Kanye has never been afraid of saying something a little crazy (re: his entire VMAs acceptance speech). And while we’re still not totally sure if what he said a few weeks ago was insane or genius, we do know that he usually sticks by his comments, which is why we’re so baffled about what he said yesterday when he made a rare appearance on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
In a recent episode, Kanye toured Armenia’s Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies. When introduced to their 3D printers Kanye said,”This is what I’m afraid of – because the Internet destroyed the music industry and now, this is what we’re afraid of right now with the textile industry.” He went on to say: “there will come a time when people are making their shoes at home.” The tour guide pointed out that although this technology exists, real design skills are still required to make anything worthwhile but Kanye seemed to stand by his idea that the fashion industry is ultimately doomed.
We got in touch with the founder of Electroloom, Aaron Rowley to see if Kanye’s fears are founded. If you haven’t heard of Electroloom yet (or you weren’t at Re:Make), it’s a new technology that’s making big waves as the world’s first ever 3D fabric printer.
Aaron stated out by saying that he understands the comparison between music and the increasingly tech-heavy world of fashion but argues that it’s important to keep in mind all the new opportunity that has come to the music industry thanks to the Internet. Using Kanye’s analogy, he told us: “The Internet – particularly tools like YouTube and Kickstarter – have become extremely powerful platforms for musicians and artists to promote themselves and showcase their talent without having to ‘break in’ to the industry. When systems evolve, there will be those that praise it and those that deride it, so his [Kanye’s] fears don’t really surprise me.”
Aaron is well-aware that Electroloom and 3D printing may eventually result in people printing their own clothing and shoes at home, but he makes sure to add that – similar to tech innovations like YouTube or Soundcloud – new talent will also emerge from this. “More people will have the chance at expressing their creativity, developing a talent and breaking into the fashion space. Developing this technology is really about giving people access to the clothing paradigm,” he tells us. “Clothing is a really intimate part of our daily lives, considering that we wear it nearly all day. And yet, it’s rare that we ever have a say in how clothes look, other than through our purchases. Fundamentally, we want people to be able to enjoy and explore the creative process of fashion.”
While Aaron doesn’t agree with Kanye on a grand scale he does leave us with a final thought to chew on. “There are countless people in fashion that have the exact opposite opinion of Kanye — they are inspired and eager to see such a future fully realized,” he says. “But we shouldn’t ignore his fears because there is still a human side to fashion that may change and I think that is worth paying attention to.”
What are your thoughts on this issue? Share with us in the comments below.
(Photos via Chelsea Lauren/Ilya S. Savenok/Getty)