As 3D printing gradually inches its way into the fashion industry, individuals and companies continue to experiment with how the technology can be used in order to fabricate clothing unlike anything ever seen or worn in the past. Fashion is a funny thing. One day a style may attract all the hype, while the next day it is totally forgotten.
It’s just a matter of time before 3D printed clothing garners the attention of mainstream media and celebrities in Hollywood. Once this happens, there will be no stopping its potential in being adopted by “fashionistas” everywhere. For one Panamanian woman, named Nadir Gordon, currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and studying Fashion and Textile Design at the Universidad de Palermo, 3D printing became something fascinating to her. As part of her thesis for her class project, which asked to create something that represents the future of fashion, she designed a one-of-a-kind 3D printed swimsuit that will quite frankly blow your mind.
“I began to study the vast world of 3D printing and became fascinated by it, seeing it as an opportunity to create garments and accessories in an innovative way,” Gordon tells 3DPrint.com. “Designers like Iris Van Herpen and Francis Bitonti, with their sculpture-like pieces, inspired me to experiment with this technology that provides tools to create volume and shapes that are almost impossible to construct with fabrics and the traditional ways of creating a garment.”
After brainstorming a bit, she came up with a concept that involved waves, their constant motion, and how they crash against the sea’s surface and coastlines. She decided to come up with a design for a swimsuit which would capture the action of crashing waves as well as the mix of feelings, such as “peace and fierceness,” that is exuded in this marvelous phenomenon of nature.
For this project, which she calls “Waves,” Gordon began sketching her designs in 3D and then started working with a man named Jonathan Guerra, who is a 3D generalist based in Panama City, Panama.
“Designing it took less than a day,” Guerra tells 3DPrint.com. “Using Sketchfab really helped me and Nadir check and revise the suit to make sure it reflected her ideas. The complicated part was slicing and prepping for print. Once we decided the suit was ready to 3D print, I sliced it and exported it as 14 separate STLs. Since it came pre measured all I did was add it to Makerware and it already fit the tray, sometimes it told me that the mesh was bigger than the available space but I disregarded that.”
The swimsuit was broken down into 14 smaller parts, and then printed on Guerra’s MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. In all, it took about 70-90 hours to print. Once all the parts were printed out, Guerra used a soldering iron to fuse them together.
The initial plan was to 3D print the swimsuit using flexible PLA filament, but it proved to be too difficult to work with on such a complex mesh. After a couple hours of printing it with this material, the pieces started to wobble and become unstable, so they had to revert to using regular PLA.
“We certainly would like to do a 2.0 version of this prototype and use all the knowledge I got from this project,” Guerra tells us. “Also seeing the Nervous System’s Kinematics Dress gave us a lot of ideas on what to try next.”
As for how the swimsuit functions when worn, it is still a work in process. The model who was hired to wear the garment said that it was comfortable to wear, but they ended up having some issue with the areas where the dress was soldered together. Some of these parts broke from each other and had to be re-soldered.
“It’s easy to move in it, but it’s not functional to be worn daily,” Gordon tells us. “It’s intended to be an experiment that defies the paradigm that dictates the way a garment should be built. Based on [the] said experiment, we envision continuing to developing more garments that [are able to be] used on a daily bases, pieces that are functional and allow movement to the wearer. “
Even though she is still a student right now, Nadir Gordon appears to be well on her way to becoming a name we will all hear about when we talk about 3D printed fashion in the coming years. What do you think of Gordon’s design? Do you think that one day in the future we will actually see people walking the beaches in swimsuits that resemble “Waves”? Discuss in the 3D printed swimsuit forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the interactive Sketchfab rendering as well as some more photos below:
[Image source: Victor Giner Valverde]