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MAAK: Pushing boundaries and borders

Holly Zapasnik

Fashion is consistently pushing boundaries.

With new technology emerging every day it wont be long before we see dresses like Katniss’ Hunger Games flame dress moving from the big screen to the runway.

Canberra based fashion label MAAK‘s newest dress is not too far from making this a reality as the first ever 4D dress is set to be printed in the coming weeks.

“My label is very personality focused,” explains founder Charne Esterhuizen. “I like variety. It pushes my creative processes and gives me a better understanding of consumer needs… Through this I’ve worked with artists such as Vera Blue and Canberra artists Hands like Houses.”

MAAK is a design label that experiments with different materials and approaches design in a unique way. In her FASHFEST debut in 2014, MAAK’s garment used ‘fosshape’; which is a material that, when heat activated, moulds to the body. Since then, Charne has experimented with 3D printing and other unique design materials.

“3D printing has been a major influence in my production and manufacturing cycles,” says Charne. “Although I manufacture hand made garments mainly, 3D printing is the future of custom made, made to measure garments.”

Charne Esterhuizen is MAAK. The South African born designer’s latest creation appears on the cover of HerCanberra’s latest issue of Magazine. It’s a powerful statement piece and it packs a punch. But Charne wants to go even further in her aesthetic.

Sinead wears dress, POA, by MAAK; shoes, by Dr Martens at Redpath's.

Sinead wears dress, POA, by MAAK; shoes, by Dr Martens at Redpath’s.

“3D printing works just like a standard printer but instead of printing on paper you print upwards and create a three-dimensional object from a design created on your computer. The ink is a filament that hardens after printing.”

While the majority of the industry is trying to keep up to date with 3D printing, Charne is already innovating beyond; experimenting with 4D printing.

“Imagine the 3D object that [you] just printed and imagine that object being able to move as soon as the sun hits it. It’s like a heat activated fibre like a butterfly – as soon as the sun hits the butterfly the wings open [and] as soon as the sun fades the butterfly wings close.”


MAAK has been invited to participate in Vancouver Fashion Week next year. For a young designer and small label, this would be a huge opportunity to be taken from a small, local label to the global stage.

Due to the small nature of the label, Charne is currently fundraising to be able to attend. This fundraising will cover flights, accomodation and the other associated costs expand beyond the label’s current means.

“Getting MAAK on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week would provide my brand with the exposure it needs that could create a life changing effect on my career as a young fashion designer,” says Charne.

To support MAAK clothing and help her get Charne’s designs on an international stage you can donate on her website at MAAK clothing.


Holly Zapasnik

Holly is a final year public relations student at University of Canberra who will talk your ear off about her dog, Archie (who she will claim is the cutest kelpie in the world). As a Canberran who has lived here her entire life, Holly enjoys quaint little bookstores full of character and making people uncomfortable with her terribly bad puns. When she isn't at home geeking out on her computer, Holly can be found lurking around dog parks patting and playing with the best of them. More about the Author

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