The glamorous, jet-setting life of a supermodel may become less exhausting–and possibly a little less glamorous–in the near-3D printing future. Images of supermodel, Karlie Kloss, in the latest edition of Vogue, standing goddess-like on the Athenian Acropolis, huddled with the famous terracotta warriors of Xi’an, and looking wistfully toward the fairy tale Neuschanstein Castle in Bavaria, are not what they seem. The 80-day whirlwind world tour featured in the fashion magazine’s article and fashion spread, “Where in the World is Karlie Kloss?” was embarked on, not by the supermodel herself, but by 50 3D printed, miniature, Kloss doppelgangers sporting the latest in haute couture. While Kloss stayed behind in New York City, the dolls, ranging in size from 4” to 6”, were sent on an 80-day-long journey–first stop, San Francisco, final stop, Tokyo. In the course of the 22-city tour, stops were as far flung as Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia and, fantastically, the Moon. In the process, reports Vogue, 13 dolls were broken and three went missing. One is still stuck in Customs in Marrakesh.
In a behind-the-scenes interview for Vogue, Kloss compared the 3D photo shoot to a traditional one: “On a normal photo shoot you’re interacting with everyone and the photographer is giving you direction. On this shoot, it was just like ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ and I’m in a circular dome by myself making it up as I go. I have no idea if I’m doing the right or wrong thing.” The “dome” Kloss describes was a 20’ circular structure on which was mounted nearly 100 3D cameras, rapidly photographing the model as she moved in the center of the circle. The 3D photo booth was provided by Direct Dimensions, Inc., a Maryland company that specializes, as their website explains, “in the on-stie application of digitizers, laser scanners, and the conversion of complex three-dimensional data into 3D computer models.” DDI converted the images of Kloss into models for 3D printing. The 40 Kloss miniatures were printed by Shapeways, the online 3D printing marketplace, at their New York factory using full color sandstone material. Shapeways industrial designer, Duann Scott, remarked on the Kloss-doll project and the burgeoning use of 3D scanning, modeling and printing in the fashion industry.
Until recently this technology was used primarily by “geeky” engineers and architects, observed Scott, “They did technical things. They did nothing creative. But then, the people who are on the intersection of geeky math and design or fashion started saying, ‘How can we make beautiful things or functional things using that same complexity?’”
Indeed, 3D-printing technology, from the basics to the “complexity” of which Scott speaks, has infused the fashion world with a breathtakingly broad vista of possibilities. While Shapeways already facilitates the printing of jewelry and other fashion accessories and there’s a great deal of excitement around the concept of scanning oneself and sending the scan on a virtual shopping excursion where designers take the specs and create individualized clothing, there are other possibilities. In a past Vogue interview, Gabriel Asfour of the avant-garde designer collective, threeASFOUR, discussed one very promising possibility: “We felt that 3D printing was allowing us to create new weaves that are not possible with traditional weaving techniques or traditional knitting techniques. Rather than waiting for fabric
manufacturing techniques to change, explained Asfour, the forward-thinking creators at threeASFOUR “wanted to create something that moves, that when you move, it moves with your body as well, so the best way to do this is with a weave, a new kind of weave–a future weave, I will say.” Asfour visualizes the weave of the future made possible by 3D printing technology, which becomes more sophisticated by the moment. Just as rapidly as fashion, what’s trendy, what’s hot, changes, and so does the technology that facilitates the intense creativity of today’s pioneers of haute couture.
While Kloss’s passport may have many fewer stamps these days, the excitement and glamour of the supermodel life seems assured, in no small measure thanks to the “geeky” innovators who will surely keep pushing 3D imaging and printing technologies to breathtaking, fashionable new heights. Discuss this interesting project in the Karlie Kloss 3D printing journey forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below showing some of the process that Karlie underwent as well as additional images.
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