3D Printed Fashion: APEX Coat and Handbag Exhibited at GE’s Industry in 3D

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Last week, I attended the Industry in 3D conference, sponsored by GE, in New York. While much of the event focused on automotive, aerospace and medical uses of metal 3D printing, there were some more novel examples of 3D printing. There were 3D printed bicycle components, skateboard trucks, eyeglasses and smartphones. And there was a 3D printed coat and handbag by Alexis Walsh and Justin Hattendorf. This is not the first collaboration from Walsh and Hattendorf that we’ve covered. And we recently also covered the APEX Coat. Now the APEX collection has been expanded to six pieces.

APEX Coat at GE Industry in 3D [Image: Amy Pinard]

For the APEX series, the duo married handcrafted embellishments with a custom physics simulation to create 3D printed hardware for the garments. All the pieces were developed utilizing a custom app designed to merge complex, precise digital models with the tactile, intuitive nature of working by hand. Once printed, the translucent hardware is outfitted with brass threads and manually screwed onto the garments.

The APEX series explores this novel assembly technique through several variations. First, complex formations of the studs are designed within the garments’ flattened tailoring patterns. Bubble studs populate inside the boundaries of the top and spiked studs augment the curvature of the pants. Randomized diamond forms placed on the dress guide the fabric draping.

The shoulder bag utilizes strategically applied hardware to create structure and embellishment. The coat uses dense, fractured elements to ergonomically drape along the body. The clutch bag hardware acts as a handle for the wearer to grasp the bag.

APEX coat and handbag at the Harvard Identities Fashion Show [Image: Andrew P. Hill]

By infusing fashion design with 3D printing and simulation, the designs can be modeled quickly, iterated upon, produced and assembled. Custom, interactive algorithms ensure that each stud variation is of the same formal language, each with an entirely unique character from the last.

The entire APEX collection recently debuted at the Harvard Identities Fashion Show, held on April 8, and was curated and produced by Harvard.

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