Designers and engineers have now been using 3D printers for over a decade to create prototypes, small parts and also just purely experimental pieces. Since 2010 the cost of 3D printers has decreased dramatically to a fraction of the price now making it possible to buy yourself a desktop 3D printer for your home or studio. Meanwhile the possibilities of this technology are increasing rapidly and we are seeing everything from large-scale industrial machines such as cars, aircraft parts and even houses to micro-scale organic products such as human skin grafts and bone prosthetics being printed. This exciting new technology is rapidly developing in many diverse industries and with our love of wearable technology growing just as rapidly, Fashion Designers are creating some incredible wearable designs. In this report we look at the best use of 3D printing technology in Fashion Design… so far.
In March 1983 when inventor Chuck Hull developed the solid imaging process known as stereolithography and created the world’s first 3D printed object, he knew that his invention would change the world as we know it.
Now, 31 years later, 3D printing technology has revolutionised the manufacturing industry and is currently the most exciting trend in Fashion Design, it not only enables designers to create elaborate and intricate shapes, this rapidly developing technology is also redefining the manufacturing process and the fashion industry itself.
This one invention stands to solve many of the problems that fashion designers have struggled with for years. Issues of manufacturing costs, production quantities and time but most importantly fair working conditions for the people who are producing the end pieces.
Fashion designers are always searching for new materials and textiles with which to create and express their concepts and now scientists and engineers have created a whole new toolbox they can work with. With the possibilities of creating the perfect fit by scanning the body and then printing the fabric directly, the designer can create unique pieces of bespoke Haute Couture in a fraction of the time and cost it traditionally would. What once was a long and expensive process can now be attained at the push of a button.
Jonathan Askin, a professor at the Brooklyn Law School and consultant in Internet law in reflection on this new accessibility says
“We are living a world in which fashion and design take on a personal element. The same way anyone is now a publisher or a music distributor, now almost everyone can become a fashion creator.”
IRIS VAN HERPEN
The first fashion designer to use the technology and undoubtedly a leader in 3D printed fashion design is Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen. Iris created her first 3D-printed design in 2010 in collaboration with the London-based architect Daniel Widrig and printed with MGX by Materialise in a collection called “CRYSTALLIZATION” shown at Amsterdam Fashion Week that year. Under the tagline “Chaos as Structure”, the collection was a beautiful reproduction of the seemingly chaotic transition of water into ice realised with mathematical precision in 3D printing.
Van Herpen and Widrig also collaborated on “Escapism,” a high-tech haute couture collection inspired by the addictive and transparent nature of digital entertainment and media.
Their designs were fabricated by Materialise which they rendered using selective laser-sintering in Polyamide to create the lightweight filigree that was capable of holding the delicate folded forms.
Last year her collection “VOLTAGE”, inspired by the natural electricity of the human body, won the Best Fashion award at last year’s Dutch Design Festival. Drawing on the idea of movement, the flexible 3D printed dresses are a result of collaborations with Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab, Keren Oxman and Prof. Craig Carter of MIT with Stratasys, and architect Julia Koerner from Materialise.
Her latest work is BIOPIRACY, a womenswear collection for A/W 2014, of which the concept is a question of the ownership of our own genetics. Van Herpen states
“In the recent past, patents on our genes have been purchased. Are we still the sole proprietor of our bodies? From this question arises a sense of arrested freedom in one’s most intimate, solitary state.”
To present her concept of “arrested freedom” the designer had an installation piece by Belgian artist Lawrence Malstaf where 3 models were vacuum packed in large sheets of transparent sheeting as background to the collection. The 3D printing collaboration with Julia Koerner produced a kinetic dress that was designed to amplify the wearers movement and “dance” as they walked. With shoemakers United Nude she produced 3D printed boots in ankle and knee lengths that were designed to alter the sillouhette and did so with bold curved lines and thick platform soles.
“Working with Iris Van Herpen is each time a big challenge for us as she pushes boundaries with ideas for things that have never been done before,”
-United Nude founder Rem D Koolhaas.
