3D Printing In Fashion

By: Toluwalase Akinrinmade

           The Met Gala is an annual charity ball for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, U.S.A. It is viewed worldwide as one of the most extravagant events reserved for only the most famous in the American entertainment industry. Every year on the first Monday of May, celebrities arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to showcase a vast array of custom made outfits reaching 6-figure prices. The Costume Institution exhibition has a new theme annually, this theme sets the tone for the Met Gala since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit.     

            This year was no different from the previous years in that the guests’ outfits were outstanding but what set it apart from other years in my eyes was the presence of 3-D printed dresses. Zac Posen, a reputable fashion designer, dressed nine different people at the 2019 Met Gala; five of which wore 3-D printed outfits or accessories. He worked in partnerships with Protolabs and GE additive, who both work with additive manufacturing.

My personal favorite was the Bustier worn by Nina Dobrev (pictured left). Her body was scanned so that when the dress came out, it would fit her perfectly. The dress itself was created using stereolithography (SLA), has four parts and took approximately 200 hours to make. The glass-like finish was achieved using wet hand-sanding and spraying with a topcoat.

Julia Garner wore an ombré silver to gold lamé gown. Her headpiece was inspired by wine and made use of ornate leaves and berries. It took 22 hours to be printed in nylon.

Katie Holmes (pictured left) wore a custom Zac Polsen gown with a palm leaf collar piece. They were draped over her shoulders and attached to the gown at the neckline. It took 56 hours to create.

 Deepika Padukone (pictured below) walked unto the pink carpet in an equally pink dress. It was a Posen original metallic pink lurex jacquard gown with additional embroidery. The 408 delicate embroideries were vacuum metalized and printed using SLA then sewn unto the gown exterior. The printing and finish of the embroideries took over 160 hours.

The last but definitely not the least piece is the rose dress worn by Jourdan Dunn, which is both noteworthy and complicated. It is made up of 21 printed petals worn on a titanium net frame. The petals were made using SLA technology while the net underneath was made using Electron Beam Melting (EBM). Each petal took 100 hours to make and is worth $3000. The dress weighs roughly 30lbs(13.6kg) in total. It can be lengthened by adding up to 17 more petals (making 37 petals in total).

I look forward to seeing more fashion innovations in the days to come. If you were interested in this article take a look at Innov8xions, a 3-d printing summer training program based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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