We’re seeing more 3D printed fashions on the runways these days, especially now that there are 3D printers that can create both multi-colored and multi-layered materials. And, unlike the stiff creations of the early days, the finished pieces are much more flexible and wearable. Though still a long way off from the feel of cotton, these new materials and innovations have sped up the evolution of this technology and allowed designers to push limits even more. 3D printing has become transformative for designers and digital fabricators, and has led to some amazing collaborations with companies like Stratasys of MN, Materialise of Belgium, Shapeways factory in NYC, and Nervous System, also of NYC.
Here’s a look at some amazing 3D fashion designers and some fantastic collaborations:
• Iris van Herpen This Dutch-born pioneer who worked with Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf, has created some mesmerizing 3D garments.
Her runways have featured Couture designs that are truly pushing all boundaries. Herpen imagines clothing that reexamines the human body and it’s natural form in creations that are sculptural and innovative.
Iris has very diverse sources of inspiration such as art, science, nature and even the Large Haldron Collider at the Swiss Scientific Reasearch Facility CERN, where magnetic field are created thousands of times greater than earth’s. This led to her Magnetic Motion collection (2015), in which dresses are “grown” with magnets in a manipulated material made from iron filings mixed with resin.
• ThreeASFOUR, ThreeaASFOUR, is a fashion collective based in NYC, and they were recently honored by Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum for their radical contribution to fashion industry- which has been likened to the advent of Lycra!
What’s fascinating is their inspiration and deep interest in vibrations and the mathematical shapes, patterns and formations that occur at various frequencies. The result was a dress titled “Oscillation”. Conceived by Travis Fitch and ThreeASFOUR, and enabled by a collaboration with Stratasys, this multi-colored creation visualizes 3D patterns in nature, and interwoven, interlocking structures. It’s made of 30 individual sections and fits together like a puzzle. Additional collaborations include their Biomimicry collection, and the debut of 3D printed “Pangolin”, and “Harmonograph”, from the Fall/Winter Collection earlier this year. (Courtesy http://www.3ders.org/articles/20160216-threeasfour-unveils-two-spectacular-3d-printed-dresses-at-new-york-fashion-week.html)
•Noa Raviv Noa’s brilliant 3D designs incorporate distorted grids, ruffled structures, and flowing illustrations that appear to bloom out of flat surfaces.
While only a fourth year student at Shenkar College of Design in Ramat Gan, Israel, she has already garnered international attention for her stunning work that combines grid patterns and 3D printed pieces to create garments that are disruptive sculptural apparitions. The grid, a ubiquitous element in any 3D design, becomes the narrator in showing voluminous shapes, distortion, evoking optical illlusions. Mostly monochrome, translucent, with details accented in orange, the garments are sheer with tulle and silk organza that is ruffled, layered, and pleated into bulbous shapes play with the eye.
• Bradley Rothenberg In collaboration with designers Katie Gallagher and Katya Leonovich, Bradley Rothenberg has developed a series of very wearable 3D printed textiles that have been made into various pieces.
These interlocking mesh structures are made using flexible new materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane that are both comfortable and wearable, and are thickened or thinned on various parts of the body for ultimate flexibility. Using a technology called Selective Laser Sintering, Bradley Rothenburg Studio is able to make complex interlocking shapes in which there are no support structures, allowing the ultimate freedom in geometry.
• Alexa Walsh Both her LYSIS collection, and her dress titled “The Spire” were on display for NYFW, revealing how Alexis uses 3D printing to produce totally unique shapes and structures.
Made up of over 400 individual tiles, all 3D printed, the dress is hand-assembled with tiny metal connecting rings. Inspired by cathedral spires, the dress takes a geometric journey around the model’s body. The LYSIS collection includes a variety of other 3D printed pieces that complement the “Spire” dress and are meant to “mimic the growth of viral structures while blending organic shapes with rigid silhouettes”.
