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The 3D printer was first produced in the 1980’s by an engineer named Chuck Hall who worked for a small company that made tough coatings for tables using ultraviolet lamps. He aspired to build a machine that printed out objects you could hold in your hand, making it quick and easy to try out prototypes. Hull defined stereolithography as a method and framework for making solid objects by individually “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material on top of the other. A concentrated beam of ultraviolet light was focused onto the surface of a vat filled with liquid photopolymer and from there the laser beam, moving under computer control, drew each layer of the object onto a surface of the liquid. Wherever the beam


strikes the surface, the photopolymer would change into a solid, creating a 3D object. The first 3D printers were much larger than the smaller versions you can buy today and take home with you for a reasonable price of $1,300. Originally they were only used for engineers to create prototypes for new products that they would then mass produce. It is only since 2007 that 3D printing started to become available for other uses and it has only been in the past couple of years that 3D printing has started to become very mainstream. You are now able to even download object templates on Thingiverse a popular website for 3D designers and print them yourself at home.

he whole premise of this technology has been to foster creativity, and change in product design and manufacturing, and so forth. At the individual level, I think there’s a great kind of pent up need: we’ve got into the computer age and everything is on a screen or remote, we’ve kind of missed the tangible result. This is a means to convert something on the computer to reality in a straightforward way. - Chuck Hull

IRIS VAN HERPEN Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen was born the 5th June, 1984. She studied Fashion Design at Artez Institute of the Arts Arnhem and interned at Alexander McQueen in London, and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. In 2007, she started her own label. Since July 2011, she is a guest member of the prestigious Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which is part of the Fédération française de la couture.

VICTORIA’S SECRET Victoria’s Secret is the largest American retailer of lingerie and was founded by Roy Raymond in 1977. The company sells lingerie, womens-wear, and beauty products through its catalogs, website, and its U.S. stores. Victoria’s Secret is wholly owned by publicly traded L Brands company. A shimmering, 3D-printed lingerie ensemble was revealed on the runway at the 2013 Victoria’s secret fashion show, incorporating the industrial technology in a high-tech couture costume. The snow angel outfit has been designed in collaboration between New York based architect Bradley Rothenberg, Victoria’s secret and swarovski’s design team, and printed by shapeways

3D printing has been revolutionary. From 3D printed buildings to hearing aids 3D printing has been successful through-out a large variety of industries. In the fashion industry this new trend is called continuum fashion. The use of 3D printing has been rapidly growing and designers can now achieve complexity without limitations; seamless garments and fine detail that is not achievable by hand is now possible. Since 2010 designer Iris Van Herpen has been taking her 3D printed dresses and shoes to the runway. Her creations present a modern view on Haute Couture. Van Herpen is by far one of the highest valued designers at the moment in the 3D printing fashion industry as she mixes beautiful craftsmanship with high-end technology to create her garments.


n all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool. With my work I intend to show that fashion can certainly have an added value to the world, that it can be timeless and that its consumption can be less important than its beginning. - Iris Van Herpen

Some of her most intricate 3D printed garments were seen in the Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture collection show. Van Herpen worked in collaboration with US-based designer Neri Oxman and Austrian architect Julia Koerner to create two 3D printed outfits in her eleven piece show: an elaborate skirt and cape and an intricate dress.


found out about 3D printing and I thought it was really interesting because I was already trying to create 3 dimensional. It sort of opened a new world; I started thinking differently because hand sewing has so many limitations that you can actually create with the 3D printing. - Iris Van Herpen

It seems as though this trend only started catching on in early 2013 with the first articulated 3D-printed gown, designed by Michael Schmidt with help from architect Francis Bitonti. The gown was designed for burlesque icon Dita Von Teese and made from nylon. The way the 3D printer worked to produce this garment was by depositing a fine layer of nylon powder that became hardened by a laser. Multiple layers each measuring less than a millimeter in depth were repeatedly swiped over previous coats and individually hardened to build up a 3 dimensional form. This beautiful dress was then adorned by hand with over 12,000 Swarovski crystals and unveiled at an event at the Ace Hotel in New York in early 2013.

