Walking a 3D printed fashion item down the runway usually involves styling the single piece with other conventional fashion garments. However, one of the looks that we showed at the 3D Printshow: INSPIRE live fashion event in New York was entirely 3D printed – on a desktop 3D printer, no less.
Australian design team XYZ Workshop are bringing the dream of home printed haute-couture that bit closer. Considering the movement of the piece on the runway, as well as its relationship to the body on which it is worn, their work pushes the boundaries of conventional desktop printed objects. Through clever design and the assembly of various smaller printed elements, the team created one of the most impressive looks of our show. We asked them a few questions to get a better insight into the ideas, context and goals that drive and define their work.
Does your workshop focus on one area of design? If not, how has 3D printing helped develop your practice?
Our recent interest in 3D fashion was perhaps influenced by our background in Architecture. We found that the relationships within fashion and architecture were not too dissimilar. The “fabric” much like the “skin” of a building defined the space it inhabits around the user; creating a personal micro climate. It evokes the user’s senses of self-expression, culture, pride, comfort, and status.
Alongside 3D fashion, XYZ Workshop has been fortunate in winning a number of 3D printing design competitions, ranging from the design of a chocolate launching toy robot to a microplanter chess set. We found competitions to be a great way to fuel creativity and ignite new ideas.
In most of our designs, we try to infuse a sense of playfulness which probably comes from playing with our toddler. 3D printing has been crucial in allowing us to quickly prototype and run multiple tests of our ideas at home on our Ultimaker 3D printer.
3D printing has opened up a range of possibilities for us. Alongside our home printer, we have also been using services like Shapeways which have allowed us to experiment with more complex forms and materials, creating intricate structural lattice sculptures like our Digital Safari sculptures and Lena Bracelets.
How has 3D printing altered your workflow – from design conception to realisation?
We are still astounded that within a few hours of brainstorming an idea, we could be holding a prototype hot off the print bed.
To then have, hold and experiment with these prototypes makes the design development process so much quicker without fear of cost. You instantly get a good sense of its scale, materiality, and texture.
Your stunning 3D printed fashion piece was exclusively presented at 3D Printshow New York this month. Could you give us some information about the project, and what you plan to do next?
We are honored to have been invited to present our work in New York, and to be put alongside designers of such calibre – some who have perhaps influenced our work – is simply amazing. Who could have imagined that working from our little study in suburban Australia could take us all the way to the runway of New York?
Our 3D printed fashion piece, entitled the “In Bloom” dress is our second foray into the fashion world, after previously securing the top spot in an international 3D fashion competition organised by the Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
While the previous project was based on a brief to ‘explore water related themes and reference local culture’ by way of mimicking the silhouette of a cheongsam, this new fashion piece is more ambitious in many ways. Besides attempting to push the boundaries of showcasing flexible PLA material as being rather delicate and lacelike, we set out with the objective to do two things: Firstly, we wanted to make a 100% fully 3D Printed piece that was not only wearable but had qualities of movement within it.
Secondly, we were interested in showing that 3D Printed fashion was not something that you can only achieve using complex 3 Dimensional modeling tools or limited to large expensive commercial 3D Printers. In doing so, I believe we have successfully proven that 3D Printed fashion is not only accessible, but also highly affordable.
In the process of making the dress, I think we may have created the longest ever 100% fully 3D Printed gown using a personal desktop 3D Printer. The entire look measures a total of approximately 7 feet (2.1m) long.
From this, we are hoping to make our design accessible to the public from our website. With the help of Ultimaker, we plan to release the digital files of the inBloom Dress on YouMagine.com, to encourage more “makers” to play and push the boundaries of personal 3D Printing and 3D fashion.
We owe much of the advances in 3D printing to the open-source community that made it to what it is today; so perhaps there is room for fashion to have an open-source platform as well. Being able to empower someone to make and fully customise their printable fashion is a compelling and personal way of self-expression through fashion.
Besides fashion, we are very enthusiastic about pushing the educational aspect of 3D printing and have started setting up workshops with a local organization in Melbourne that are focused on kids. We are also very excited about potential new cross-disciplinary collaborations later this year which include designing wearable pieces and parts to be included as part of a choreographed performance.
3D printing as a tool has opened doors to many hybrid collaborations, providing limitless possibilities for innovation.
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