This post is part of a series in partnership with MakerCon, which takes place September 24th in New York. MakerCon connects the individuals at the forefront of the maker movement and taps into the best thinking on how to make things and get them to market, from new technologies to manufacturing models to funding methods.

Danit Peleg, 27, created the first 3D-printed fashion collection printed entirely using home printers. The project, which was part of her graduate collection for her Fashion Design degree at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv, took 9 months of research and development, more than 2,000 hours to print (about 400 hours/outfit), and has received international media attention. We were excited to catch up with Danit about what the process was like and what it took to make this dream a reality.

The textile designs were inspired by Andreas Bastian’s Mesostructured Cellular Materials. By printing these structures with FilaFlex filament & Witbox home printers, Danit created new textiles that she could design fashion with.

Was there an “Aha!” moment when you realized that you wanted to pursue fashion design influenced and enabled by technology?

I was always interested in the connection between technology and fashion. Last year, I made a wearable – a dress that lights up when you send it lovely text messages.

There was no aha moment that I remember. But when I was a child I loved experimenting with materials – I would call it “science” and do lots of experiments with all kind of liquids and chemicals and fabrics to see what the result would be. I think this curiosity in making physical things is key for makers.

This project was a graduate collection for your degree at Shenkar in Tel Aviv but you have interned in New York and participated in global design challenges. What would you say makes the maker community in Tel Aviv unique compared to other parts of the world?

I think it’s very accessible. People here are very supportive and open to giving their time and knowledge. There are no formalities and relationships are immediately casual even with strangers, which helps focus on the content and making. You just walk in to a makerspace like XLN and immediately can get help and feedback. I formed such strong relationships there that they would give me the key to the door to their space and I would spend nights researching printers and materials. The fact that there are no formal barriers, helps innovation.

Your first piece was the Liberty Jacket, in part inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People. What was it about this painting that inspired you? Where else do you get inspiration for your designs?

There are a few aspects to the painting that inspired me: the very fact that it’s about freedom and 3D printing for me represents the freedom to create, the colors – which I modified to look like the colors you see through 3D glasses, and the composition which has lots of triangles.

Printer at homeThis project took 2000 hours and 9 months of research and development, that’s a lot of time and trial and error. Were there days where you wanted to give up? How did you overcome those moments?

I never thought of giving up, but I was tempted many times to resort to using fabrics. The easy way out would be to use some kind of fabric to “fill the gaps” in the collection. It’s when I found the way to make textiles (with the mesostructure) that I realized I could print something that could be used in a scalable way. I also was pretty sure I would miss my school’s deadline about a month before, because I calculated that I would need an average of 4 printers printing 24/7 for a month to be able to finish the collection. Luckily my boyfriend Dan helped me with managing the printing process with an elaborate spreadsheet that helped me make sure I was on track.

As 3D-printing technology continues to evolve and become more mainstream and accessible, how do you think it is going to impact the fashion industry?

It’s going to be nuts. It will change everything: shipping, purchasing, retailing, buying, sharing, marketing, etc. The whole process will change as soon as we are really able to print with materials that we know today (like cotton or polyester). People will be able to instantly share a new designs on the Internet, and print them at home. If the technology evolves as we think it will, the fashion industry will completely change.

Your project received a lot of media attention, and now you are a speaker at MakerCon in New York this month. Have there been other opportunities that have come out of this story that you’re particularly excited about?

I am going to be in 6 cities around the world in the next 2 months, which is super exciting to me. I am really happy to be invited to showcase my collection to so many people. I never expected to get such an amazing reception. I am also working on a couple of secret projects :)

38What has surprised you most from this entire process from when you started in 2014 to today?

During the year, my teachers were pretty skeptical about the whole project. They doubted the potential and they had some difficulty understanding my vision. The most surprising part for me was the dissonance between their skepticism and the incredible media reception and the global attention the collection has received.

In addition to your design work you are also the founder of an after-school fashion course for girls aged 7-13 where you teach arts, crafts, the basics for fashion design, and 3D printing. What advice do you give the girls participating in your school who want to get involved in the maker movement?

They are already a part of the maker movement. The fact that they come to this course makes them part of it. I teach them that it’s important to share their ideas and processes with other girls. When a girl is worried that other girls will copy her idea, I tell her that it’s important to share and inspire others – that’s what the maker movement is all about.

I show them that you can make high quality items from your house, and how fun it is to use it and wear it knowing that you made it and didn’t just buy it.

Learn more about Danit and follow her projects on her websiteInstagram, and Facebook





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