Even though Shami Oshun grew up in the Bay Area with Silicon Valley basically across the street, when she first heard the term “3D printing” in high school she had no idea what that meant. Her interest was piqued, so she took a summer class to learn the ins and outs of the trade.
Inspired by Iris van Herpen’s integration of 3D printing into haute couture, Oshun saw the possibilities of the technology and started experimenting and teaching herself.
Oshun started her self-titled brand in 2015 as “a really depressed sophomore in high school” when she started designing clothes and posting them on social media. She didn’t have much of a following at the start, but it’s five years later and she has almost 19,000 followers on , 15,000 followers on , and her fair share of viral tweets.
The end of an era is coming pic.twitter.com/8w6QEowOSZ
— Shami Oshun (@bluexheeta) February 24, 2020
Her unique designs integrate tech into fashion in an eye-catching way, most notably in her 3D-printed and color-changing work. Oshun 3D prints items like earrings and her signature Bev Bags, designed to be a fashionable, on-the-go drink holder (in part fueled by her love for boba). Both the earrings and Bev Bags come in color-changing options, but they aren’t the only designs by Oshun that switch their hue — she also uses a color-changing fabric to create clothing, bags, and face masks. Oshun says lots of research and deep-diving go into sourcing her materials.
A lover of sci-fi and futuristic movies, Oshun says she always has the drive to push and do something outside the box that hasn’t been done before. Though this drive is typically in the back of her mind when she creates.
“My best ideas have just always been stuff that I like and I personally want to wear and use,” Oshun says. “But I think it’s just in the back of my head where it’s just like, ‘how can we take it to the next level?’”
When it comes to technology, Oshun says what makes it special is that there are unlimited possibilities. And fashion is all about what you wear and how you express yourself, so she says she feels like the merging of the two gives people new, unlimited ways to express themselves.
She loves the fashion aspect of what she does, but getting people into the tech side is what Oshun says she’s really about. She recounts a career test she took in high school and seeing doctor and lawyer shows up as the high-paying jobs, but she wants people to know that those aren’t the only jobs that offer a way up — there are big money and different kinds of career paths in the tech industry.
Fashion is the fun part for Oshun, and in the next few years, she says she hopes to see her brand keep growing into something big because the hardest part about wanting to be an haute couture brand is that the pieces are really expensive and take a long time to create. So, she wants to build a foundation for her brand that allows her to focus more on doing artsy, fun things with her designs.
In the past couple of months, Oshun has seen support for Black-owned businesses surge, and she predicts that momentum will stick around. She says it makes her really happy to see Black businesses, like her own, thriving at this moment and moving forward.