Sep 18, 2015 | By Kira

Three high-end and high-tech fashion pieces by Austrian architect and designer Julia Koerner used 3D printing materials and processes to turn the unique colors and textures of sea creatures into completely wearable designs.

In collaboration with Stratasys, Koerner printed the The Sporophyte Collection, which includes the Hymenium Jacket, the Kelp Jacket, and the Kelp Necklace, on the Object 500 Connex3 multi-color, multi-material 3D printer, using PolyJet-based rigid and rubber-like digital materials. Like most of her designs, each of the pieces is feminine and sensual, but wit bold, alien-like lines that command attention. 

Koerner was inspired by the natural structures found in fungi and kelp, as well as the processes of biomimicry. By 3D scanning various underwater species and organic mushrooms, she was able to study them, modify them, and bring them to life. 3D printing processes allowed the designer to incorporate complex geometric patterns and material property combinations that could not otherwise have been created with traditional methods of manufacturing and design. “It was very important that these intricate pieces maintained a flexible aesthetic,” she said. “The dried kelp has a very intricate layering system, and I wanted to bring this complexity into the lace-like structure, as seen in the Kelp jacket and necklace. There is no other technology available that could achieve the complexity, detail, and granularity of this design.”

Close-ups of the 3D printed Kelp Jacket, via Julia Koerner 

In order to achieve exactly the level of structure and aesthetic detail she required, she used Stratasys TangoBlackPlus and VeroBlack materials, which “enable designers to produce the unique combination of rigid and flexible pieces that behave more like a garment, allowing the material to work with the body as it moves about.” While he entire design process and collaboration with Stratasys lasted three months, each of the three pieces were 3D printed in just a few days

Hymenium Jacket, above, and Kelp Jacket, below

These unique properties are precisely why Koerner believes 3D printing and digital materials can revolutionize the fashion design industry. Not only do they allow for a unique design freedom, particularly with designing irregular geometric patterns, but they have also facilitated new trends, such as custom-fit clothing, or pieces that actually respond to each individual wearer’s body.

In fact, Koerner is no stranger to 3D printed fashion, and could be seen as single-handedly trying to lead an additive manufacturing fashion revolution. Originally from Austria, Koerner holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, a Master of Science in emergent technologies and design from the Architectural Association, London, and has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, the Venice Biennale, and Paris Haute Couture.

Previously, she has used her additive manufacturing skills to collaborate with the French couture house Maison Lesage, Haute Couture designer Iris Van Herpen, Berlin-based fashion designer Marina Hoermanseder, and 3D printing company Materialise. The Sporophyte Collection is her first 3D printed ready-to-wear fashion collection. We have also seen other designers use Stratasys Objet 500 and rubber-like materials to create futuristic wearables, such as this collection by Gruppo Meccaniche Luciani.

“I think it’s extremely exciting to be a part of this group of designers who are investigating how fashion design can be developed with 3D printing,” said Koerner. “It’s my mission to take this a step further and produce customized, ready-to-wear fashion that is not only for museums, but also for the average woman to wear.”



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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