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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Interview: Massimo Nicosia

As previously mentioned, I got the opportunity to interview the creative director at Pringle of Scotland for 3D Printshow.
Head over to the 3D Printshow website to have a look (and a read of all my other stories), or alternatively, read on:
Whilst we’re all excited about 3D print technology, it’s clear that the hype won’t last forever. Once the excitement has gone, actually integrating the right printed elements produced in the right materials will continue to be the most essential aspect of the industry – and with this in mind, a few forward thinking individuals have begun acquainting themselves with the exciting results of 3D printing.
A fantastic example of this can be found on the pages of glossy fashion magazines no less. Pringle of Scotland is a brand with heritage at its heart, and since the 1800’s, the knitwear specialists have been producing some of the most classic, and in some cases, the most traditional casual wear, originating in the Scottish Borders. Progressing slowly towards leisure and sportswear a century later, Pringle of Scotland remain known by most for their cricket and golfing clothing. However, the brand also moved into the slightly more prestigious arena of high-end fashion – which is where they remain today.

For their Autumn / Winter 2014 collection, Pringle of Scotland were one of the first key commercial players in the fashion industry to implement 3D printed elements into their textiles. Not only is this juxtaposition of old and new so exciting, but it’s amazing to see 3D printing being viewed outside the context of the technology, and onto the runway. What we love the most about this development is that the clothes – which contain 3D printed textile embellishments – have been incredibly well received for what they are, and not simply for the fact that parts of them have been 3D printed. This step forward – seeing 3D printing being used in ‘the real world’ – is a huge development for the technology. We’re starting to move away from the hype and towards intelligent usage and design, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

3D Printshow were thrilled to have the opportunity to exclusively interview Pringle of Scotland’s creative director Massimo Nicosia about the brand’s decision to experiment with 3D print technology. The already classic marrying together of a hand-knit Scottish cable stitch with high-tech 3D printed parts is an incredibly bold combination of media. We wanted to know what the development meant from a creative angle, rather than a technological one, so we asked Nicosia a few questions about the stunning collection:

How has your interest in innovative material and design led you to 3D printing?
I have always been intrigued by investigating new medias and technologies.  Typically 3d printing has been experimented with for commercial prototyping and architecture modelling and in fashion, in a very sculptural / abstract way.  For Pringle, I wanted to explore a move away from the costume approach of such technology by making  real and wearable pieces.
What was the basic theme of your most recent collection, and how did the inclusion of 3D printing develop it?
My first idea for this collection was to juxtapose two opposites, by marrying ultra-flat 2d knitwear with highly textural 3d elements.  This collection experimented with textiles and new structures and the key exploration was fading the lines between different medias; knitwear and wovens, classic embroidery and 3d printing, and classic stitches and 3d printing modular repeats.

How would you describe the experience of collaborating with an established architect (Richard Beckett) on A/W14? Did you enjoy working in this interdisciplinary way?
Being a former architect myself, it wasn’t hard to understand Richard’s mindset and methods.  It was a great interdisciplinary synergy and we complimented each other’s know-how.  Pringle is always striving to innovate knitwear techniques and this was a great opportunity to move the innovation forwards.
Should the inclusion of 3D printing determine a garment /collection’s aesthetic, or does this kind of tech simply embellish it?
I used 3d printing as a new tool; as an alternative to traditional techniques in order to achieve what I envisioned for the collection.  I do not think that 3d printing can generate an aesthetic by itself, but it will surely change the way we design.  It will move us towards an “all the way around” approach rather than flat, front and back.
I don’t like considering 3d printing just as a frill or embellishment.  In my case, I was trying to blur the lines between 3d printing and traditional medias applied to fashion, i.e. embroidery.  The main challenge was to make the 3d printing look like an integral part of the knit and woven process .  to do so, we used it with special interweaving and interlocking processes.
How will the inclusion of new material combinations like this effect the future of fashion?
I believe that 3d printing will be a major driver of change in industrial design and it has great potential for fashion too.  technology has always been an important factor to create originality in fashion and I am very curious to investigate new possibilities.

It’s clear that creative individuals like Nicosia are seriously progressing 3D printed materials as a medium which should (quite rightly) demand serious consideration from all kinds of designers. It’s incredibly exciting to think about 3D printing in relation to textiles – a topic that we’ve already discussed on the 3D Printshow blog – so here’s to what happens next. We’ll do our best to keep you posted.