3D printing’s colonisation of the fashion industry continued this week, as designer Bradley Rothenberg debuted a new series of textiles at New York Fashion Week. The American designer, who places himself ‘at the intersection of design and technology’, has collaborated with designers Katie Gallagher and Katya Leonovich, to create wearable 3D printed textiles. The end-product of this collaboration strutted down the catwalk on September 9th.
Items on show included tank tops, skirts and jackets, all of them including brilliantly detailed 3D printed textiles. Rothenberg hopes these creations can:
…unlock 3D printing’s potential to change design and manufacturing and explore commutation as a method to generate objects that could not be made in other ways.
In order to ensure the clothing was wearable, comfortable and printable, Rothenberg used extremely flexible materials, such as thermoplastic polyurethane and thermoplastic elastomer. The designer paid particular attention to ensure the mesh structures of the textiles repeated, divided, thickened and thinned at the right part of each item of clothing in order to allow the wearer to move in comfort. The outfits were printed using a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process on an EOS P760 printer. SLS printing allows the creators to really express themselves with freedom, as no support structures are required.
i.Materialise and Shapeways were in charge of the actual printing of the garments. The turnaround time for manufacturing clothing in this way is pretty impressive. For example, it takes a mere 12 hours to print off 24 tank tops, while a single tank top would only take 30 minutes. Plus, thanks to the creative freedom allowed by designing items to be printed, clothing makers can really allow their imaginations to run wild. No wonder 3D printing and fashion are making for such happy bedfellows.
Rothenberg will continue to develop such pieces from his Bradley Rothernberg Studio in Manhattan, where he and his team turn out jewelry, accessories and textiles that push the limits of both fashion and technology.