3DP Applications

Extraordinary Exploration of 3D Printing in Fashion by Catherine Wales

Another notable fashion designer has started experimenting with 3D printing and some of it is rather startling — but exciting and appealing. Cathering Wales began her career in fashion over 15 years ago and has trained and worked alongside some of the names in the industry, including Jasper Conran, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Oswald Boateng, Emanuel Ungaro and Saint Laurent. However, her most recent solo design work, the result of an MA in Digital Fashion from the London College of Fashion, has culminated in a collection called Project DNA that has, among other things, taken her in to world of 3D printing to explore her fashion ideas for accessories.

With a philosophy that is not entirely unique now, the Project DNA collection aims to synergize high fashion, technology and science and does result in some extraordinarily unique fashion statements inspired by identity and the visual structure of human chromosomes. As a result, Project DNA is created almost entirely with individual and interchangeable ball and socket components — enabled by 3D printing — that allow it to be built in a number of directions.

The video below illustrates this with feathered shoulder piece:

The collection consists of eight pieces, which include a scaffolded corset, a blossoming feathered shoulder piece and a waist bracelet complemented by four transformative headpieces that hide key areas of the face; including a guilded horn and a mirrored mask, and a cut out visor helmet.

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The Business of Fashion (BoF) recently interviewed Catherine Wales recently and she told them:

“With 3D printing we now have the ability to realise our creations almost instantly, speeding up the development process in a way we never thought possible. This technology holds the promise of a world where imagination has no boundaries and in time there won’t be a material that cannot be reproduced as a 3D object.”

“The development process involved with 3D printing means we can also tailor-make designs to specific body shapes and eliminate the need for categorising product into traditional size groups. I start by scanning the body and importing that data into a 3D software programme, then design the product around the curves of the body, so that they fit like a second skin. I also use my pattern cutting and fit knowledge to add or cut away from that shape in areas that will provide lift or desired reduction, as seen on the corset.”

“Once the designs are complete in the software application, this data is then fed through to the printer, in my case the [laser sintering] machine, which laser sinters powdered nylon together in a layering format over a period of six to thirty-six hours, depending on the complexity of the data.”

Catherine’s work is curretly being exhibited at the Arnhem Mode Biennale in the Netherlands until 27 July and will also be on show in the UK next month at the Design Museum.

Sources: BoF and London College of Fashion and Catherine Wales