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Fashion X Technology: Naim Josefi

Custom 3D-printed shoes look to microbiology for inspiration

by Meghan Killeen in Style on 11 September 2013

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Blending minimalism with a touch of whimsy, Swedish designer Naim Josefi has broken new ground on the runway. Drawing comparisons to icons like Alexander McQueen, Josefi has already established himself as a name synonymous with incredible innovation. Back in 2012, Josefi won an opportunity to showcase his collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as a winner on fashion design reality show Project Runway, and has continued to inspire and amaze. Exhibiting an innate ability to stay one step ahead of the careening fashion curve, Josefi isn't afraid of experimenting with new materials and technology. Josefi collaborated with designer Johan Walden for his premiere collection, Wana, a collection of hand-jewelry with sensual and interwoven accents made out lace.

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In sharp contrast to the soft textural interplay of his hand-jewelry, Josefi turned the fashion world on its heel with his debut of the first ever 3D-generated shoe, printed by Materialise. Referencing Josefi’s background in microbiology, the porous design of the Melonia heel is at once anatomical and architectural.

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Josefi joined industrial designer Souzan Yusouf to create the Melonia heel; a structural feat of technology customized to fit your feet. First, your foot is scanned to establish its shape, angles and contours. Then, a 3D model is rendered to fit the exact shape of your foot. The design file is submitted to the 3D printer where the shoes are built, layer by layer. The shoes are then ready to be worn instantly. Although Josefi explains that they’re "not made for a stroll in town," the shoe's customizability leaves room for real comfort. Labeled a "product of ecology," the Melonia's seamless material is conducive to recycling through duplication. These shoes' ingenuity has been endorsed by radical fashion enthusiast, Lady Gaga, and earned a nomination for the prestigious Brit Insurance Award.

A fitting complement to our collaborative exhibition with Moondial and Motorola, Josefi describes the shoes as a sort of futuristic vision of an ideal society, where the individuality of each person is in focus but simultaneously united.

Images courtesy of Materialise

Fashion X Technology is a show of innovative, tech-driven couture created in collaboration with Dr. Sabine Seymour of Moondial, presented at New York's OCBTW and brought to you by Motorola.

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