WHAT DOES 2016 HOLD? LOOK INTO OUR [3D-PRINTED] CRYSTAL BALL!

2016 will be the Year of the Monkey: an impatient, cunning and creative creature. Will fashion, retail and technology come together at last? Our eyes are on the makers’ community and their status quo shifting innovations.

Off with their heads! Narcissism is on the rise; and you can already get your head 3D-printed in chocolate with a juicy raspberry and crushed peanut stuffing to send to your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Millennials continue to push the boundaries of shameless self-promotion, but at least they’ve found a way of doing it in tasty style.

Bosom buddies: An ill-fitting bra is a perennial problem for most women, so we’re excited that Lidewij van Twillert will scan your body and 3D-print a delicate but firm bra support form that is bespoke to each individual breast shape. Just take our money and sign us up for a monthly subscription and a steady supply of new bra forms that actually fit.

Put your best foot forward: Running is the new black, so shoe companies are coming up with new solutions to the challenge of flexibility in running shoes. Cracking the impossible (until now) balance of weight and strength versus flexibility and durability, New Balance will gain the first advantage by launching a 3D-printed sole at CES Vegas in January 2016. Expect it to go swishing by on your morning run from Q2 of 2016. Marketing nonsense? Probably, but we’re tired of blisters you get from even the most expensive running shoes, so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Judge for yourself.

Every girl’s dream come true: The prize for the biggest marketing nonsense undoubtedly goes to the cosmetics industry. The costs are mainly in packaging, as a tiny product like eyeshadow is typically packed expensively to make it look more useful than it really is. Grace Choi, a serial inventor, says the game is up for the rip off masters, as her innovation will bring sense to a sense-less sector. She’s offering a make-up printer for $300 and FDA-approved cosmetic inks. All that’s needed at home is a colour picker to translate your desired colour within a photo to a hex code and voila, you can print lipstick or eyeshadow in the comfort of your own home with not a plastic box in sight. Grace’s solution saves hauling containers of eyeshadow and packaging all the way from China. Plus, local printing makes sense for your wallet and the environment as ink can be created locally. We’re in.

Gone fishing: Love shoes but want to do your bit for climate change in 2016? Adidas is having a go at reusing fishing nets from ocean waste to make material for their shoe soles. Using 3D-printed filaments made of recycled polyester and fishing nets, the sports shoe giant is throwing a challenge to the rest of the notoriously wasteful shoe industry. Can fast fashion become guilt-free if our old soles become truly recyclable? Can’t wait!

To win a new book by our favourite 3D digital artist and poet Corinne Whitaker, titled Shady Lady, send us a link or photo of a 3D-printed product that piqued your interest. We’ll take the winner for a very special lunch of 3D-printed food creations in a secret London location! Email all entries to hello@theretailpractice.com.

This is the last edition of [retail bytes] for 2015 – have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at The Retail Practice! We’ll be back in 2016.