it has less to do with the ability of 3D printing to be useful and more to do with the fact that the fashion industry really likes the way that it does things and doesn’t see the need to change.
But young and up-and-coming designers tend to look far more favorably on 3D printing and what it can bring to the table. Rebecca Minkoff has seen her fashion star rise quite quickly thanks to her popular handbags, accessories, and unique and edgy line of women’s clothing and it is no coincidence that she has embraced new technology along her way to the top. A few months ago she made headlines for selling her own branded version of Google’s VR headset Cardboard, and last year she installed interactive touchscreen mirrors in her dressing rooms that allowed customers to order drinks and choose new items to try on so naturally 3D printing was next on her list.
This week on her blog, Rebecca Minkoff announced a collaboration with Normal Earbuds to produce a limited edition set of 3D Printed 14k Rose Gold Earbuds. If you’re unfamiliar with Normal, they are a great business that launched a few years back that offers a set of high-end earbuds that are custom 3D printed to fit an individual’s ear so they don’t slip out, and can’t comfortably be worn by anyone else. Because the earbuds are made specifically for the user’s ears, they won’t constantly fall out while being used and they won’t leak music, so the user will be able to hear their music better, and the rest of us don’t hear any music at all.
The Normal 3D printing factory is located in New York City and also acts as a storefront. Users can walk into the store and have their ears scanned, or use a free smartphone app that will use a series of photographs to generate the 3D model for the custom earbuds. Once the shape of the inner ear has been converted into a 3D printable file it is 3D printed in resin. For the limited edition Rebecca Minkoff Normal Earbuds the resin model will then be cast in 14k rose gold. Yes, it seems a little weird that you’ll be shoving solid gold earbuds into your ears, but fashion is nothing if it isn’t a bit ostentatious.
The limited edition rose gold earbuds are available from now until December 31st, 2015, and they can only be ordered at one of the Rebecca Minkoff stores located in New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. They can also be ordered directly from Normal at their New York storefront, and as an added bonus while visiting, you can also see the 3D printing process in person.