Fashion Designer Babette Sperling Uses WillowFlex Filament to 3D Print Secret Messages in Natural Materials
That’s something that was weighing on German fashion designer Babette Sperling when she embarked on her design career last year. As she saw it, there were three major issues with 3D printed fashion:
- Wearability. Again, 3D printed fashion is generally not designed for day-to-day wear, and isn’t exactly comfortable.
- Most of the collections shown on runways are created with multi-material 3D printers that aren’t accessible to most end users.
- The materials used in 3D printed fashion don’t tend to have much of an emphasis on sustainability – their origin and ecological impact aren’t often taken into consideration.
Those were the issues Sperling decided to address as she began planning her first collection, which she was developing for a September 2016 debut at Mercedes Fashion Night in Zwickau, Germany. Her goal was to create clothing using FDM 3D printing and natural, compostable materials, and she came up with a wonderfully creative design idea: she would 3D print text in Braille directly onto fabric to create customized, secret messages.
It wasn’t a simple task; Sperling experimented with a wide array of fabrics, printing materials and techniques before settling on what she would use.
“The ability to directly 3D print on fabric is specific to both the selected printed and the material that has been selected. With the help from the Fab Lab Dresden, we tested approximately 15 different material combinations before stumbling upon a solution that satisfied all of my design requirements,” said Sperling. “The crucial advice came from one of my new 3D printing experts: I discovered a Start Up from Berlin who developed the world’s first flexible 3D print filament from compostable raw materials and had recently launched to the market with the help of a Crowdfunding Campaign.”
That startup was BioInspiration, whose 2015 Kickstarter campaign for WillowFlex organic filament was a huge success that greatly surpassed its fundraising goal. Recently, we saw the material used to create a compostable shoe prototype, and it lent itself perfectly to what Sperling was trying to do. WillowFlex had strong adhesion to natural materials such as cotton and silk, and Sperling used it to not only 3D print her Braille messages onto the fabric but to create several buttons of varying sizes at the last minute.
Her mission was accomplished – a line of attractive, wearable clothing created with natural and accessible materials and technology. Everyone at Mercedes Fashion Night loved it, too – Sperling’s collection was given the Audience Choice Award and was nominated to be part of two future Fashion Award competitions.
“I am very happy that I discovered a 3D print filament that allows itself to integrate so seamlessly into my fashion design,” she said. “The certification of the raw material for compostability according to US and EU standards (EN 13423) fits perfectly into my concept for a full-circle sustainable product design that enables clothing that can return to nature after their lifecycle. WillowFlex proved itself as compatible for use in all the 3D printers that we used in our testing process (Ultimaker, Flashforge, and Makerbot). Thank you to the team at BioInspiration. My enthusiasm for the material is stocked and further clothing designs are already being planned!”
Discuss in the WillowFlex forum at 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
The Role of Occupational Therapists in 3D Printing & DIY Assistive Technology
Researchers from Belgium and The Netherlands offer the details of their recent study ‘Makers in Healthcare: The Role of Occupational Therapists in the Design of DIY Assistive Technology,’ exploring the...
New Frameworks for Contour-Parallel Toolpaths in FDM 3D Printing
Researchers Tim Kuipers, Eugni L. Doubrovski, Jun Wu, and Charlie C.L. Wang have released the findings of a new study in the recently published ‘A framework for adaptive width control...
PolarOnyx Researchers Use Mixed Powders and Laser 3D Printing to Make Radial Collimators
A collimator is a device that narrows a beam of particles or waves, and radial collimators can oscillate several degrees at a sample position. That’s why neutron collimators are used...
3D-Printed Bioplastics Analyzed for Material Defects & Degradation
Researchers from Poland and Spain seek more answers in the realm of materials science, releasing their findings in ‘Three-Dimensional Printed PLA and PLA/PHA Dumbbell-Shaped Specimens: Material Defects and Their Impact...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.