Meet the Irishwoman creating ultra-desirable 3D-printed clothing for Loewe …
If talent and a thirst for creativity run in families then this is certainly the case for Irish furniture designer and interior designer Eimear Ryan. Her father Phelim, a talented joiner, built their family home himself – a replica Georgian house outside Newry. Taking the mantle, Ryan established Argot Studio, a furniture design studio, four years ago – it’s based out of Paris, a place she’s called home after stints in London, Florence and New York.
Now, Ryan’s latest project is with her new husband, Jean Éloi – the newest member of the Argot Studio team. The couple didn’t start small either, collaborating with heritage French fashion house Loewe on its latest collection. (Loewe is helmed by fellow Northern Irish designer Jonathan Anderson.)
The Loewe autumn winter 2022 show was all about the disorientation of the surrealism movement. No doubt scooping up the collective sense of discombobulation felt thanks to Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine. For the show, Argot Studio created a top and dress, both stand-out pieces thanks to their striking form and iridescent finish. Both were made using large-scale 3D printing, a technique that’s still somewhat of a novelty in the world of fashion. While the technique may be future-gazing, the look at Loewe has firm roots in tradition: paired with classic wool trousers, the pieces looked contemporary and appealing. We caught up with Eimear Ryan to hear all about the collaboration.
Main image credit: Pierre RK.
How did the project with Loewe come about?
The collaboration came about very slowly and naturally. It began when a friend of friend who works for Loewe attended our new studio opening, seeing what we do and how we had recently scaled up our printing capacity. He happened to mention that their team was always looking for new studios to collaborate with and that 3D printing was something they were trying to develop.
Some months passed and the Loewe design team contacted us to see if they could visit the studio. Since my husband has joined Argot Studio he has brought a very technical and research-led element to the way we work and so we prepared some samples of 3D printed materials that could work for fashion; different chain mails, tuiles and the flexible transparent that was used for the Loewe show.
After several back and forth exchanges the design team at Loewe shared the vision of what they would like to create. It had never been done and involved a very large scale 3D printer (which we didn’t yet possess) but we committed at our end to make it happen.
The 3D-printed dress and top developed for Loewe, photographed at the Argot studio.
How did it feel to collaborate with such a storied fashion house, particularly one that’s headed by a fellow Irish designer?
Firstly, the opportunity to work with such a fashion house was amazing. A massive bonus was that it is headed up by Jonathan Anderson, of course! It was also precisely the type of project we had been striving for. We really wanted to show people what’s possible with 3D printing and prove it can be taken seriously as a production method for the design and fashion worlds.
Tell us a bit about the workmanship involved in making the pieces. Jean-Éloi assembled the 3D printer from scratch (it took over 50 hours) and we set to work with our first samples. Together with our 3D model designer Romi and the Loewe design team we arrived at the final dress and top designs. These had to be adjusted several times due to printing constraints. As it was the first time 3D printing a complex design at such a large scale there were so many unforeseen complications that arose – and too many 2am visits to the studio to check printing progress. Even though the development period took four months, the timing was super tight at the end.
A 3D-printed top by Argot Studio on the catwalk at the Loewe autumn winter 2022 show in Paris.
Were you happy with the final result?
We were so nervous and excited to see if the pieces would make the cut for the show, which happened to take place the day before our wedding. It was stressful! Seeing two of the pieces we created walk in the show was an unbelievable feeling. It was great to see Jonathan and his team’s vision for a 3D-printed garment. The pieces were paired with a classic woolen trouser; this is a contrast we ourselves try to achieve in the studio in order to show how 3D printing can fit into a contemporary aesthetic.
What’s next for you?
We’re in the midst of large scale research to develop a furniture line, something that’s been in the works for a while. This was our first project of this sort with a fashion house but hopefully there will be more to come, too.
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