Jun 10, 2016 | By Alec

3D printing is steadily growing into a legitimate tool for fashion designers, and we’ve seen numerous fantastic examples already. Just a few days ago, one British fashion student showcased her 3D printed bespoke lingerie. In most of the cases where state-of-the-art technology meets fashion, the results are fantastic, wild, futuristic and a complete departure from anything that has been worn in the past. But when designing her 3D printed Braindrain outfit, Dutch fashion designer Maartje Dijkstra instead found her inspiration at the opposite end of the fashion spectrum: in the traditional dress worn by people in the Groningen region during the 1850s.

Maartje Dijkstra is a Dutch fashion designer operating out of Rotterdam. Since 2007, she has been working on her own high fashion/couture label, and has built up a reputation for designing individualistic, sculptural, progressive and hand-made outfits, accessories and illustrations. In that approach, technology often plays a very strong role and she has therefore extensively worked with 3D printing already. However, she usually combines that approach with hand-made accessories to create a unique touch.

This approach is also clearly visible in Braindrain (referring to a knowledge exodus), which is part of an exposition called “Groninger dress meets fashion tech”. And yet, Dijkstra found inspiration in the 19th century. “The Groninger dress and fashion from the 1850s served as inspiration for this project,” she reveals.

While that traditional cornerstone might not be so clearly visible at first, it is in fact strongly present in the golden shells that cover the dress. All have been inspired by the gold-colored ear pieces that were fashionable among the northern Dutch of the Groningen region during the 1850s. But Dijkstra has also clearly done her best to make them as high-tech as possible. All shells are therefore connected to motors and numerous white LEDs that move and flicker like a stroboscope.

That shell movement is dictated by a dark and melancholy electronic rhythm, and also reveal the link to traditional Groninger culture. For the electronic beats have been realized by combining tunes from an old-fashioned Dutch church organ – very commonplace in the many Calvinist churches of the Northern Netherlands – with the sounds of the sea and the sound of digging, reflecting the laborers of Groningen. This ominous soundtrack has been composed by Newk, and the technical parts have been developed in collaboration with technology artists Neon&Landa.

But the dress would not have been realized without 3D printing. The dress itself consists of two different layers, that together form a single story. The black sections have been completely 3D printed by hand using a 3Doodler pen, to form a structure that is clearly reminiscent of an insect exoskeleton. This must have been an agonizingly slow process to realize. The numerous small parts have all been connected with black polyester and silk threads.

The golden shells themselves are also 3D printed, but clearly not by hand. Instead, Dijkstra designed them together with Vincent Mensink, and 3D printed them in white nylon filament through the Oceanz 3D printing service. The parts were subsequently spray painted in a special golden tone.

Thanks to the 3D printing services of Oceanz, these smooth shells provide the dress with another function that brings all the parts together. Being semi-transparent, the LEDs inside create a fantastic aesthetic effect once turned on and moving on the electronic rhythm. “The robotic motors give the design an animal-like feeling, as if its breathing, taking in noise and sending it back into the world,” the designer says. The final result might not look extremely comfortable, but certainly pushes the 3D printing envelope in the world of fashion.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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