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New York Fashion Week: fashion and 3D printing make quite the pair

The result of a collaboration between 3D printing giant Stratasys and two New York-based designers, the Chro-Morpho collection unveiled at the recent New York Fashion Week was inspired by microscopic colours and the light filtering through butterfly wings.
New York Fashion Week: fashion and 3D printing make quite the pair
New York Fashion Week: fashion and 3D printing make quite the pair

Haute-couture and 3D printing merge together

The Greta-Oto dress from the collection presented by ThreeASFOUR and Travis Fitch, for instance, uses Stratasys' lenticular effect to play with light and colour. By printing spherical cells the size of a fish scale composed of photopolymers directly onto polyester, the coat’s colour changes with the smallest movement. The thousands of cells on the 27 parts of the dress consist of a clear lens containing coloured bands. "Through 3D design and printing, we embodied the fragility and slight movement of a butterfly's wings. It's an amazing spectacle combining nature, fashion and technology." reported Adi Gill, co-founder and Creative Director of ThreeASFOUR.

Developing a new level of customisation

Of course, the collaboration between 3D printing and haute couture is not new, but until now, 3D-printed accessories were created separately and then sewn onto the clothing. In this case, the designers were able to add polymers directly into the textile. This is the first time 3D printing is done directly onto the fabric, opening up a new range of applications in the fashion and haute couture industry, and why not in the mass production of ready-to-wear clothing. Stratasys' long-term objective is to develop the fashion market and to allow more than 500,000 combinations of colours, textures and levels of transparency.

“I believe that in the next two years consumers will be able to buy a range of 3D-printed haute couture clothing”, said Naomi Kaempfer, Art, Design and Fashion Director at Stratasys. “And the outcome will be access to an explosion of unique combinations of colours and textures that cannot always be made using traditional methods.”

For the time being, the Chro-Morpho collection is on display in various North American museums, in particular in the “Designs for Different Futures” exhibition of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as in Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago (from 2020).

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