February 18, 2014

If you have any female friends on Facebook you’ll probably have seen a close up picture of some elaborately decorated fingernails, complete with embedded Swaroksi Crystals. Nail Art is big business and a trend that is not going away as runways at this year’s New York Fashion Week prove.

Digital artists Sarah C. Awad and Dhemerae Ford have gone to new extremes in Nail Art with designs not possible with nail polish and diamantes, only possible with, of course, 3D Printing.

The two have combined to form a new label called TheLaserGirls and their Shapeways shop immediately became one of the most popular shops on the marketplace, so much so that Shapeways asked TheLaserGirls to be their designers in residence at their MAD Museum exhibition.

The designers met at the New York University 3D printing lab and, as they explained on the BBC radio show Outriders, this project made sense, “We began to notice that nail art was on the rise on the runways, it was becoming a lot more important, manicurists for the shows were being interviewed, magazines were putting a lot more emphasis on what people were wearing on their nails on the runway, celebrities on the red carpet, it was becoming more of a ‘thing’.” Explained Ford, “We always wanted to become involved in 3D printing fashion, it is a growth area, especially here in New York, there’s a ton of meets, fashion events etc. Those two worlds started to meet in our heads together and we figured that nobody was really doing 3D printed nails and we thought we combine both our interests into a great product.”

A great product is almost certainly what TheLaserGirls have produced, their popularity has even reportedly stretched to the world of celebrity; Superbad’s Emma Stone was apparently spotted wearing some 3D printed nails. But the first batch of nails weren’t such fashion necessities;  “We started out making completely unwearable designs and this was more for an actualisation of what we wanted to make and then we started to get some really positive feedback and people were like “Hey if these were only a little bit shorter and didn’t have this talon sticking out I’d wear them.” So we were surprised that there was actually a market for people who really wanted to wear 3D printed nails, a lot of upstart designers and people really involved in the fashion world are really interested in tech and how it relates to fashion. We decided maybe we should make nails that people can actually wear and people can express themselves that way.

The nails themselves are available in eight different designs on TheLaserGirls' Shapeways store and five different sizes, if you have no idea what size nails you’d be then fear not, TheLaserGirls have thought of everything; there’s a printable (paper of course) chart for you to figure out your nail size. The majority of the designs are mad in Nylon and died but the next step is an expansion on their metal-based nail art:

“Stainless steel nails were our next step and that’s a much more interesting form of the nails, they’re more of jewellery than fake nail, they’re more of an accessory than an integrated part of the hand. “

February 18, 2014

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