One day, 3D printing will become as omnipresent in our every day material lives as Google is in our virtual ones. We have yet to realize the impact this new super technology will have across all industries. 3D printing has already changed the landscape and future of medicine with 3D printed organs, bones, casts and even beating hearts. Like the architecture, design, and NASA scenes, the fashion industry is only beginning to realize its 3D potential.
“Technology is really the only thing through which you can do new things”-Hussein Chayalan
One of the first demonstrations that technology and fashion have a beautiful future in store (pun alert) came with Hussein Chayalan’s s/s 2007 collection of LED dresses and again for s/s 2012 when the British avant garde designer presented decade morphing dresses that changed length and shape as the models walked down the runway.
“The first time I used 3D printing, it completely changed my thinking. It freed me from all physical limitations. Suddenly, every complex structure was possible and I could create more detail than I ever could by hand”-Iris van Herpen
Today, designers are adding another tool to their sewing machine clad studios. The 3D printer. And one of the designers on the forefront of this design revolution is Iris van Herpen. The Dutch “tech-couture” fashion designer who interned for Alexander McQueen dreams up some of the most mind blowing architecture-meets fashion-meets tech works of art, and the craziest part is that she actually makes them a wearable reality. The fantastical rapid prototyping 3D printed designs are created using laser pulsations that layer powdered rubbers and metals into the printed shapes from computer visuals. Her designs are the first 3D printed creations to walk the runway–they are nothing like we have ever seen before, and it’s only the beginning. With 3D printing, the realms of fashion, art, architecture and design come together through technology. Whether 3D technology will create a consumer market is still an open question, it holds the potential to transform the industry entirely from ready-to-wear 3D printed clothing to consumers being able to print out or even design their own 3D creations at home. For the time being, this powerful new technology is expanding fashion design into another realm, further assuring its place as a form of art. Imagination is limitless and technology brings designers even closer to realizing their creative potential.