Designing 3d Printed Dresses – Fashion as Design

3d Printed Dresses

Usually, there’s an instinct, an idea, and when the instinct resonates between the three of us, then we feel like we need to make it to bring it to life and each time it comes to life; it depends who’s guiding this instinct to come to life. So whether it is a pattern who’s guiding it, whether it’s one of us who’s guiding it, whether it’s a textile or a technology, that dictates how this idea is going to come to life. Lovely smell by being involved in all kinds of intricate geometry, it required us to go further and further into means of expressing that geometry. So that led us directly into 3D printing because that enabled us to express exact geometry. I met Gabi, Adi, and Angie through a mutual friend, probably Rothenberg, who had been doing some of the earlier work with him.

Some earlier textile work, I had been kind of exploring pattering systems as it relates to architecture, and how you kind of tile space. I have always been interested in how you could do similar things in different design disciplines. Fashion, I think in particular and when I kind of first met three AS FOUR and was exposed to their work, I was struck by how they are exploring a similar thing, mainly geometry and how you can kind of wrap a form in it, or wrap a human body in it, in this case. They had a relationship with Stratus’s, the 3D printing company, to do a dress, kind of sponsoring the fabrication of the dress. So when we started, the project was to do a single piece, one dress form.

The most natural way for us to work is to pick a silhouette that we’ve done before and built on that. In many cases, it may change. In this case, it’s a very classic three AS FOUR cut. We basically scanned a person in real life wearing the dress, and then we had the base silhouette to work from. We did play with the Z-axis off of that dress. Because you’re printing it, you’re able to add thickness to the surface. So in some parts, like especially the shoulders, it gets bigger in certain areas and we had to kind of, back and forth design the overall silhouette. In fashion, function in a geometric case is really about the movement of the human body, and how you are articulating that, and working with it and I think all of the pieces are definitely exploring that and interested in that. How you can take a patterning system and apply it across the body, and make it change, and transform based on the body, and on the ergonomics of the body, and how the person is moving.

These are the shoulders. That’s the chest. See? These are the back pieces here, and here. So they’re center-back here. This is the bottom-back, so that’s your butt, here and here. The moment you create a three-dimensional weave, you start thinking about movement in 3D three directions. So instead of a fabric that’s stretching the XY-plane, you have a fabric that is stretching on the Z-plane. So XYZ becomes much agiler and much more, how do you say, true to your anatomy type of movement. So the fabric will be able to emulate anatomy, movement, much more directly. How you use technology to reinterpret old ideas is an important thing. There are a lot of different technologies and machines to work with. So the exact dimensional constraints you have to work within are different for every technology. The specific material constraints, like how thin I can go until it breaks, are very different for each technology. So some of the dresses like ‘Oscillation ‘for example, was all printed as flat pieces and it was printed in a rubber-like material, so we can bend it into shape.

It’s really a textile design process because you’re printing out the pattern pieces as geometric swatches, in a way and you have to know that when you so that all together, it takes on a three-dimensional shape. My role in the 3D-printing and division of three AS FOUR is the ‘Manos’ and the machine art part. I’m the one, once those babies come out of the box, and we have to clean them with a toothbrush, and then lay them out like a piece of the puzzle. Make sure everything is correct, and then try to come in and figure out how to attach the babies to something that is like a layer approximate to human skin, you know? But hold it all together. Which is usually like a mesh body, shell, underneath and in this case, I use fishing wire. Hold them all in place, you know, because some pieces that are obviously as you can see here, are on the heavier side, really thick and blending into something intricate, and skinny, and soft. The contradiction between both materials, which is actually the same material, it’s just through the variation of thickness, dislikes David and Goliath fighting with each other actually, when they are put next to each other, you know?

The whole process is a lot of back and forth between analog and digital processes. So whether we’re playing with paper dolls, scanning that into the computer or scanning a paper dress on a person that goes into the computer. We digitally test it, print some swatches, maybe print a whole piece, but along the way, you are always communicating between different mediums. You know we’re not the first ones to be doing 3D printing. But we felt that we wanted to approach it the same way that we’ve been approaching fabric manipulation textiles. So we wanted to see 3D printing as a tool to evolve textile making into many steps ahead. To be honest, I think in general, mankind is not really ready for anything that experimental yet. It is way too out there for the general public. But you always need, you know, the pioneers take it there so it becomes the norm. You have to be honest and say that the technology is very far from a point where we’ll readily be producing consumer-friendly 3D printed clothes. The need for textiles is like one of the most basic human needs and I mean, we’re always going to need them. It’s like how does the tool allow us to interpret what those are, what a textile is. Like one of the most ancient human things out there.


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