Sep 12, 2014 | By Alec

While perhaps not the first thing you'd expect to read on a technology blog, the New York Fashion Week was held between 4 and 11 September, and featured some very interesting pieces. Designer Bradley Rothenberg debuts a series of 3D printed textiles in collaboration with designers Katie Gallagher and Katya Leonovich on the runway on the 9th of September.

Rothenberg is one of the founders of the Bradley Rothenberg Studio, which can be found on Broadway in New York. Their focus is on combining 3D printing technology and fashion to develop 3D printed textiles, jewellery and various clothing accessories. They have worked with some of the biggest and most innovating fashion brands out there, while being at the forefront of this particular application of 3D printing technology.

And this is a big step in incorporating 3D printing into the fashion business. In collaboration with designers Katie Gallagher and Katya Leonovich, Rothenberg developed a series of actually wearable 3D printed textiles. Pieces included a fully wearable 3D printed tanktop as well as 3D printed details for skirts and jackets in collaboration with designer Katie Gallagher. Bradley also worked with designer Katya Leonovich to incorporate 3D Printed textiles in her SS15 line.

With these impressive and fashionable creations, Bradley Rothenberg is seeking to 'unlock 3D printing's potential to change design and manufacturing, [and] explores commutation as a method to generate objects that could not be made in other ways'.

Using new flexible materials like thermoplastic elastomer and thermoplastic polyurethane, Rothenberg was able to 3D print these textiles and make them as comfortable and wearable as possible. And just like ordinary textiles on a microscopic level, these have been shaped in mesh structures. These have been repeated, subdivided, thickened and thinned on various parts of the outfit to increase flexibility.

To achieve this, an EOS P760 printer was used, which employs Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology to print. Elisa Richardson of Bradley Rothenberg Studio explained to that this 3D printing technology was chosen because it 'allows for the most freedom in geometry because there are no support structures necessary, so we can make complex interlocking shapes.'

The tank -top, meanwhile, was printed through 3D printing company i.Materialise and the trims with the help of Shapeways. Interestingly, the tank-top prints were relatively easy to print as they are flat and very thin. The entire machine can run for 12 hours for a full job, which would be 24 tank tops. A single tank-top would therefore only take about an hour to print, 30 min for printing, and another 30 min for cooling. And the results are certainly impressive.

Currently, a number of plans have been made to increase the usage of 3D printing in the development of clothing. This partly consists of mixing 3D printed materials with woven or knitted materials, but they are even looking into printing entire outfits. The studio is currently in the process of developing software that will enable them to grow textiles around any shape, which would enable them to print an entire dress in the near future.


All images credit: Bradley Rothenberg Studio

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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