Innovative fashion designers are pushing the boundaries of garment construction far beyond the needle and thread, employing the latest in 3D printing techniques to produce technologically advanced wearables. Designs often take shape as futuristic ornaments, like the 3D printed LED Pixel Hat—a cap that definitely puts you at risk for onlookers to assume you've just stumbled out of a rave, or even more practically, Ross Barber’s leather shoes with 3D printed soles.
While all of these 3D printed designs are garnering attention from the tech-savvy, some are turning heads within the fashion elite as well. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, a designer at the forefront of the 3D printed revolution, blew us away last week when she unveiled her Spring 2013 Haute Couture collection in Paris.
Her newest line, Voltage, features gowns and other pieces of awe-inspiring detail that recall plasmatic bolts trapped inside a crystal ball. Van Herpen describes her collection as having been inspired by what she calls “the electricity of the body,” which is apparent in the veritable vibrations given off by the indiscernable gaps between feathery boa-like offshoots in one piece. Clearly, 3D printing techniques are advancing beyond the experimental fringe, and are finding a home in some of the fashion world's most respected showcases.
The video this$h!+was3dprinted (above), directed by Mark Ledzian of N9 Productions, features some examples of high fashion 3D printed garments by other designers, in all 360 degrees of their glory. First up is award-winning designer Heidi Lee’s parasol cocktail hat, a geisha-inspired, extreme take on the typically dowdy headband. The accessory was also featured in the February 2013 issue of German Vogue.
The Seed of Life corset, complete with miniscule shoulder-blade wings, also gets some much deserved screen time. The garment's cut-out design demonstrates the type of laser-cut precision that can be achieved by 3D printing. It's hard to believe the corset, made by Forty West Designs, wasn't simply painted on the model. Effectively, this is how the garment is created—it's personally tailored to the wearer's proportions by using a body scan, ensuring a perfect fit. If you’re interested in scoring a corset of your own, Shapeways can help you out. But don’t get too excited—the impressive undergarment ain’t cheap.
The incredible Morphogenesis shoes from Pauline van Dongen's 2010 collection make an appearance in the video as well, and continue to boggle the mind even three years after their initial conception. The heels are seemingly carved out of a block of black ice—smooth, and literally seamless.
But if you're more of a hands-on type, try making a 3D print of your own. Thanks to our collaboration with Shapeways, you can print a 3D sculpture of your Facebook profile, and enter to win a free print here.