There is no doubt about the fact that rapid prototyping and 3D printing are getting a lot of attention in the fashion industry with the avant-garde, experimental results they produce. Some of the most popular designers of the fashion industry are taking notice and are popularizing the technology. Not only that, both celebrities and prominent fashion enthusiasts have taken a liking to it all over the world. Even a few years ago, it would have been a crazy idea to even try to align 3D printing and fashion. Indeed, rapid prototyping has made a significant impact in a very short period of time. Great news for 3D printing enthusiasts is that we are on our way towards seeing some amazing new fashionable creations that make use of this rapid prototyping technology we hold so dear.
Some of the first revolutionary ideas in 3D printed fashion began as early as 2013 with companies such as Electroloom. Clearly, the required progress was simply not enough for the world to look upon. Even though the ideas of the company did not see the light of the day, it gave the industry fuel to work with. Such an initiative was taken in 2015 by a young designer from Israel. A graduate of Shankar College of Engineering and Design, Israel, Danit Peleg dreamt of kickstarting the 3D printed fashion advancement. Peleg shared her vision saying that she wanted to create a ready-to-wear line of clothes that were printed from the comfort of her home, using run-of-the-mill 3D printers that any hobbyist can easily get. Working with leading experts in the field, she has been searching for a viable solution since 2014.
Around the same time, another 3D printing genius Andreas Bastian came up with ‘mesostructured material’. It was around April 2014 when Bastian announced his discovery, which was printed out from rigid plastics. However, the ‘mesostructure’ gave these materials amazing flexibility. The unique features made them bendable and take on almost any shape conceivable. This mesostructure was the design inspiration for Peleg’s designs. However, she made use of FliaFlex filaments instead of rigid traditional filaments like ABS or PLA. Her tool of choice was her line up of Witbox FDM desktop 3D printer.
In order to graduate with her Fashion Design degree at Shankar, Peleg made the decision of 3D printing her ‘graduate collection’ that she would showcase in front of the greatest minds of her institute. When she began her project in September 2014, she did not have much know-how on rapid prototyping in general. Hence, she was in for a big challenge. Her first ever piece in this collection is a red jacket inspired by ‘Liberty Leading the People’ a painting by Eugene Delacroix. Peleg calls this creation the Liberte jacket.
The fashion designer mentions that she made modifications on the painting so that it would resemble a 3D picture. In the composition of the picture, there were many triangles from which she drew inspiration. Until the discovery of FilaFlex was made, she was not being able to 3D print her jacket according to her original design. This initial piece was a success, but Peleg wanted to push further by producing more intricately woven textiles for the rest of her line. At this point, the designer was experimenting with Bastian’s idea of Mesostructured Cellular Materials. When Peleg combined this structure with the flexible filament, it produced structured that resembled lace. Using these, she was able to work in a way similar to other designers who use traditional cloth fabric.
When she figured out how to print these structures, she was soon on her way to create her entire collection using rapid prototyping. The total project took two thousand hours to print, with every A4 sized sheet taking around 20 hours to be printed out. In order to save time, she set up an assembly line of many 3D printers at her own house.
On an average, each dress of the collection took around 400 hours to be printed. Along with dresses, she also decided to create 3D printed shoes which were inspired by famous designer Michele Badia. This was done so that Peleg’s models would entirely be clad in 3D printed clothing and accessories from top to toe.
Peleg states that this experience has been the most interesting in her life. When she began, she was in doubt about whether she could really accomplish it. With the help of some incredible people at her college, she was able to fulfill the dream of making a 3D printed fashion collection. She also believes that it has amazing potential in the future. If someone is feeling cold, they can simply print out their own jacket. Travelers can go places without any additional luggage and print their clothes in the hotel rooms. She asks the question as to whether humanity will be able to design, print and share the files of their own clothes directly from home. Whether it will be possible in the future or not is something that remains to be seen.
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