LONDON, United Kingdom — Remember Maison Martin Margiela’s L’Incognito sunglasses from 2008? Of course you do. A futuristic strip of dark polycarbonate that wrapped around the wearer’s eyes like an identity-obscuring black bar, they were an instant sell-out and are now sought-after collectibles. I missed my chance to buy them and I’ve regretted it ever since. Everyone has their version of this story, from the limited-edition Nikes that got away to a coveted vintage bracelet that’s now impossible to find. But in a fast-approaching future, you may be able to simply download a design file, the same way you might download an mp3, and ‘3D print’ all the products you want.
‘Rapid manufacturing’ may be a more accurate name for this instant production process, but with a PC, the right software and a 3D printer, it’s now possible to produce your very own sunglasses, jewellery or bikini. Within hours. From your kitchen table.