Article by Andrew Wheeler October 07th 2014
The concept of a 3D printed reactive wearable started in 2014, when Paola Tognazzi decided to take the wearable technology to a whole new level. She wanted to take people beyond just carrying technology or tech gadgets such as Smartphones and iPads to wearing tech garments that gave humans a more intimate relationship with technology.
Paola had found a creative and innovative way of interweaving technology into clothes and garments thus making it possible to carry technology everywhere you go while at the same time putting on stylish attire that you love.
She wasn’t about to stop there, Paola went ahead and now brought 3D printing into the equation which made things even better. 3D printing made the garments shape shift and practically react to the body movements of the wearer creating a pretty cool spectacle. With these kinds of wearables, the wearer actually plays a part in determining the design of the shape, as the wearable changes form to accommodate the physical movement of the wearer. In doing this, the personal dynamics of the wearer are fully accommodated by the wearable. In her designs, the movement of the wearer changed the thickness, volume and the structural properties of the 3D printed material used. Generally, in many ways her wearable designs were able to connect to the dynamics of a wearer’s body movements both while in motion and at stationary postures. The overall effect was stunning to say the least.
When 3D printing met wearable technology, a whole new horizon of applications opened up. In 2010 Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen pioneered 3D-printed fashion. Until 2014 the idea was mainly exploited by provocative artists such as New York-based Chinese-born artist Xuedi Chen, who 3D-printed «disappearing» lingerie (that revelead more and more of her naked body as she was active online), and Dutch designer Borre Akkersdijk, who 3D-printed garments with embedded electronics. In 2012 Wisconsin-based student Bryan Cera had even 3D-printed a wearable cell phone that could be worn like a glove. In 2014 New York-based architect Francis Bitonti 3D-printed a nylon gown based on the Fibonacci series (and in 2015 even designed a digital jewelry collection). 2015 saw an avalanche of new applications. Christophe Guberan, Carlo Clopath and Skylar Tibbits from the MIT 3D printed a «reactive» shoe that changes shape dynamically to provide maximum comfort. Vancouver-based Wiivv, founded by Shamil Hargovan and Louis-Victor Jadavji, launched its service of custom 3D printed insoles. New Balance 3D printed a high-performance running shoe. London designer Julian Hakes 3D-printed shoes for Olympic gold medal winner Amy Williams. Italian designer Paola Tognazzi 3D-printed garments that changed dynamically as the wearer moved. California-based Iranian-born designer Behnaz Farahi 3D-printed a «helmet» that changed shape in response to the wearer’s brainwaves. Lidewij van Twillert from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) 3D printed lingerie, and Shanghai-based Iranian-born designer Nasim Sehat 3D printed extravagant eyewear. 3D printing was reinventing the tailor in the digital age.