For many years designers were limited in creating products due to the way products were manufactured. Complex, twisted or dynamic shapes were difficult to achieve. However, new additive manufacturing techniques have opened the doors to a new world where almost every design is possible: the world of 3D printing. It has caused a change in how we think about modern design and manufacturing, which also applies to me.
For one of my electives, called ‘Cybercraft’, I explored the possibilities of digital manufacturing in relation to craft. This required a high level of design considerations, detailing and finishing. Moreover, dedication and time played an important role to efficiently generate a broad variety of ideas and to elaborate my design to a high-end level.
Melbourne Cup Day
The design features of fashion and millinery and my product design experience created the opportunity to merge both fashion and product aesthetics into one design: one of world’s first 3D printed fascinator. Not to mention that due to my exchange program in Melbourne I aimed my fascinator to be unveiled at the 2013 Melbourne Cup Day: Australia’s most famous horse race.
The process of 3D printing was used to enhance the design. With this technique, I could manipulate my digital model in such a way that it perfectly suited within the intended purpose of the 2013 Melbourne Cup Day. This can be seen as a new form of craft. As a consequence, this previously niche trend of using additive manufacturing techniques in fashion and millinery is gaining more acceptance and interest.
The collaboration with professional milliner Julie Fleming provided me with a better understanding about the meaning of millinery and fascinators. In addition, her expertise and advice made it possible that my fascinator was worn at Melbourne Cup Day.
The final design of the fascinator was predominantly inspired by the influences of Art Nouveau. The behavior and motion of water and wind are strongly related to this art movement. The fascinator captures one moment in time. It freezes the moment where wind intervenes with the dynamic motion of water which brings energy and life to it. Moreover, the elegant pattern of the base provides a light look and feel that creates the visual effect of a vortex. The ‘ribbons’ that cross the forehead ensure a lower visual weight and help to draw emphasis onto the eyes. In addition, with a weight of only 150 grams the fascinator is very pleasant and light to wear.
The emerging trend of fashion and additive manufacturing is becoming more established now. Whether or not this means that fashion will face a radical change the coming years, at least one thing is sure: an exquisite fashion statement has been made with this fascinator.