How I 3D-Printed a 5-piece fashion collection at home
In September 2014 I started working on my graduate collection for my Fashion Design degree at Shenkar.
This year, I decided to work with 3D printing, which I barely knew anything about. I wanted to check if it'd be possible to create an entire garment using technology accessible to anyone.
So I embarked on my 3D printing journey, without really knowing what the end result would be.
My inspiration was Eugène Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. I modified it so it would look like a 3D picture. I was inspired to work with the many triangle present in the painting's composition.
The first piece I focused on was the "LIBERTE" jacket. I modeled the jacket using a software called Blender and produced 3D files; I could now start to experiment with different materials and printers. (EDIT: I now find that working with Accumark by my partners at Gerber is much more accurate)
I was really happy to join an incredible global community of makers who share their knowledge, designs, and time to help each other realize their dreams.
I spent a month or so experimenting with PLA, a hard and breakable material. I was not getting very far because the material is inflexible, which is the key property of a "real" textile.
The breakthrough came when I was introduced to FilaFlex, which is a new kind of filament; it's strong, yet very flexible. Using FilaFlex and the Witbox printer, I finally was able to print my red jacket.
Though It was great to finally be able to print this flexbile jacket, I also wanted to see how I could create more elaborate textiles for the rest of the collection.
Now that I found the right material, I started experimenting with different types of patterns. I found Andreas Bastian's Mesostructured Cellular Materials and by combining his incredible structures (and new ones I created with the same approach) and the flexible materials, I could create lace-like textiles that I could work with - just like cloth.
For the black dress, I modified the patterns so that they would have a 3D feel - they now have some "topography" and aren't just flat textiles.
Once I figured out how to print textiles, I was on my way to create a full collection. It would take more than 2000 hours to print (every A4-sized sheet of textile took at least 20 hours to print) so I had to step up my printer-game, to a full fledged "3D-printing farm" at home.
When I was getting ready for the runway, I printed shoes for the models - I wanted the models to wear 100% 3d-printed materials - including the shoes.
And so finally, the collection was ready...
This has been the most interesting year of my life. When I got started, I wasn't sure that I would be able to make this happen, but with the help of incredible people I was able to fulfill my dream - to printed my own fashion collection.
I really enjoyed the fact that I could create without intermediaries; I could design my own textiles and manufacture my own clothes, all from my own home. I didn't have to go buy cloth that someone else chose to sell - I could make my own.
I think this is just the beginning. As technologies evolve, we will soon be all printing our own clothes at home.
What's next for me?
I would like to stay in the industry and work with other fashion designers who want to experiment and research new ways of creating fashion using 3D printing.