As much as I love 3D printing and tout its numerous applications, thus far I have been rather skeptical about 3D printed fashion. While 3D printing can be great for accessories and jewelry, clothes are a different animal (sometimes literally), but a collaboration between Austrian fashion designer Julia Koerner and Stratasys has me rethinking my position on the use of the technology in fashion.
The Sporophyte Collection consists of three high-end pieces of clothing that are fully 3D printed and ready to wear. The three pieces – the Hymenium Jacket, Kelp Jacket, and Kelp Necklace – are all unique in that they are novel to 3D printing, but, unlike most current 3D printed fashion, look like they belong in a fashion show. Koerner says that she was inspired by the natural patterns found in fungi and kelp, which formed the basis for her intricate designs. Unlike most 3D printed fashion, these pieces were made with a variety of materials, which allows for flexibility via a combination of rigid and rubber-like structures.
Stratasys played a major role in the realization of Koerner’s designs as they were printed on the Object 500 Connex3 multi-color, multi-material 3D Printer. The Object 500 is capable of printing hundreds of composite materials and up to 82 different materials in a single print. For the Sporophyte collection, Stratasys printed in a combination of TangoPlus, a rubber-like photopolymer, and VeroBlack, which produces highly-detailed and great looking prints. The results were beautiful. Koerner believes that these designs could have only been realized on a 3D printer, saying, “The dried kelp has a very intricate layering system, and I wanted to bring this complexity into the lace-like structure, as seen in the Kelp jacket and necklace designs. There is no other technology available that could achieve the complexity, detail, and granularity of this design.”
What I like about this project is that Julia Koerner is truly integrating 3D technology into her designs. Rather than simply making another dress or another necklace, Koerner is designing something that can only be completed with 3D printing. By accomplishing this ,while at the same time making clothes that look good and are functional, she is definitely making me reconsider my stance on 3D printable fashion.
Julia Koerner is an architect, fashion designer and faculty at UCLA SUPRASTUDIO. Her work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, at the Venice Biennale, Paris Haute Couture and institutions such as the FRAC Centre and Art Institute of Chicago. The Sporophyte collection will be a part of the IRIS VAN HERPEN SOLO EXHIBITION at the HIGH MUSEUM ATLANTA coming up on November 20th. More info on Julia can be found on her website here.