The following text was written for the Fashion House exhibition which I recently curated for 3D Printshow New York:
The rate at which 3D print technology continues to develop is evident across industries. Yet despite this awe-inspiring and wide-reaching progression, particular areas of exploration especially capture our imaginations. Fashion is one such area, and the collection featured at 3D Printshow New York serves to illustrate just what additive manufacture can do for wearable, technological design.
The undeniable excitement that is apparent in all of the exhibited pieces demonstrates the potential that 3D printing can allow. Previously unexplored forms can be accessed by innovative techniques, encouraging a new school of designers who are working towards original and astounding fashion artefacts and garments. A fresh approach to fashion ensues: trends in computational design can be immediately accessed by anyone with a computer, allowing engineers, architects and professionals from a variety of fields to contribute to this ambitious sartorial discourse.
Amidst the excitement, it’s certainly easy to get carried away by the new possibilities on offer. However, 3D printed fashion is by no means separate from the traditional and contemporary fashion design methods which are still popularly used throughout the industry. The tension between hand-crafted skill and machine-induced production is certainly evident within collections of additive manufactured wearables, and will doubtlessly remain an area of discussion and disagreement. This critical approach certainly lays the foundation for more fascinating research – both in terms of the materials being used, as well as the subject explored – and stands as a continuation of Fashion’s productive development.
The pieces presented in this collection stand to question our own relationship with clothing and materials. Should 3D printed fashion be attempting to push creative limits, or should it be creating new ways to support one of the economy’s largest existing industries? And should the practical applications of 3D scanning and computational design overlook the stunning new forms that can be produced – however unwearable some of these pieces may be?
Join us as we continue to explore and question the expanding field of computational design and 3D printed fashion.