Born and raised in Ukraine, Julia Daviy is the force behind the world’s first 3D-printed customizable skirt. During that process, she’s staked out the terms of a new era in clothing design: one that promotes economic justice and environmental responsibility. While working for a renewable-energy company, she became concerned with the environmentally and economically irresponsible means by which most garments are made. Her first line was made entirely of organic fabrics, but Daviy sought a more complete alternative to fashion’s status quo.
FM: Tell me about WILDZ.
JD: WILDZ was a brand of sustainable activewear and accessories I created four years ago. It was a great challenge for me dreaming about a true eco-friendly lifestyle, not sacrificing “style.” I tried to deliver a solution to the question: how could we create clothes to minimize our negative impact on the environment, humans, and other living beings? We used the best GOTS-certified organic fabrics (even exotic fabrics such as banana and soy protein), and we used the advanced technology printers for the creation of our prints on the fabrics, which had a certificate for their eco-friendliness.
How did you get involved with 3D printing?
Once working on WILDZ, I realized that eco-friendly material — and its fresh, eco-conscious design — is incredible and we passed this challenge, but the problem isn’t solved. The industry [as a whole] needs a sustainable process of production, supply, and consumption of apparel, and this event is the main task we need to solve to achieve what we call “sustainability.” I don’t like this word, because it has legalized many of greenwashing and deception. My goal and the goal for the clothing industry, as I see it, is to turn it into a positive-impact sector. It means to create and give more than consume.
What’s your background in fashion?
I don’t have one. Ten years ago, at the Intersolar Expo in Munich, I started to dream about smart clothing. Time passed, but nothing changed besides challenges — they are just increasing: climate change, growing uncertainty about the future of this planet, pollution. I wanted not only to work in clean-tech but to live sustainably. There was almost no choice for people like me — sustainable clothes, in most cases, were ugly and hard to find. So I started to work on WILDZ. Pretty soon, I started to take private lessons and passed courses on clothing design and sewing. I passed many courses connected with fashion, but I’m sure that my primary value is in clean-tech and tools for the creation of innovations, and most importantly, my experience and results.
What was the inspiration behind the Liberation Collection?
The main idea was to create wearable and flexible clothes entirely on 3D printers, which is the first part of my more significant challenge. I had to experiment a lot to accomplish this goal, and the result was not guaranteed at all. An established deadline motivated me to work 18 hours a day and to pass this “Ironman competition.”
Where do you see yourself heading in the next few years?
First of all, I’m not a fashion designer. At least, not in the traditional understanding of this word. My role is to design new solutions and to do the “impossible.” I love this more than designing dresses. Currently, I dream about an ecosystem involving more and more progressive people in the right fashion technologies. Technologies aren’t deterministic; they can be used for evil and good. People using technologies are deterministic. We need more smart people and new standards in the fashion industry; we need to work on the implementation of positive scenarios, not just run away from the consequences of our irresponsibility. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries and it has a lot of social and ethical problems as well. For this reason, today’s fashion needs both 3D printing and design.
What advice do you have for those interested in 3D designing?
Be ready. It will not be easy. Work hard, even though you won’t get quick results.
Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?
Everything we discussed is meaningless if the lives of humans and other species will not improve. 3D printing can be used not for the greater good, like many other technologies. We need to start discussing the ethical side of doing business in the fashion industry. We need to refuse to tolerate evil. Imagine, today, even with the current level of 3D printing development, leather can be 3D printed, and this is an almost zero-waste process. If 3D printing can humanize the leather industry, it would be huge.
I’m ready to educate companies and designers to accomplish this, and I encourage everyone to email to me at email@example.com.