While 3D printing and rapid prototyping are making waves in different industries of the world, the never before seen facilities of customization is bringing in rather unusual innovations to this area. Recently, sporting giants such as Adidas, Nike, Feetz and United Nude have been making 3D printed footwear that clients and critics alike have really loved.
The fashion industry too is keen on adapting 3D printing and rapid prototyping into their area of work as the technologies can give clients that tailor made feel while their dresses are prepared right in front of them. Rather edgy and beautiful concepts can be materialized using rapid prototyping as these happen to be the works of CAD software customization and printing using different kinds of filaments. Hence, rapid prototyping can definitely make waves in the fashion industry, particularly in making dresses, shoes, jewelry, and bags for both the ramp and the showroom. Models can be fitted instantly before a show, hence they can be ready in no time to turn heads in their edgy attire at the fashion industry.
The dress that we are about to discuss in this article is definitely out of this world. The Vortex Dress is the brainchild of engineer and fashion designer Laura Thapthimkuna, and this creation is as close as one can get to futuristic, interstellar fashion statements. The dress is a beautiful lattice-like structure that fits seamlessly at the waist and the neck area. However, just because it looks like it has been made in the outer space does not mean that the design is an alien conspiracy.
Instead, this dress is the result of an engaged and lengthy procedure of rapid prototyping, design, redesign, investigation of the technology and extensive fundraising campaigns in Kickstarter. After all these steps, Thapthimkuna was finally able to bring her dress off the pages of the internet and onto the stage in front of the world of fashion.
The endeavors of this industrious fashion designer began two years ago with the production of a series of sketches that stemmed from biomorphic shapes that resembled a funnel. The clothes were definitely out of the world in their form, and how they will be brought to reality became a problem especially as the traditionally used garment production techniques proved insufficient for the cause. The sheer size of the final dress made these methods unreliable and useless, on top of that, Thapthimkuna chose to add yet another layer of complexity in the road to bringing this design to life.
The moment of truth came to her when she found out the possibilities of rapid prototyping and 3D printing in creating complex structures. The designer says that she used 3D printing in order to create this design as because she simply could not find an alternative to this method. Also, it happened to be a great opportunity on her part to be able to design her first ever fully 3D printed garment with rapid prototyping.
The rapid prototyping technology adds to the design the value of innovation by showcasing what can be possible when going out of the way, out of her comfort zone as a designer, Thapthimkuna adds. She says that a unique feature of the dress is its size, which was challenging because she had to pre-calculate and anticipate the distribution of weight as well as the center of gravity.
Along with the sheer technical possibilities of rapid prototyping, working with a process like this for making a dress made Thapthimkuna work as a part of a team to realize her vision. Teamwork and this manner of work were among the largest challenges for her, however, it also came with its share of rewards. Not only did the designer learn to incorporate others into her process, she also had to come to terms with the fact that a machine had to come in and be a part of her design team.
She explained the kind of difficulties that she faced with this collaborative project of design as well as its underlying benefits. According to her, learning to let go of the idea that she had to do everything on her own was the initial challenge for this perfectionist of a designer. As an artist, she has always been accustomed to do everything on her own from the beginning to the end. With rapid prototyping, she had to work with other people and let them make interpretations of her design vision to a certain extent. All this turned out to be a rewarding experience for the designer in the end.
In appearance, the dress resembles a combination of a kind of breathing apparatus to be worn during biohazard and an exoskeleton. The dress was printed in paintable resin, which was then painted manually in black. This gives the dress a velvety darkness of space as well as the shine of innumerable suns and stars of the outer space. On a model, it looks as if the wearer has been grasped by an enormous beetle, giving it the visual connection of fashion photos and the visual aesthetic of Naked Lunch by Burroughs.
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