Another exploratory 3D print business venture has launched, 3DTie, which, unsurprisingly, produces a line of 3D printed ties.
From their site, they explain:
Designed by a software architect and manufactured on a 3D printer, 3DTie is a new category in the necktie fashion. This plastic tie has a modular construction and can be customized for every occasion.
It looks great with a dress shirt or a t-shirt. Wear it to the office, a party, or a red carpet event, you are guaranteed to get noticed!
Indeed, you will certainly get noticed. But is that a good or bad thing? This is the crux of their business proposition: will such a fashion item catch on? In such matters, things can go either way: a huge craze or an embarrassing temporary fad, or worse. There is likely no in-between scenario.
This is not unique to 3D printed fashion; any revolutionary fashion wear is a kind of a gamble, attempting to see if the style resonates with wearers in some way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why you have professional fashion designers: they tend to have a better track record in such matters.
Physically, the ties are well-designed. They include a simple and mostly foolproof mechanism for attaching it to your neck, avoiding the “how do I tie this?” problem found with traditional ties.
All ties seem to use a standard triangular segment design, where the three sides of the triangle form hinges to create a semi-flexible artifact. It’s an easy-to-print design, which the company offers in no less than twelve colors, plus some combination patterns.
Stylistically, 3DTie offers a couple of basic shapes, as well as different knot-shapes that can be applied to the top of the tie. You can select from two different lengths.
Pricing on the ties is somewhat more than you’d pay for a traditional tie, with the lowest price currently on their site at USD$138 for a single color “skinny” tie. The most expensive item is the USD$200 “Salsa” tie, which has a slightly different pattern:
A two-color 3d printed tie combining Lace Effect and Dance designs. The top color produces a Dance ornament inspired by circle dancing and designed exclusively for 3DTie by a Russian artist Sonyagala. Flexible fabric-like structure made of regular triangular tiles. Straight down shape, four tiles or 2 1/4" wide.
I like the idea of this experiment, but I’m unsure it will succeed. On the one hand, a 3D printed tie would certainly get attention as it would likely be the only one in the room. On the other hand, fashion masters might deplore the design. This is where 3DTie might benefit from having a fashion designer on staff to help develop highly unusual designs that could catch on with larger markets.
Those most fascinated by the idea of a 3D printed tie might just be 3D print enthusiasts, who would probably just print their own anyway. Clearly 3DTie’s market must be the general public.
Time will tell if this works.