3D printed fashion is not unfamiliar to most people, it provides customizable capabilities while effectively improves durability, function and comfort. Many leading industry brands like Adidas and Nike have been exploring the manufacturing process of 3D printed shoes, but the marketplace has not seen much from them.
Today we spoke with Zixiong Wei (@scccccry), the designer and tech innovator hybrid behind 2020’s 3D printed footwear brand – SCRY Lab. The brand aims to take footwear as the research object to explore the possibility of future design and manufacturing. At the intersection of art, design, technology, culture and environment, SCRY strive to integrate leading innovation into real life. Under SCRY Lab’s digital embryo framework, a virtual version of a project can be released before it is born in the real world. Design no longer struggles with the costs of mold opening, time waste, and environmental pollution. Excellent design is no longer stuck in sketchbooks, everything will be possible.
In the future, we will launch highly customized shoes, and even let consumers decide which pair to produce from virtual shoes. This is very flexible, and we are constantly exploring.
Hello Zixiong, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you introduce yourself a little? Are you from the design side or tech side?
Zixiong Wei: My name is Zixiong Wei. My professional background is in innovation creative design direction, graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts School of Design(CAFA). As far as I am concerned, I tend to do art on the basis of technological innovation. I would say I always prioritize technological innovation first, and artistic innovation comes second.
What and/or who inspired you to work with 3D printing technology?
Zixiong Wei: When I first learned about this type of technology when I was a child, I was attracted by it. When I was in college, I got to know Neri Oxman of MIT Media Lab. Her works and viewpoints brought me many different perspectives and insights. If we are speaking about 3D printing, the vision of the future she showed has the greatest impact on me.
What’s your relationship with technology? How dependent are you on technology in your daily rituals?
Zixiong Wei: I really like to try the most cutting-edge technology in all walks of life, whether it is mature commercialization or still in the laboratory stage. In life, I don’t consider myself special, except that I spend more time with the computer.
What does SCRY stand for? What is the correct way of pronouncing it?
Zixiong Wei: SCRY stands for “foretell the future using a crystal ball” and is also the abbreviation of my personal Instagram account scccccry. Its pronunciation is /skraɪ/
The word “lab” is included in the brand name. We know that some 3D printing brands and/or studios innovates for other brands. Is SCRY 2B or 2C or both? What’s the business model behind this?
Zixiong Wei: Currently we are 2C, and we are more inclined to 2C. Our business model is highly digital. In the future, we will launch highly customized shoes, and even let consumers decide which pair to produce from virtual shoes. This is very flexible, and we are constantly exploring.
What was your inspiration to start SCRY Lab?
Zixiong Wei: Most of this may come from my own exploration. I will draw inspiration from many other industries, whether it is the creation itself or the work mode and manufacturing process.
I know you just went to Sneaker Con in Shanghai recently, how’s the 3D shoe design industry in China or Asia? What’s your positioning for SCRY?
Zixiong Wei: This question is very interesting. I think the acceptance of local Chinese brands in 3D printing is still relatively high, but it is more about application rather than development and research. Compared with large corporations, more interesting designs and products are seen in emerging brands. But there are certain differences between fashion companies and sports companies. Sports companies often have more resources and budgets to invest in technology development.
SCRY’s positioning is not just a 3D printing shoe company. We actually emphasize the whole ecology from digital design to digital manufacturing. We don’t want to position ourselves as a functional brand or fashion brand. The concept of Lab emphasizes that we do interesting and innovative things. In Layman’s terms, we use various leading technologies to do the most interesting projects.
SCRY Lab has dropped their first pre-order SCRY Shuttle Beta “Shadow” , available to purchase from Jan 1- Jan 5. For SCRY Shuttle, the whole shoe uses an integrated printing process to realize the manufacturing process without assembly, any unnecessary material waste or lengthy assembly line. The midsole of this shoe is fully filled with innovative lattice structure, giving it a soft foot experience. innovation design and manufacturing methods also contribute to Shuttle’s unique appearance and super-high design iteration capability.
Can you tell me a little about how your 3D printing technology works? Has it been done before? Is your method different from existing ones? What materials are you using?
Zixiong Wei: We cooperated with domestic polymer materials companies to develop light-curable materials suitable for full 3D printing shoes. The printing technology is HALS, you can understand it as a light curing device with very fast printing speed. Compared with existing light curing equipment, speed is its core advantage. Printing efficiency is the core issue for 3D printing technology to enter the market. At this point, we already have a solution.
How long does it take to make each shoe? Sizing? Made to order?
Zixiong Wei: We can complete a print in two hours, size and customization are completely feasible. The main thing is how to build a business model suitable for customized production, and we will soon launch related services.
The lines and structure of SCRY Shuttle are very fluid, can you talk about what’s your inspiration for the design of the shoes.
Zixiong Wei: I designed it with organic biological patterns in mind, but it doesn’t actually have a very concrete reference. At the same time, I hope that this pair of shoes is as diverse and organic as a creature, and different structural combinations constitute different functions, making it look complete and unique.
“Different engineering structures to achieve the required performance of different parts, and has the convenience of recycling far beyond other sports shoes in the recycling stage.”
Can you explain more about lattice structure? Are you using any other structure engineering methods/design? How is it easier to recycle than traditional sports shoes?
Zixiong Wei: Currently I have been using organic lattices similar to bone microstructures. In the subdivision of lattice, the discipline of architecture and aerospace may be more authoritative, and I have been learning and cooperating with them.
At present, almost all shoes and boots are products of the modern assembly industry, which are essentially a complex multi-material flexible assembly, which is fatal in the recycling stage because it’s difficult to separate these materials during the recycling process. I am obsessed with 3D printing shoes instead of just printing certain parts for this reason.
How was your first limited edition drop?
Zixiong Wei: For those of you who want to know more about our first footwear “Shadow”, its prices and product stories have been released on the official website. The first pre-order were scheduled between from 2021.1.1-2021.1.5 and we only limited to 200 pairs. Each priced at $650 with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. We have received much attention from fashion publications and social media platforms. We regard this launch as an experiment to test the waters. We are looking to release more in the coming month.
What’s your plan for SCRY in the future? Any projects we should save the dates for?
Zixiong Wei: The future of SCRY should be designed very fast iteratively. If you carefully understand SCRY’s Digital Embryo architecture, you will find that under this infrastructure, good designs can be produced very quickly. I think every product or cooperation behind SCRY is worth looking forward to, because we only create interesting projects.
What’s your opinion on the future of footwear?
Zixiong Wei: This is a complicated question. I have answered this question too many people before. In short, I think the threshold of shoemaking will be lowered a lot, and more new small brands will join the industry. Just like Tesla in the traditional auto industry, new technologies and new brands will subvert the existing giants.
And finally – on the scale of HYBRIDITY(mix between organic and tech), where do you think your brand is currently placed at?
Zixiong Wei: I think maybe 80
Would like to contribute or share your new innovation with us? SAY HELLO TO US