During Iris van Herpen’s spring 2015 show in Paris there was one dress that particularly attracted our attention: an almost transparant ice-like dress, which was worn by Dutch model Iekeliene Stange. This strapless dress was fully made by a 3D printer, using so-called SLA technology. For this project, Van Herpen worked together with 3D Systems, the natural mother of this technique, as it’s founder Chuck Hull invented the technique in 1983.
SLA technology is a form of 3D printing that has been used for industrial purposes for a long time, but which now stars to be used for other appliances as well. For instance for making dresses. The technology works as follows: a vat is filled with liquid photopolymer, after which a beam of ultraviolet light focusses on the parts that need to be printed. This proces will continue for a long time – just like other ways of 3D printing do – until the polymer hardens. What remains is a 3D print, which can easily be taken out of the vat. Can you imagine that the dress you see in the image was made this way?
The team printed the dress in two parts that had to be ‘stitched’ together in order to be capable of being worn by the model. The convenient thing about using 3D printing technology in fashion is that it also allows the artist to create a garment that is accurately measured to the model. In this particular case, Van Herpen used 3D scanning technology to scan the model and used this 3D scan to guide the actual SLA printer with directions.
The result is to be called stunning. This dress simply couldn’t be made any other way and it innovates fashion. However, you can’t actually wear these kinds of dresses, as they are simply too hard to be worn. 3D printed dresses are still the domain of the catwalk, and despite successful experiments here and there, this will probably be the case for a little longer. Nevertheless, Fashionista reports that 3D Systems and Van Herpen are planning on working on a way to make her designs more commercial. More precisely, they are working on a range of 3D printed accessories, bags and jewelry, which will likely be part of the collection.
If you would like to see how SLA technology works, then check out this little video and be amazed by it’s results.
Image credits: Imaxtree.