• Gabriel Lignea In 2014, Gabriel Ligenza launched her collection of 3D printed hats for Ascot. Trained as an architect and interior designer, Gabriel collaborated with 3D designers to help create these previously impossible structures, that push the boundaries of traditional millinery.
Mathematical forms found in nature, such as nautilus, cardioids, and mobius strips are reference in this collection. Nylon was the obvious choice because of its lightness and flexibility, and ability to hold fine details. One hat is made from the words of a poem called “Day Dream” by John Tessimond. Gabriel worked with Adam Mellotte to translate it into a printable file.
• Karl Lagerfield for Chanel From a distance, the Chanel jackets look very similar to the iconic styles that Coco made popular in the 20’s.
But close up, you come to realize these jackets are actually composed of 3D printed grids that are moulded out of a supple material and layered together with laser sintering to be embroidered later by Chanel’s couture ateliers. Sequins are added underneath to give a two-toned effect. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, the designer said: “What keeps couture alive, is to move with the times. If it stays like sleeping beauty in the woods in an ivory tower, you can forget it. The women who buy couture today are not the bourgeoises of the past, they are young, modern women.” http://www.racked.com/2015/9/24/9372551/chanels-couture-collection-3d-printing#4838226
•Ying Gao This Quebec-based designer has taken 3D technology to another level with her garment called “(No)where (Now)here” a photo-luminescent dress that is interlaced with eye-tracking technology which actually responds to the spectator’s gaze. This sound-activated garment is comprise of thousands of metallic pins that move with fluidity in response to ambient noises or voices. http://www.coolhunting.com/style/fashion-x-technology-ying-gao
3D Fashion designers depend on a collaborative relationship with the manufacturing, printing and software companies to bring their ideas to life. Here are a few of the most popular:
• Nervous System Nervous System is a generative design studio that creates computer simulations to generate designs and digital fabrication to realize new products. In 2013, they came out with a dress that was digitally fabricated using a (4D) system they call Kinematics, which allows them to make foldable, complex interlocking elements that make the dress more wearable and moveable.
At the NYC Shapeways factory, thousands of interlocking components are printed as one single piece requiring no assembly whatsoever, and ready to wear right out of the printer. It has been added to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. http://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/projects/sets/kinematics-dress/
• Materialise Materialise is a Belguim based global leader in Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) that develops software and systems like Build Processor, which simplifies the 3D printing workflow. Materialise is dedicatied to to the engineering, development and application of 3D Printing. They collaborates with 3D machine manufacturers like HP, and also, many designers including Iris ban Herpen, Noa Raviv, ThreeASFOUR, Bradley Rothenburg and others, to realize their designs by working to create printable 3D files. One of those is a dress titled “Escapism” by Iris Van Herpen and Daniel Widrig which uses highly intricate geometries to create an architectural structure that superimposes multiple layers of thin woven lines that animate the body of the wearer.
Another is a black dress called Voltage- designed with Julia Koerner and printed by Materialise. The complex texture of the dress was created through selective laser sintering- fusing small particles together with a laser. “The architectural structure aims to superimpose multiple layers of thin woven lines, which animate the body in an organic way,” said Koerner.
•Shapeways Shapeways is a Dutch company based in NYC that is marketplace and service bureau, printing 3D projects for users who can choose from over 55 materials and finishes, which include: plastics, precious metals, steel , and porcelain.
• Aiman Akhtar Lastly, in honor of Halloween, here is a stunning 3D printed costume by LA artist Aiman Akhtar which incorporates fiber optics.
Akhtar has been working in the 3D world as a freelancer for over a decade and has been recognized for his talents by 3d World and garnered the 3D Total Excellence Award for his work. This costume was commissioned by 3D World magazine and printed by Shapeways, 3D Hubs, and XYZ Limitless, taking a total of 4 months to research and build.
Where will he go from here? We can’t wait to find out!
Photos courtesy of ThreeAsFour, Dezeen.com, 3Ders.org. , Nervous System, Noa Raviv, and Materialise. The text of “Oscillation is a 3D Printed Dress Inspired by Quantum Physics” by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.