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Love for 3D Printing in Design Earns Kiara Top Marks

Love for 3D Printing in Design Earns Kiara Top Marks


Fashion designing has been taken to a whole new ‘3D’ digital platform with the design works created by Kiara Gounder who graduated cum laude and received the Dean’s Merit Award for academic excellence on Tuesday (21 April 2015).

Her interests in 3D printing in design has earned her accolades at DUT. Gounder graduated for her Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Fashion and Textiles during the University’s April Graduation Ceremonies at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, DUT Steve Biko Campus.

Gounder, who is currently studying towards her Master’s in Fashion and Textiles and lectures part-time at DUT was excited to hear the news of her being the recipient of the Dean’s Merit Award.

“I feel very honoured and it is gratifying to know that DUT has recognised and acknowledged my work. As a student, I was encouraged to get involved with various competitions and young designer programmes which is the best way to promote your creative work. My BTech study in particular has opened a number of doors for me and I am very grateful for that,” she said.

Coming from a creative family of artists, musicians, including a great-grandfather who was a master tailor, made her choice of studying fashion the right career choice for her.

Gounder’s BTech research topic was on 3D Printing Revolution which focused on the impact of innovative technologies on fashion in South Africa. Part of her BTech was also a practical component element. “My practicals supported the theory part of the course and had photographic images showing how 3D design is created,” she said. She also made up garments to which 3D printed embellishments were attached or used for ornamental purposes. The study allowed her to expose the capabilities of 3D printing in fashion.

Gounder was also the recipient of a National Research Fund (NRF) scholarship last year (2014), providing her with an opportunity of experiment with the technology. She utilised the funding for the printing of her thesis, 3D printing of her designs, travel costs, fabric and trims, art supplies and the compilation of her final exhibition.

“Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s 2011 3D printed collection has just debuted at Paris fashion week. I was fascinated by the capabilities of 3D printing and the way van Herpen applied the technology to fashion.  Since then, I was determined to stay up to date with the technology’s progress within the fashion industry. 3D printing technology has been breaking new grounds in the international fashion industry but remains relatively unknown within South Africa. I used my BTech study as an opportunity to explore my own curiosity about 3D printing technology and to introduce the concept of 3D printed fashion on a local platform. My aim is to motivate more South African fashion designers and students to incorporate innovative technologies into their design practice,” she said excitedly.

Her experiment with 3D designing also led her to be given the opportunity to also showcase her work at this years’ Design Indaba in Cape Town. “Hundreds of emerging designers applied and only 46 were selected to exhibit. I was one of them,” she said excitedly. As part of her showcase, she exhibited the 3D printed pieces that formed the practical component to her 2014 BTech study.

In terms of 3D fashion designing and going forward, she believes it will form a vital part of the design industry.

“DUT has one of the best fashion design programmes in the country. The DUT fashion department gives students the knowledge, skills and expertise that is required to ‘survive’ the South African fashion industry,” she said.

Gounder hopes to design and create a commercial range of wearable garments with fully integrated flexible 3D printed components. Her ultimate dream would also be to work for one of the major fashion publications such as Vogue, W Magazine or ELLE. There are some potential projects in the pipeline that she is also looking forward to.

– Waheeda Peters

Pictured: Kiara Gounder

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