'We Had a Crush on the MakerBot': How 3-D Printing Won These Fashion Designers Over

A more technical name for 3-D printing is “additive manufacturing.” That’s because, when an item is produced with this technology, each iterative level is layer-by-layer placed one on top of the next. In other words, you can literally watch an item grow, from the bottom up.

For artists, creatives and designers, that’s a total trip.

“We had a crush on the MakerBot machine,” says fashion designer Nelly Zagury. She and her business partner, Célia Elmasu, became enchanted with the way 3-D printers give them complete control of the entire creative process. They don’t depend on any intermediaries to provide them parts. They can, on their own, at their own pace, and according to their own desires, create as many products as they want.

And that’s exactly what they do. The two French entrepreneurs, who split their time between Paris and Brooklyn, launched a 3-D printed jewelry design ecommerce startup in January called Holy Faya.

Entrepreneur caught up with Holy Faya at the Inside 3-D Printing conference during New York’s 3-D Print Week in April. The startup was one of a dozen brands included in the 3-D Print Design Show, a runway show featuring 3-D printed accessories.

Prior to launching Holy Faya, Zagury was a jewelry designer at Chanel, Boucheron and Swarovski. She was also the artistic designer at The Family, an entrepreneur support center that works with 270 startups. Elmasu, meanwhile, was a product designer for other big fashion houses, including Cartier, Ciroc and Ralph Lauren. Elmasu also has designed sets for Le Louvre and art galleries in Paris and New York City.

The duo 3-D prints their accessories -- bracelets, necklaces, belts and more -- in their home studio and then decorates them with pieces of material, from opalescent shell to iridescent fringe. Their simpler pieces sell for $80 while more complicated ones sell at about $400. Prices are set with each customer.

To launch the Holy Faya collection, Zagury and Elmasu shot a music video (embedded below) that tells the story of Amina, a fictional princess heroine from Hawaii who lives in Brooklyn and loves hip hop. “We storytell. This is the most important part for us,” says Zagury.

With the same fluidity that Zagury and Elmasu finish each other’s sentences, the Holy Faya brand and product intuitively and creatively interact with each other. It’s high tech meets high fashion in a princess story tale.

“We love to mix future and couture, which means a dream fantasy approach about using technology,” says Zagury. “The question is, ‘Do you make props for stage?’ or ‘Do you make real jewels for the street?’ And our ambition is to make the stage into the street.”