Photographer, Poblete Emilio
Donilia Swimwear, Anguilla
Donilia Reid, the face behind the brand
Love for the beach is inevitable if you live on the island of Anguilla. It beckons invitingly every day, luring both tourists and locals. The warmth of its powdery white sand and aquamarine waters can be enjoyed any day of the year, as Anguilla usually enjoys good weather, year-round. Being on the water is the favourite past-time of many residents and understandably so, because its picturesque beauty is irresistible.
With the beach being such an integral part of Anguillan life, swimwear is an important item of clothing, and it won’t be surprising to find that many people will have a few in the closet, as visits to the beach are frequent. The swimsuits that are likely to emerge on any given day, however, are far from ordinary. Anguillan Fashion Designer, Donilia Reid, turns fabric into swimsuit masterpieces that adorn female bodies of all ages on the island. Her love for the beach is skillfully reflected in the unique pieces she creates which are proudly worn by her clients.
Donilia is just 23 years old, but her keen beach-fashion sense and resulting works of art belies her tender age. A lot of thought goes into her pieces, but she does admit that her inspiration is based solely on the ideas of what she herself will like to wear. Her creativity flows freely and clients embrace it, with each piece she presents, gladly accepted. For her, creating swimwear is a natural process and her style is unmatched.
“Creating swimwear is fun,” she said. “I love to make playful pieces.”
You can certainly have a swimsuit to match your every mood and being an avid-beachgoer herself, this aids the creativity.
Growing up, sports was her main interest but Donilia also experimented occasionally with sewing. She remembers watching keenly as her mother adjusted outfits for work. The spark grew and at eleven years old she was already sewing clothes for her dolls by hand. Everything changed for her one day while she was playing the usual photoshoot game with her sister – her sister was the model and she produced the clothing and did their ‘photoshoots.’ Her selected clothing for her sister to model that day was a swimsuit, which she made. When her mom got home from work, she was so impressed with what she saw that she immediately telephoned Donilia’s school to ask whether there were any sewing programs she can attend. There was indeed a summer sewing program, she attended, learnt the basics of sewing and today she is changing the swimwear landscape in Anguilla.
Photographer, Poblete Emilio
I travel light. A large handbag into which my laptop, toiletries, makeup and a few other personal effects are thrown, is carried comfortably on my shoulders. Suitcases have long since being abandoned. As I confidently saunter through the airport terminal on the way to my next destination, I pull my purse protectively towards me, subconsciously cradling my precious laptop. Glancing down at my phone, I made a quick scan of print shops close to my hotel, already bookmarked for easy reference on my arrival. A chuckle escapes my lips, followed by a more confident stride. I’m good. The wardrobe saved in a file on my laptop will be printed quite easily. My thoughts quickly strayed to Israel and the person who made suitcase-free travel possible. Danit Peleg lingers appreciatively in my thoughts. She was the first person to create a 3D printed garment from her home – just amazing! Now, I travel light. Smiling smugly to myself, I continue along.
This may soon be a commonplace scenario in many countries of the world, as 3D printing in the fashion industry gains popularity. This emerging trend is being embraced by fashion designers around the world, and pre-pandemic, 3D printed collections were seen on runways during Fashion Weeks. This type of clothing may not be the choice of everyone, but environmentalists are watching closely with the hope that sustainability will supersede and the majority of clothing produced will be done with protection of the environment in mind. 3D printed clothing produces zero waste.
Six years ago, emerging fashion designer, Danit Peleg, introduced 3D printed garments to the world from designs created on a computer, then printed on a 3D desktop printer in her home. Interest was awakened world-wide and in 2016, American Paralympian, Amy Purdy wore a custom-made 3D printed dress at the Paralympic Games during her dance performance. The dress was designed and printed by Danit. Indeed, this concept was revolutionary, with implications going beyond the mere convenience of not having a wardrobe overflowing with clothes. Clothing can all reside on a flash drive or on a file on your computer. Using specialized software, garments can be designed on a computer, printed, worn, then the material can be recycled and reused for the next outfit. With 3D printers becoming more affordable for use at home and available in libraires and community print shops, this is one small way we can all do our part to help save the environment.
Danit pursues collaborations centered around: creating better software to allow for more designers to join the 3D fashion revolution; creating better technology that will improve on the clothing printing time; creating better filament and a wider variety, for printing. One of her more recent collaborations is with Moon Creative Labs in Palo Alto, California, where they are working together to create more wearable filament with a fabric-feel that is both printable and 100% recyclable. Her first garments were made with Filaflex, a flexible filament for 3D printers, which, although soft, is not exactly suitable for everyday wear. Her soon to be released filament will bring fashion designers one step closer to printing clothing that can be worn on a daily basis.
In an attempt to ensure 3D fashion printing does not lose momentum, Danit has developed her own online course, teaching students how to embark on their own 3D fashion design journey. She hopes to have more people learn about it as the digital age has opened the door to incredible opportunities for young designers. With this democratization of fashion, they can easily upload their designs online and potentially go viral as the entire digital world will now be their audience.
The 3D design and print process does not have a steep learning curve. Using Accumark 3D, the garment’s pattern is designed for dress, jacket, etc. – any pattern can be accommodated. The pattern, in pdf format is dragged into the software, Blender, in which the 3D modeling design takes place. Here, the density of the fabric, its structure etc., can be decided. You will be limited only by your imagination, however complex. When complete, you print, then assemble. Or, the file can be emailed to your client. This process is completely digital from the first step to the last.
Danit constantly promotes the sustainability features of 3D garment production. Garments are recyclable and provide a sustainable alternative to what is currently being used by the fashion industry. With 3D, there is no inventory, zero waste and no shipping costs. Over 15% of textile is wasted as fabric is cut to make an outfit. It all ends up in the landfill. With 3D, there are no leftovers. What you see on the computer screen is what will be printed. No cutting and no waste. When you have no more use for a 3D outfit, it can be fed into a small, desktop recycling machine that will crush it into powder which you can use to produce more filament to make new clothing. Pigment and dies can be added to the filament to get desired colours. Highlighting the circular 3D Digital fashion model that has been created, Danit encourages designers to “download digital file, print, wear, recycle, produce new filament, repeat the process.”