From the 3D printer to the international podium


ROCIO handbags

It’s a new era for fashion as the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland (NMIS) opens the doors to sustainable runway-worthy fashion accessories created using 3D printing technology.

Following a research and development project with the Renfrewshire-based research center, which is managed by the University of Strathclyde, a reinvented ROCIO handbag is set to debut at Paris Fashion Week next season in March.

Founded in Scotland, ROCIO is a luxury eco-friendly fashion brand renowned for its decorative handbags, which are traditionally individually carved from acacia wood harvested in a meticulous 19-step process. Celebrities including models Irina Shayk and Kate Upton, as well as actress Susan Sarandon, have all been pictured carrying the handbags.

Additive manufacturing

The brand was eager to explore new sustainable manufacturing methods and combine the technological capabilities of NMIS with its own know-how to develop the internal structure of the bag that could be used as the basis for luxury fabric coverings. The collaboration began with the desire to discover the capabilities of additive manufacturing, which is often considered more sustainable than traditional manufacturing techniques.

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing where an object is constructed one thin layer at a time, allowing for unique personalization from various materials. The technique also enables the design and production of complex and lightweight shapes and structures that would be impossible to produce by other means, reducing waste during initial product development, saving time and production costs.

The integration of new technologies into the manufacturing process opens doors to increase operations to meet customer demand while simultaneously revolutionizing the design process, allowing ROCIO to explore different materials and designs.

Atelier, a fashion business school in Spain, then used this prototype to create a fully structured leather handbag – a first for ROCIO compared to its wooden product.

Endless possibilities

Andrew Brawley, NMIS Research and Design Engineer, said: “One of the main goals of NMIS is to engage with and support SMEs to facilitate a positive impact on the local economy and industry in the world. wider. We have a team dedicated to helping SMEs on their journey to innovate and exploit new goods and services in response to industry needs – and this ROCIO project is a perfect example.

“We hope this will be the start of a long-standing relationship of trust with the ROCIO team, as this new exploration showcases the endless possibilities available.”

The structure created captured the same structured art form as the ROCIO wooden bag sculptures, which allowed the brand to retain its aesthetic characteristics and silhouettes.

Hamish Menzies, Creative Director of ROCIO, said: “We are really surprised with the results. We are at the heart of sustainable fashion and pride ourselves on each accessory being a unique creative masterpiece. The pieces produced are works of art and this leather handbag concept offers exceptional beauty in a structured art form that I believe pushes the boundaries of design.

“For us, exploring the use of a 3D printed prototype is more cost, time and material efficient in the long run. By using this technology, we are one step closer to improvement. of our efforts to be even more sustainable, while unlocking and embracing the future capabilities of our industry.