Today we see the juxtaposition of the very old and traditional mixed with progressive new technology such as 3D printing. This is happening as many countries begin to embrace new ways to fabricate parts—and even props, as demonstrated by PhD students from the famous London Royal College of Art, Mingjing Lin and Tsai-Chun Huang, within the Fold the Inter-fashionality project. Here, we see 3D printing used to make costumes for an opera, ‘Farewell My Concubine’ – opening in December.
The Sinterit SLS Lisa desktop 3D printer was used in this exciting project, and is a piece of hardware we have reported on repeatedly, in regard to its creation by ex-Google employees, as well as its growing affordability and accessibility and looks at real-world applications. The designers were able to put it to good use in this application, where decoration is used sparingly but precisely. They also mixed 3D printing and pleating—a traditional art—to make a completely new fabric for the costumes. According to Sinterit, this allows them to further explore “the relation between motion, the body, and fashion.”
With 3D printing, the designers were able to create innovative geometries, almost like sculptures.
Using Flexa Black as a material for the SLS 3D printer, they were able to pull off creating the new pleated fabric, which is both pliable and flexible. Tsai-Chun Huan designed the costume materials, while Mingjing Lin developed it into a unique algorithm.
“It was important for us to create a new, groundbreaking costume, which shape and form will refer to the traditional Beijing Opera. In accordance with the previous aesthetics the project has assumed a simplification of the form – more subtleness thanks to using monochromatic colours and less decorations,” says the designer, Mingjing Jin.
“The costumes have been printed with the use of the cutting-edge SLS technology (selective laser sintering) offered by Sinterit 3D printers. Over-designed and complex projects could not be executed with the use of classic techniques of constructing and sewing fabrics. The properties of the Flexa Black fabric allowed us to maintain the geometrical structure of the costume and a softness resembling that which characterizes traditional fabrics.”
Such innovation may even draw a new crowd, as they hear about the transformation from the traditionally heavy costumes.
“When undertaking their works in terms of the project, Mingjing Lin and Tsai-Chun Huang were aware that it significantly extends outside of the field of fashion,” states the Sinterit team in a press release sent to 3DPrint.com. “It constitutes a clear reflection of a cultural exchange, a dialogue between the East and West, modernity and tradition, technology and craftsmanship.”
“It is a significant step which shows the scale of permeation between seemingly unrelated fields: culture, art and technology.”
Since 2014, the Sinterit team has been catering to designers interested in breaking out into the world of 3D printing with SLS technology—as well as learning to manufacture pieces in their individual workshops. Since, designers have used 3D printing in both opera and the fashion world.
“Craftsmanship, deeply rooted in tradition, has gained a new dimension and designs composed of parts printed in the 3D SLS technology are more and more often included in the prestigious fashion category of haute-couture,” states the Sinterit team.
3D printing continues to prove beneficial in theatrical environments, showcased in costumes such as these, operatic set design, costuming for professional and academic productions, a variety of film props, and even helping performers medically.
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