3D printing and fashion have slowly been converging to create some really breathtaking and fascinating works of art. It seems as though it was just a couple years ago that the mention of 3D printing in the same sentence as clothing or footwear would only be following by laughs, shoulder shrugs, and rolling of the eyes. In the past year or so, however, the fashion industry seems to have really been taking a keen notice of this technology. We have seen designs created like nothing imagined before, and creations fabricated that fit the wearers’ bodies to a tee.
One fashion designer, who has really embraced 3D printing, is a woman named Iris van Herpen. She combines traditional handwork techniques with modern day digital technology such as 3D printing and laser cutting.
“For me, fashion is an expression of art that is very close[ly] related to me and to my body,” she explains. “I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. With my work, wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression. ‘Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion. Movement, so essential to and in the body, is just as important in my work. By bringing form, structure and materials together in a new manner, I try to suggest and realize optimal tension and movement.”
Van Herpen recently teamed with 3D printing company 3D Systems to create a portion of her new “Hacking Infinity” Spring 2015 collection that just debuted at the Paris Fashion Week. The collection was inspired by the concept of “hacking” the biosphere of another planet to allow human life.
“The main geometry was circular, alluding to the spherical shapes of planets,” Annie Shaw, Creative Director at 3D Systems, tells 3DPrint.com. “Van Herpen explored new terrains and geologies through alien forms in fabric, textures and treatments.”
Van Herpen worked closely with Italian architect Niccolo Casas in order to develop the design for an incredible crystal-esque dress for part of this collection. 3D Systems helped the two define the possibilities surrounding size, texture, and complexity of their 3D printable Accura Clearvue (SLA) material. This material was selected by van Herpen because of its ability to create a high level of detail, delicate refinement, and translucent quality.
Niccolo created a 3D scan of the model who would be wearing the dress, so that it would fit her body like a glove. Once the design was set, after many many hours of deliberation, and the 3D printable design was refined and prepared for printing, 3D Systems printed it out on their ProX 950 3D printer. It took an incredible 200 hours to print the dress in four separate pieces, then another several hours of hand-finishing and post processing to get it ready to wear.
“Compared to a handmade couture dress, this level of detail can only be created this quickly using 3D printing,” Shaw tells us. “In fact, this exact dress would be virtually impossible to make by hand.”
This isn’t the only piece that van Herpen used 3D printing to create. She also teamed with famous shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana, who has in the past created pieces for Lady Gaga. They created a pair of extremely unique crystal-inspired 3D printed shoes as well. The shoes were actually produced with more than one digital technology. Laser cutting was also used in order create the intricate details on the footwear.
3D Systems tells us that they plan on creating a line of accessories based on van Herpen’s “Hacking Infinity” collection, and making them available on their website, Cubify.com, so that anyone can own a piece of 3D printed fashion.
What do you think about this incredible dress and these astonishing shoes, created through the use of 3D printing technology? Would you wear something like this? Discuss in the Iris van Herpen’s 3D Printed Fashion forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the entire “Hacking Infinity” collection (note: not all 3D printed), as well as some more photos of the 3D printed items below.