FASHION GETS HIGH-TECH WITH 3D PRINTED GARMENTS

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Wearable Stratasys and Materialise 3D printed pieces hit Paris Fashion Week at Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s Show, with the two manufacturers unveiling 3D printing collaborations on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week as part of van Herpen’s Haute Couture show, ‘VOLTAGE’.

Van Herpen’s eleven-piece collection featured two 3D printed ensembles, including an elaborate skirt and cape created in collaboration with artist, architect, designer and professor Neri Oxman from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT’s) Media Lab, and 3D printed by Stratasys. An intricate dress was also designed in collaboration with Austrian architect Julia Koerner, currently lecturer at UCLA Los Angeles, and 3D printed by Materialise, marking the second piece created together with Koerner and the ninth with Materialise.

The 3D printed skirt and cape were produced using Stratasys’ unique Objet Connex multi-material 3D printing technology, which allows a variety of material properties to be printed in a single build. This allowed both hard and soft materials to be incorporated within the design, crucial to the movement and texture of the piece. ‘The ability to vary softness and elasticity inspired us to design a ‘second skin’ for the body acting as armour-in-motion; in this way we were able to design not only the garment’s form but also its motion,’ said Oxman. ‘The incredible possibilities afforded by these new technologies allowed us to reinterpret the tradition of couture as ‘tech-couture’ where delicate hand-made embroidery and needlework is replaced by code.’

Van Herpen adds, ‘I feel it’s important that fashion can be about much more than consumerism, but also about new beginnings and self-expression, so my work very much comes from abstract ideas and using new techniques, not the re-invention of old ideas. I find the process of 3D printing fascinating because I believe it will only be a matter of time before we see the clothing we wear today produced with this technology, and it’s because it’s such a different way of manufacturing, adding layer-by-layer, it will be a great source of inspiration for new ideas.’

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