Later in 2013 and early 2014 other brands and designers such as Victorias secret, Nike, Bryan Oknyansky and Pauline Van Dongen have started to get involved with this trend. For the 2013 Super bowl Nike brought out a shoe which included 3D printed parts with ultra-fast football cleats to make athletes run faster. To reduce slipping during the zero step, Nike developed what they call a “V Plate�; a nylon base inspired by a shovel and made by a 3D printer.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER Jean Paul Gaultier is a French designer, best known for his eponymous design house and his seven-year tenure as head designer at Hermès. Born in 1952 in the Paris suburb of Arcueil, he was interested in fashion from a young age but was never formerly trained in design. His work has been characterised by a stylistic consistency since his very first collection. Many of his collections show women adopting masculine attire, or men wearing skirts, corsets, and dresses with trains.

PIA HINZE Born in Munich, Pia Hinze studied two years of fashion design at Esmod. For the final year she went to Esmod Lyon and is now currently living between Paris and Munich while working for the trendforecasting agency Trend Union by Lidewij Edelkoort in iconographic research. Her 3D printed dress was part of the 3D Printshow 2013/14 and displayed on the catwalk in Paris, London, New York and Ireland.


sing traditional prototyping methods, it might’ve taken us years to translate these learning’s on to an actual cleat for the field, but with 3D printing, it could be just a matter of hours. - Nike

In relation to past trends 3D printing so far is definitely falling under the category of wearable art. The wearable art movement spanned roughly between 1930 – 1960. This movement is an artistic domain that also includes jewelry, or clothing made from non-fiber materials such as: leather, plastic sheeting, metal, etc. Like most wearable art Van Herpen’s work is designed for aesthetic appeal and as a performance rather than durability and wearability. Her garments are practically stage costumes; Lady Gaga herself has sported some of Van Herpen’s dramatic designs in a preformative nature. Filaflex has also created shoes that fall into this category of wearable art. Their “back to the future shoes” inspired by the1980’s film are blocky and futuristic but definitely not for every day casual wear.

For the future of the 3D printing trend it is possible that almost everybody may have their own 3D printer at home, allowing society to be able to design and print as many things as they would like. This means that customers could easily download clothing or shoe templates online and print them from home; online shopping without the hassle of shipping time. It is already possible to make a full body 3D scans so we are able to mold designs specifically to anybodies figure, this means that clothing will be designed specifically to one’s body type. There will be no more problems trying to find those perfect fitting jeans! So what is stopping us? Within the next 10 years who knows, maybe nylon will be the new “IN” trend.

REFERENCES • Chan, C. (2014, February 21). Wearable Tech Walks The Runway In 3D Printed Heels. Retrieved from • The creators project. (2013, January 14). Leaders of The 3D Printing Revolution [video file]. Retrieved from • Fisher, A. (2013, October 13). 3D Printed fashion: off the printer rather than off the peg. Retrieved from oct/15/3d-printed-fashion-couture-catwalk • Global News. (2013, January 28). 3D Printing :Make Anything You Want [video file]. Retrieved from • Graham, N. (2014, January 25). 3D Printing Will Change The Way We Undress. Retrieved from • Molitch-Hou, M. (2014, March 11). Filaflex: Flexible 3D Printer Filament For Your Shoes. Retrieved from

• Park, R. (2014, March 7). 3D Printing a Beautifully Whimsy Fashion Statement. Retrieved from • Schmidt, M. (2013, June 11). The First FullyArticulated 3D Printed Gown, Featuring Dita Von Teese [video file]. Retrieved from • Stone, M. (2014, January 14). Nike Used 3D Printing To Create ultra-Fast Football Cleats For The Super Bowl. Retrieved from • Van Herpen, I. (2014). About Iris Van herpen. Retrieved from Wikipedia. (2014, March 4). Wearable Art. Retrieved from • Wikipedia. (2014, March 13). Chuck Hall. Retrieved from

MICHAEL SCHMIDT A wardrobing, jewelry and interiors designer working primarily in the entertainment industry. Schmidt is known for working with a variety of innovative materials and techniques, such as a 3-D printed dress he created in collaboration with Francis Bitonti for Dita Von Teese. His clothing has been worn by celebrities such as Madonna, Cher, and the Black Eyed Peas.


’m not a futurist. I don’t have a crystal ball that tells me what things are going to happen, but I know this: when you get enough smart people working on something, it always gets better. - Chuck Hull


roduced by Renee Nielsen. Copyright protected: Nielsen Publications. Copyright in the artwork and article is owned by Nielsen Publications. Unauthorised copying is prohibited. All rights reserved. Made in New Zealand.

3D Printing Takes The Runway  

A project for my 2nd year of Graphic design based on current trends. All the illustrations in this editorial were designed and belong to mys...

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