3D Printed Clothing

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Adrenaline Dress
Image source: Chromat

This is the first season that WME/IMG’s ownership of the ‘big four’ fashion weeks has truly come into play – but has that changed the way fashion shows work with tech? As New York Fashion Week comes to a close, we’ve analysed five of its best tech moments, from smart sportswear and phone-charging accessories to the use of social media as a customer engagement tool.

Chromat’s Clever Tech

Chromat collaborated with Intel – using the tech company’s Intel Curie Module which, according to Chromat, serves “as an extension of our sensory systems” – to create two garments that adapt to the wearer: the Adrenaline Dress and the Aeros Sports Bra.

The Adrenaline Dress responds to adrenalin levels; sudden spikes in the wearer’s adrenalin cause the 3D-printed, tech-powered framework to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode, forming an imposing shape around the wearer. Meanwhile, the mechanisms behind the Aeros Sports Bra are triggered by perspiration, respiration and body temperature. The responsive bra, which marks Chromat’s first foray into activewear, has air vents that open when the body starts overheating.

Hilfiger’s Halo

Tommy Hilfiger’s S/S 16 show was the first ever event to use Twitter’s new ‘Halo’ feature, which allows users to record 360-degree video footage with multi-camera devices. It wasn’t the first time Hilfiger had partnered with the social media site, though, as last season’s show made use of the ‘Twitter Mirror’ software.

The Instagram Takeover

Instagram offered a daily feature, The Best of Fashion Week, in its Explore section during NYFW, and fashion brands themselves also utilised the image-sharing app to engage customers.

DKNY’s newly appointed creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne decided to connect with the brand’s fans through Instagram. Using the new ‘Direct’ arrow on the app, users could send runway looks from the #DKNYSS16 hashtag to @DKNY in order to receive information about the story behind specific S/S 16 items.

Misha Nonoo, meanwhile, went a step further by foregoing the runway to stage her S/S 16 presentation on Instagram, uploading the whole shoot to an account called @mishanonoo_show. Speaking of her decision to use Instagram, the CFDA finalist said: “It’s so strange to me that [fashion] touches everyone, yet we have these location-specific events that touch just a rarefied few. To me, that doesn’t make sense; I love the inclusiveness of Instagram.”

Tumblr Goes Offline

For the past five years, Tumblr has been sending its most popular tastemakers to NYFW to document the shows. This September, however, the popular blogging platform decided to add an ‘offline’ element to the mix in the form of a pop-up shop and designated blogger meet-up space in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood. From September 11-13, it displayed a fashion line created by 10 Tumblr ‘artists’.

Rebecca Minkoff Loves the Apple Watch

A drone hovered over the Rebecca Minkoff runway last week, as the brand showcased an array of tech-enabled wallets and shoulder bags for S/S 16. Luxury bands for the Apple Watch also featured, meaning Minkoff has beaten Hermes to become the first designer label to sell Apple Watch bands.

The best thing about these thoroughly modern accessories? They’re all available to buy now. Uri Minkoff, CEO and co-founder of the brand, told TechCrunch: “Unlike the Hermes band, our [bands] are available to ship this month… with the new iPhone 6S coming out, women are wanting to buy their tech accessories now instead of waiting six months.”

Interested in who’s innovating at Fashion Week? Next month in New York, Decoded Fashion and W Magazine will launch the Fashion Futures Awards, celebrating talent across the fashion and technology industries. Find out more here.

Reported by Grace Howard

A Kickstarter project is seeking funding to create the world’s first 3D fabric printer. Electroloom’s fundraising page states: “Design and create seamless, ready-to-wear garments based on custom 3D geometries. All from your desktop. No sewing required.”

Based in San Francisco, the start-up’s technology will enable consumers to design and manufacture garments from scratch, with only basic computer-aided design skills needed to create patterns for the Electroloom 3D fabric printer.

Electric fields guide a polyester and cotton blend solution over the user’s custom-made mould, where the nano-fibres bind together to create the fabric. Once removed, it behaves exactly like traditionally woven material – flexing, draping and folding as desired. