Hong Kong Adventure | Talk on 3D Printing and the Future of Fashion

Recently, I was in Hong Kong to share my thoughts with the Hong Kong Productivity Council. The HKPC is a government organization tasked with promoting and assisting the HK business sector through the introduction of more efficient and updated business and technological methods.

The focus of the summit was 3D innovation for fashion and apparel, including developments in additive manufacturing, 3D knitting, and beyond. During my forty-minute talk, I shared thoughts on how 3D-printing and additive manufacturing are transforming many aspects of the fashion industry— from the way designers prototype to the ways garments actually are manufactured.

Half the fun of talking about 3D printing and fashion right now is getting to share the stories behind some of my favourite garments and designers, including Iris Van Herpen, Anouk Wipprecht, Julia Koerner, Francis Bitonti, Behnaz Farahi, Danit Peleg, and more.

Each of these designers, I argue, while experimenting with 3D printing, is pointing us towards the future of this medium. In creating “the” 3D printed dress for Dita Von Teese, Francis Bitonti, along with his collaborators, asked, can a dress be 3D printed and wearable at the same time? And for an evening look, at that?

Dita Von Teese made a splash when she wore a fully 3D-printed dress created by Francis Bitonti Studio and collaborators. Image via DeZeen

Anouk Wipprecht leverages 3D printing to create dresses and accessories that do things no designer dreamed they do before. Wipprecht’s designs react, blow smoke, or pour you a shot (if they like you). Take her recent collaboration with Viktoria Modesta, as an example. Modesta is a bionic pop artist, whose music and public image challenge ideas of disability. Wipprecht collaborated with Modesta to create a custom 3D-printed prosthetic leg that lights up and releases smoke—transforming a medical wearable into a tool of performance and self-expression.

Bionic Pop Artist Viktoria Modesta performs with a 3D-Printed Prosthetic leg designed by Anouk Wipprecht.

Danit Peleg asks, can an entire collection be 3D printed at home? (The answer is yes!) 

And then there’s Iris Van Herpen, whose dresses ask so much, including what can 3D printed fashion look like? How can it be developed, how can it move, and what can it help us express?

Iris Van Herpen’s Voltage collection included a cape and skirt called Anthoza. Created in collaboration with Neri Oxman and produced by Stratasys, Anthoza uses a multi-material 3D-printing technique that allows a variety of material properties to be printed into a single build. Image via Iris Van Herpen.

Through my research, I was able to find that 3DP is rapidly growing, and we’re in a massive state of experimentation right now. One of the main questions I asked thrughout my presentation was is fashion software? While there’s no doubt digtization has impacted all aspects of the industry, I was curious about the mutability and digitization of textiles. In case you’d like to learn more, I’ve included my presentation as a Slideshare link below. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for our upcoming Hong Kong Vlog.

Amanda Cosco
Amanda Cosco is a Fashion Futurist and the founder of Electric Runway

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