Essay written for the 3D Printshow London and Paris catalogue. November 2013.
Words by Faith Robinson.
Different things fascinate different people. Some of us decide to take an interest in engineering or medicine, whilst some of us choose to study art or read books about archaeology. But none of us can choose whether or not to get dressed in the morning - and that is to say that every day, all of us engage with clothes and materials.
Although wearing clothes doesn't necessarily mean that you’re interested in fashion, the fashion industry is very much integrated into the everyday, popular culture that few of us can ignore. What we buy on the high street often replicates – and is thus prescribed by - what happens in exclusive fashion design houses, exhibited periodically throughout the year and constantly changing from style to style. But the future of fashion no longer relies on seasonal trend. Through collaboration between a wide range of disciplines, as well as the inspirational technology being employed by these revolutionary creatives, innovative new ways to design and create fashion items are being developed. A fresh fashion perspective is being discovered - and 3D printing is providing the critical opportunity for these new ideas to be fully realised.
The curated collection of fashion pieces featured at 3D Printshow – both in our live catwalk event as well as our Fashion House - stands as an introduction to the progressive nature of fashions alliance with technology. Throughout the collection, there is an evident tension between traditions of hand-crafted skill and the incorporation of modern-day technological technique. Many designers have recognised this aspect of their work and highlighted it, using the juxtaposition as subject matter for their designs (Marla Marchant, Pia Hinze) and appropriating it for the wearer of such pieces. Conventional and well-established practices in the art of shoe-making, millinery, jewellery, tailoring and pattern cutting have collided head-first with the computational advancements of CAD design and 3D print production methods. Yet we believe that our collection only illustrates the success of this exciting, interdisciplinary approach to the design of fashion artefacts and garments.
Despite the abstract, algorithmic practice that some of these 3D printed items have been produced by, their concentrated focus on creating an authentic materiality reunites the garment with the wearer. The potential to customise clothes not only to a person’s taste, but to their unique body type is already liberating fashion- and is what many designers and industry professionals are getting particularly excited about. The exclusivity of made-to-order dresses and outfits no longer seems restricted to the opulence of Haute Couture.
Regardless of the numerous implications that 3D printing is beginning to have upon the world of fashion, there also remains the pure and simple delight that the technology is giving designers in terms of original, artistic freedom. Ideas that could never have been realised through traditional production methods are now being made material; eccentric and fantastic designs no longer remain conceptual, but are made physical. The excitement of such a revolution is evident within every fashion item present in our exhibition and catwalk, and some of the most elaborate pieces involved in our collection lay testament to the infinity of possibilities that this new technology offers.
Whether you feel like you belong on the front row of a catwalk show or not, 3D printing is only going to be making design more and more personal - and thus more and more relevant - to a wider audience of interested people. Let us introduce you to the future of fashion.