TORONTO – With formal backgrounds in architecture and engineering, a foray into fashion may seem an unlikely career path for Luca Daniel Lavorato, Mario Christian Lavorato and Heng Tang.
But the Toronto-based trio have found an inventive way to translate their high-tech skills into wearable creations — with no sketching or sewing required.
The Lavorato brothers and Tang are the namesakes behind Daniel Christian Tang, a made-in-Canada label of 3D-printed luxury jewelry.
The unique pieces are created using architectural modelling software in tandem with 3D digital manufacturing technology. Their latest designs will be showcased on the runway Thursday at Toronto Fashion Week.
Tang and Mario Christian Lavorato, both 31, met at the University of Toronto, where they graduated from the masters of architecture program. During their studies, they started getting involved in digital fabrication and 3D printing, and worked on architectural pieces using the emerging technology.
“We realized at that time that we could actually take files and designs we had done for architecture and turn them into wearable pieces of art,” Mario Christian Lavorato recalled in a recent interview at an Oakville, Ont., 3D printing facility, where he and Tang awaited completion of one of their pieces.
“A lot of our pieces are inspiration from what we took from architecture, what we’ve designed, what we’ve learned in school,” said Tang, who also has a degree in biochemistry.
Rounding out the trio is Luca Daniel Lavorato, 28, a structural engineer.
His brother said a 3D print is normally fashioned from a high-resolution wax printer.
“The wax is melted out, and we’re able to inject that piece with whatever type of precious metals that we’re using.”
The label showcases bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings featuring wave-like forms, cylindrical shapes and honeycomb patterns. The items are cast in sterling silver, gold, platinum and rose gold.
Daniel Christian Tang will debut its Icon collection at Toronto Fashion Week, with each piece paying homage to a great architectural style or designer.
Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry was of particular inspiration to the label. In addition to his renowned architectural works — like the redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario — Gehry has also ventured into fashion design with an exclusive collection for jewellers Tiffany and Co.
“If you kind of look at the careers of the biggest architects, they begin to straddle this line of architecture and product design in everything from furniture to jewelry to even toasters,” said Mario Christian Lavorato.
“It’s a really interesting space to start out in architecture and then kind of find your way in a design path that you never know where you’re going to end up.”