FRANCIS BITONTI & MICHAEL SCHMIDT
Now one of the world’s most famous dresses, the collaboration of fashion & jewellery designer Michael Schmidt and architect and designer Francis Bitonti, produced the worlds first fully articulated 3D printed dress for burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. The dress was conceived from the idea of beauty inherent in the Fibonacci sequence, a natural flow that defines aesthetics, and was 3D printed in 17 Nylon pieces by Shapeways.
The duo designed the dress to be flexible like a second skin and formed to accentuate the curvature beauty of Dita’s body stating that comfortable movement was aided by nearly 3000 unique articulated joints. Once assembled, the 17 pieces were first dyed black, then lacquered and finally decorated with 12,000 Swarovski crystals.
Francis Bitonti has pursued the design of 3D printed dresses, stating that he found the concept of creating a second skin for the body much like his architectural work of creating a facade for a building and describes his design process as “…a collaboration with artificial intelligence.” In 2013 Francis Bitonti launched the New Skin’s Workshop Series in Brooklyn, New York a course that’s aimed at providing students with the tools and software they need to develop the possibilities of 3D printed garments in what he calls “Computational fashion design”. As Bitonti explains, “The workshop is about finding the new aesthetic formal language of this new manufacturing paradigm. It’s not just about replicating a form from the computer, though that is part of it—it’s about cultivating new material behaviors.”
The New Skin’s Workshops are now available in San Francisco and London and are taking enrolment via his website.
The first 3D printed dress conceived by the New Skins Workshop is the Verlan Dress, an exoskeletal form of intricate weavings in bone white. The dress was printed in sections using a new flexible filament created by MakerBot “The idea was to create a landscape of geometric effects, things that would have different material behaviours in different parts of the body.”.
You can view the printing process in this video from design magazine Dzeen
This year Bitonti created the Bristle Dress, his second fashion piece developed in his New Skins workshop. The dress consists of two main parts the ‘skirt’ part which was printed flat and was more akin to the traditional method of pattern-making, and the upper ‘cloud’ part which was printed in one piece. The dress was made by a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer using the same MakerBot Flexible Filament and MakerBot Natural PLA Filament as the Verlan Dress and lining the ‘skirt’ part with fake rabbit fur. Bitonti says the idea was about engaging the silhouette of the body and “…bleeding the body into the atmosphere”. Speaking about working with 3D printing technology, he states that
“…it’s a materiality that every designer has to learn to become acquainted with … every tool has it’s limits but this has far less limits than any other tool I’ve ever used.”
From dresses to hats the work of Italian milliner Gabriela Ligenza combines contemporary, sculptural shapes with a soft femininity. Describing her hats as being “like sculptures on the move”, this designer has put her training as an architect and interior designer to work to produce stunning modern millinery with a poetic touch. In her five piece collection she presents timeless forms such as “Mobius Nautilus”; a hat designed on the aesthetics of a seashell another creation inspired by the popular Fibonacci sequence.
“Cirrus”; a delicate sweeping series of lines inspired by cirrus cloud formations and the mathematical art of Francesco de Comite.
In the “Amish” hat those same delicate lines are reformed into a traditional style of headwear worn by Amish women.
Another cultural reference; the “Turban” hat, imitates the folds of a classic women’s turban.
Ligenza’s most celebrated work however is the “Poem” hat whose simple concept belies it’s powerful impact. Woven together in a classic bowl shape are the words of John Tessimond’s poem “Day Dream” another version of this hat, “The Royal Meeting”, was made especially for the British Royal Ascot event and was commissioned by Great British Racing. It is formed from the words of the poem written by The Racing Poet, Henry Birtles.
The F/W 2014 Capsule Collection was created to coincide with the Royal Ascot racing event and was a collaboration with Francesco de Comite, an expert of mathematical art from the University of Science and Technology in Lille, France; Joaquin Baldwin, an animator and storyteller, and Adam Mellotte of Inner Leaf, a 3D modeler specializing in designs for fashion and TV.
From her experience working with both traditional craft methods and emerging technology, Ligenza feels that…
“With clever balance, old and new crafts and techniques can exist in harmony. Technology, when applied correctly, needn’t conflict with centuries old art forms,”.
