Julian Hakes – Greater design innovation with 3D printing

Case Study

//Julian Hakes – Greater design innovation with 3D printing
Julian Hakes – Greater design innovation with 3D printing2018-12-07T15:26:55+00:00

Fast, risk-free product design and prototyping

Using 3D printing technology, Julian Hakes can now make as many as five iterations per prototype, creating designs that weren’t possible before. Model scaling is easy, and it’s far simpler to communicate ideas with colleagues and business partners.

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“Ultimaker is a fantastic machine to have in the studio. 3D printing technology will allow the creation of much more bespoke footwear – and whilst at the moment it is limited to accessories, it won’t be long before we can make a solid, reliable, wearable shoe, directly from 3D printing.e.”

Julian Hakes, fashion designer

Julian Hakes Fashion 3D Printing Logo

Julian Hakes – Introduction

Julian Hakes is an award-winning fashion footwear designer and the creative director of Julian Hakes London. A few years back, Julian noted that there
was a lack of evolution in the shoe industry, which inspired him to design a shoe with a “twist.” The innovative design, which he named the Mojito Shoe protects the foot while providing proper heel support—combining ergonomics with aesthetic appeal. However, he realized that, in order to achieve his design vision, it would need considerable testing and modelling. He’d heard about 3D printing and was actively seeking a fast, reliable 3D desktop printer to help him with his innovative designs. He first discovered Ultimaker at the 3D Print Show in New York in 2015, where he happened to be exhibiting his Mojito Shoe footwear on the catwalk. Using his Ultimaker machine, Julian was able to create numerous prototypes and iterations to ensure the design was perfect. The accessibility of this additive manufacturing solution enabled him to challenge

the industry status quo and create a genuine market changer. Since then, the Mojito Shoe has been featured in top publications, such as Elle and Vogue, and has been mass-produced on a global scale.


In the past, designers like Julian had to depend on third-party
contractors, which meant they were forced to work according
to the contractor’s schedule. As a result, making iterations took
a lot of time and money. Sometimes, teams had to wait weeks
just to make a single change to his design. “When you are
working on a project, there are thousands of ideas over there
and not all of them work,” Julian explains. “If you choose the
one that beats the competition, that’s great. And the ones that
you try that don’t work give you the clues on what will work.”

Julian Hakes 3D Printed Shoe
Julian Hakes 3D printed shoe


After considerable research and testing, Julian selected an
Ultimaker 3D printer. He liked the machine’s speed, accuracy,
and reliability, which were ideal for his requirements. He was
able to create multiple prototypes in-house and perfect his
designs. After having validated the concept in a cost-effective
way, Julian could proceed with the final product creation at a
lower risk. This level of flexibility opened many more doors for
Julian, letting him share his creative visions with a far greater
audience. Having an Ultimaker in-house also makes it easier
to communicate ideas between his London and Hong Kong
offices. It means Julian can create very stable, useable parts
for catwalk presentations, not to mention fast-proof concept
models—flexibly and quickly.


In eighteen months, Julian made over one hundred prints
and modifications—far more than would have been possible
using third-party suppliers. Material costs and printing times
are successfully managed by adjusting the model size, and it’s
much easier to modify, collaborate, and get innovative with
the manufacturing process.

Prototyping time is around 1.5 hours in total—far quicker than
it would have been in the past. The extra time means Julian can
work on other projects.

• Create prototypes in hours—not weeks
• Collaborate and communicate with ease
• Greater design innovation
• Maintain a competitive edge

Julian Hakes 3D Printed shoe london

Cost and Time Saved using 3D Printing

“Material costs are irrelevant,” Julian says. “As if you know it’s going to take a long time, you can simply print it smaller.” Using the correct material was a top priority, and after considerable experimentation, Julian decided to use Ultimaker’s own range of tested materials. These, in combination with his Ultimaker 2, meant he had the confidence to leave the machine printing overnight, knowing that he’d be pleased with the results in the morning.

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers

Iterations /product 3 Iterations / product 50
Cost / prototype $400 Cost / prototype $50
Time / prototype 8 weeks Time / prototype 1 week
In 18 months, Julian made over 100 prints and modifications – far more than would have been possible using 3rd party suppliers. Material costs and printing times are successfully managed by adjusting the model size, and it’s much easier to modify, collaborate, and get innovative with the manufacturing process.

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