Juniper Lai’s 3D Printed Menswear Line Takes First Prize at London Fashion Week Competition
Juniper Lai, BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology Menswear student at the London College of Fashion, has won first prize (£1000) at the 14th annual Fashion Awareness Direct competition at London Fashion Week. The shortlist included 16 other UK university students.
Each contestant showcased a mini-collection consisting of two outfits. The competition’s theme was ‘Physics Meets Fashion’, which, unsurprisingly, was to involve the creation of a collection that demonstrated a convergence of physics and design. Lai approached the theme with the laser sintering 3D printing technology, which she used to create a collection of oversized men’s garments — white shirts paired with cobalt blue dip dye shorts with ruched waistbands. The garments were constructed out of large ‘chainmail-like’ structures, which were designed by Francesco Napolitano, a Chelsea College of Art alumna.
Laser sintering produces parts that are suitable for both prototyping and production applications. The process is able to generate accurate and strong models and one-off prototype parts for design approval, trial and testing purposes, through to production components to be used in legitimate working environments. For original, low volume parts the process can prove economical and, in some cases, is environmentally friendly as any leftover material can be recycled for future use. Lai’s designs were 3D printed by UK 3D printing service provider 3T RPD.
Lai stated: “I feel happy to have won the F.A.D. competition, and honoured to have had the opportunity to show amongst other young talents. This gave me a great platform to showcase what I have been doing, an opportunity I couldn’t miss, so to win and represent LCF is wonderful.”
Rob Phillips, Creative Director of the School of Design & Technology :
This is a great win for Juniper and LCF. The F.A.D competition is a great platform and sends out a positive message to all young designers that are trying to get started in this industry.
Lai said that she prefers designing for men, but claims that she is inspired by women’s wear which is evident from the ‘slightly feminine undertones” in her work, also commenting that the menswear industry is more “exciting” with “more rules to be broken” than in the women’s wear industry.
Lai’s high level of technical expertise and use of additive manufacturing in her collection is what made her stand out, despite the tough competition from the other contestants. Geraldine Fox, Physics Artist in Residence at Imperial College and competition jury member, stated: “The quality of the work is really beautiful, and it’s lovely to see people using physics as a springboard for ideas.”
Lai says that she will debut more 3D printed garments in her final collection at Graduate Fashion Week: “It was inspired by alchemy and geometrics. I have a graduate exhibition in June for two weeks and I’ll be showing my full collection there.”