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A Fashion Designer Is Creating The World's First Open-Source, 3D-Printed Dress

"Why would we wait for that one awesome 3D printed dress that 'embodies the future' to be presented and pushed upon us to adore?" says designer Anouk Wipprecht. Instead, she's asking people across the web to make that dress together.
September 4, 2014, 5:40pm

Images courtesy of the artist

If people across the entire Internet collaborated on a dress design, would it be threads worthy of Fashion Week? We're going to find out soon: Anouk Wipprecht—the futuristic clothing designer, known for her robotic spider leg dress and a 3D printed electric chain mail outfit—is inviting anyone with an ethernet cable to contribute towards creating the world's first open-source, 3D-printed dress.


Titled the Open Source Element Dress, Wipprecht (alongside Austrian creative network, Polaire) has placed an open call for "anyone who has a bit of inspiration" to contribute 62 mm-wide design-elements called "particles" that will be united on the dress through a connecting mechanism. Using a TINKERCAD template, people can submit personalized particle designs, and 150 will make it into the final piece of clothing, to be completed by September 13th. So far, entries have taken the form of tentacled sea creatures, precious gemstones, and idiosyncratic geometric shapes.

Wipprecht told The Creators Project that she's getting submissions from sources as diverse as 10-year-olds in the US to a new hackerspace in the Philippenes. In her eyes, this is what makes the open source dress so exciting—it brings together the creative sensibilities of hundreds of different people in a way that simply wasn't possible for pre-internet fashion designers:

"Why would we wait for that one awesome 3D printed dress that 'embodies the future' to be presented and pushed upon us to adore?" she said. "Why not all make that one dress that represents a possible future—not designed from the hand of one designer, but with the world."

"This is exactly what we want," Wipprecht said over email—"to deepen the idea of 3D printing and design, seeing how things can connect more. I think one of the things that I find super interesting about 3D printing is that it brings a totally new social context with it…It's a very personal and intimate message, to finally be able to design a particle or a piece of jewellery, created by you with someone else in mind."

To further this soulful take on the technology, the designer started collecting the stories that people sent along with their remixed particles, though the designs themselves are already uniquely human: "You can really see a handwriting in each particle that gets sent to us. I am always worried that with 3D printing the emotions each design conveys gets lost somehow, and finally, by rituals, by adornments, by education, by showing skill, by experimenting, I see so much passion."


Once the design process is complete, contributors can either print their particle out and send it to Wipprecht's and Polaire's collaborative studio in Vienna, or they can email her the digital object, which she can print herself. Wipprecht's own contriubution is an LED NeoPixel-infused particle that lights up with a swirling neon blue pattern—a challenge to the Internet-at-large to bring their 3D printing A-game.

"What I think I want to say is that 3D printing should involve more emotion, more depth, more meaning, more personality. I haven't figured out yet what it exact is that triggers me to think that this project is steering something that can have potential to emotionize digital design. But there is an bigger and holistic idea behind it that I would love to explore more."

Below, watch a video that showcases Wipprecht's illuminating particle design, as well as some images of the particles submitted so far.




To submit your own particle, follow the simple steps on Wipprecht's Instructables entry for the project. The completed dress will be unveiled on Sept. 13th, once all of the crowdsourced particles have been gathered.


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