MASSIMO NICOSIA & RICHARD BECKETT
Earlier this year, Massimo Nicosia new Creative Director with fashion brand Pringle of Scotland collaborated with architect and “material scientist” Richard Beckett on a series of 3D printed fabrics for their Autumn/Winter 2014 collection making it the first time this technology was used in the ready-to-wear category. After discovering Beckett’s work at a MOMA exhibition in New York, Nicosia was eager to collaborate. The aim was to create a fabric that would move as fluidly as a traditionally woven fabric to blend the technology with Pringle’s established brand identity. To realise this Beckett used a specific type of machinery: the EOS Formiga P100 SLS system that is capable of creating minute Nylon parts at high definition in over 1,000 different geometries that interweave to become a textile that moves fluidly with the body that wears it.
The printed parts were then joined with the knitwear by hand, stitching or weaving them to the wool and as raised elements in the argyle prints on sweaters, the aran and cable knits and as finishing details of the sleeves and cuffs. Pringle’s AW14 collection marks the first 3d print technology to be used in ready to wear clothing and rather than being a core part of the garment, it is used in a mainly ornamental way making it easier to wear off the catwalk.
In 3D printed jewellery design there is already a generic trend toward geometric diamonds, pyramids and reflected fractals. Much of this is due to the simplicity of creating such a design as the framework is basic.
AmniosyA however are one group of designers that have envisioned an entirely different direction and created wonderful ergonomic pieces that are inspired by the fluid movement of ink in water. Their project ENTROPYA consists of a large torc style neck piece and a bracelet both rendered in polyamide and sprayed black to finish. The resulting texture looks like matte moulded leather. “Our research is focused on the world of ‘new technologies’ and dynamic simulations used as the beginning of a morphological shape.
The group met each other at the University of Architecture in Florence came together as a research group in 2011 by their mentor, Marino Moretti. Now working as Studio AmniosyA in the areas of Architecture, Design and Fashion.
“Our philosophy is creating alternative forms and design methods through an unconventional way of thinking. Our ideas are sometimes connected to scientific studies, other times inspired by art or nature, related to some particular feelings.”
Having only recently graduated in engineering and design Noa Raviv has already made a mark with her beautiful and original couture collection “Hard Copy”. The young designer cited the evolution of classical sculpture and it’s loss of meaning through endless repetition as her point of departure for the project,
“We live in a culture where everything is replicated, so what is the value of an original object?”.
Raviv has deliberately created defective digital images with 3D software producing deformed objects that were created by a command that the software is not able to execute. These objects cannot be printed, nor produced in reality. They exist only in the virtual space. ”The tension between the real and the virtual, between 2D and 3D inspired me to create this collection.” Using pleated fabric, tulle, silk organza and 3D printed polymer to create her collection, Raviv has produced a symbiosis between the traditional and the experimental that truly stands out from the exoskeletal work of other 3D print designers. In contrast “Hard Copy” is a soft and voluminous render of what could be a sketchbook scribble of cyber clown’s costume with it’s delicate ruffles bulging out over stark black and white ruled grids and laced with highlights of acidic orange. ““While working on a 3D software, I was fascinated by the grid shown on the 2D screen and the way black repetitive lines define voluminous objects. I’ve translated those lines into textiles that creates this sort of optical illusion.”
The World’s First Fully Articulated 3-D Printed Gown
MakerBot Stories | Francis Bitonti Studio
Royal Ascot fashion: Hats off to technology!
IRIS VAN HERPEN – Portrait by Jean Baptiste Mondino, Stage Photography by Photography by Michel Zoeter Shoes by UnitedNude
FRANCIS BITONTI – Francis Bitonti Studios
MICHAEL SCHMIDT – Michael Smith Studios & Photographer Albert Sanchez
GABRIELA LIGENZA – Gabriela Ligenza Hats Photography by Josh Shinner
MASSIMO NICOSIA & RICHARD BECKETT FOR PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND – Photos from Pringle of Scotland
AMNIOSYA – Printed by iMaterialise, photos from Studio Amniosya
NOA RAVIV – Photography by Ron Kedmi