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Emerging artists, especially those working in non-traditional media, often find it difficult to make ends meet and get access to the equipment and materials they need to create their work. Fortunately, there are organizations like Eyebeam that help foster the creative visions of these mavericks. Eyebeam is a non-profit art and technology center that exposes the public to the merging of new technologies and media arts, while helping artists through residences and fellowships, and running educational programs for students of all ages.

Eyebeam ran a Computational Fashion Master class this year in partnership with Shapeways, bringing together fifteen fashion designers, engineers, and media artists from across North America and Asia to build skills and collaboratively design at the intersection of fashion and technology. After a challenging and rigorous class taught by expert practitioners and artists in the fields of fashion, 3D modeling, and 3D printing, five groups of artists produced brand new pieces that break away from conventional dress in favor of conceiving garments and accessories that do not yet exist.

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The Making Patterns exhibit, running July 24th – September 17th at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, showcased the work of these artists. Combining traditional fashion techniques and emerging technologies, each piece functions as an extension or augmentation of the body, exploring concepts such as second skin and performative textiles, as well as responsive and kinetic structures. At the Re-making Patterns Opening reception on September 10th, I was able to experience these wonderous designs first hand and speak to some of the artists about their work. One of the most interesting collections was called Butterfly Microstructures by designers Kate Chapman Specter, Kim Magloire and Sayeh Sayar.

Below is a look at the Butterfly Microstructures collection:

According to the trio:

“Butterfly Microstructures is a collection of accessories, including two collars, a hat, a necklace and two bracelets, inspired by the microscopic geometry found in butterfly wing scales, butterfly eggs and male butterfly scent particles that are released to attract mates. The main structures of the two collars, hat and bracelets use two different patterns, hexagonal and triangular, chosen from the wide variety of shapes found in different species of butterfly eggs. We explored the interplay of the hexagonal and triangular patterns when stacked on each other. We added other microscopic forms as decorative elements to the pieces, both integrated into the nylon pieces and as separate metal beads and charms for a necklace, both in solid bronze with a heat patina and in gold-plated brass.”

Biomimicry is a hot trend in 3D printed fashion design and the Butterfly Microstructure collection was light and airy like the delicate, ephemeral creatures that inspired it. It also was evident in the Poseidon 3D printed shawl by Andrea van Hintum, Hillary Sampliner and Billy Dang, which was modeled after shark skin.

Below is a look at the Poseidon shawl:

It’s interesting how high-tech fashion is being created through programming and math, while still taking inspiration from nature. As 3D printing becomes more prevalent in the fashion industry, there is bound to be an abundance of unique garments and apparel that couldn’t be created any other way. It’s exciting to see new designers entering the field without traditional fashion backgrounds. Below are some of the other fascinating designs from the show:





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