Nov 10, 2017 | By Tess

3D printing is taking center stage once again, this time in London. At an upcoming performance of Farewell My Concubine by the Beijing Opera, the actors will be dressed in amazingly detailed 3D printed costumes designed by Mingjing Lin and Tsai-Chun Huang, two Fashion and Textile PhD students at the Royal College of Art, London.

While we’ve seen our fair share of amazing 3D printed garments and costumes, Lin and Huang are doing something new in the field by focusing their designs specifically on folds and pleating. Huang, a specialist in pleating, teamed up with Huang, whose expertise is in 3D printing, to conceive of and realize the stunning costumes in a project called "Fold the Interfashionality."

Like many 3D printed fashion pieces, the Farewell My Concubine costume designs were born from a belief that craft and technology are not opposing approaches, but can be used in tandem with each other to create new and innovative designs that draw from traditional craft and handmade techniques.

The result, in the case of Huang and Lin’s collaboration, is a series of otherworldly and dramatic garments and accessories which were manufactured using 3D printing but mimic the folds and pleats of fabric in their structure.

In creating the 3D printed pieces, the designers teamed up with Polish 3D printing company Sinterit, which assisted them in finding the right materials for the elaborate costume pieces. According to Sinterit, the materials needed to be both flexible and sturdy, as well as comfortably wearable for the actors as they perform.

Ultimately, the design team settled on using Sinterit’s Flexa Black material for SLS 3D printing which demonstrated its ability to be both flexible and retain its structure and shape when 3D printed into wearables. The black color of the material also adds a contemporary aesthetic to the costumes and looks striking in contrast with the actors’ prominent makeup.

Flexa Black is a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer) powder which was developed for Sinterit’s selective laser sintering technologies. According to the company, the SLS material possesses similar properties to rubber, in that it is flexible, handles impact well, and can retain its structure easily.

The costume pieces, which included neckwear, arm covers, and more, were 3D printed using the Sinterit Lisa 3D printer, a low-cost SLS system developed by the Polish company. Recently, Sinterit announced it would be slashing the cost of its 3D printer even more, making it available for €4,990.

“In the future, this kind of SLS 3D printed material can lead to further research about a relationship between movement, fashion, and the body,” said Sinterit in a blog post.

The stunning 3D printed costumes made from Flexa Black will be debuted on December 1, 2017 at an exclusive showing of Farewell My Concubine at the Royal College of Art which will be performed by Beijing Opera singers.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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