We have indeed reached that technologically-advanced period in our world where it has become possible to print clothes using 3D printing technology. During the Paris Fashion Week, which occurred in the 3rd week of January this year, there was a surprising feature that put people in awe. Instead of the typical needlework and embroidery, a certain technological code was used to produce clothes that are fit for the runway. These clothes were not sewn. They were printed. Designers called this “tech couture.”
The People Behind the 3D Dresses in the Paris Fashion Week
There were 2 pieces that were featured in the runway of the Paris Fashion Week. It was a collaboration between the designing talents of Iris van Herpen, who is a Dutch designer; the 3D printing companies Materialise and Stratasys; Julia Koerner, who is Austrian architect; and Neri Oxman, a media lab professor from MIT.
For one of the two dresses, Herpen and Oxman used Object Connex mulitmaterial 3D printing technology. This made it possible for the creators of the 3D dress to combine hard and soft materials in just one build. The other dress made by Herpen with Koerner from the 3d printing technology of Materialise, focused more on superimposing thin woven lines in multiple layers like an architectural creation.
How 3D Printing Works on Clothes
Generally, 3D printers have the ability to form materials like metals, molten plastics, and other types of materials into perfect shapes. Laser beams are used to put together layers of different materials like recycled plastic powder and form into clothing that are form-fitting. Aside from Herpen’s creation, there have already been many clothes created out of this technology. In fact, there are already some designs that are on display at the Museum of Modern Art in the City of New York by Freedom of Creation.
How 3D Printing Affects the Fashion World
From the point of view of the Dutch designer, Iris van Herpen, fashion is not just about consumerism, but more on self-expression. Herpen further added that the presentation of these 2 dresses is a manifestation of new beginnings and new techniques. This is true in a lot of aspects, given that the idea of holding fashion shows is to present different designs from various materials, as well as show the talent and creativity of different designers. This also just proves that technology and fashion can very well work together to create beautiful pieces of clothing. It is also good for the environment since recycled materials can be used for these creations.
There may be other conservative views, that are more inclined to keeping printing technology out of the context of creating clothes, which traditionally are made using the skills and manual labor of a human being. As a preemptive answer to possible comments like this, Herpen also commented that 3D clothing is not a reinvention of old ideas, but more of looking forward that the time may indeed come when the clothing that we use will be produced by this kind of technology. Moreover, according to Harpen this can be a source of inspiration for new ideas.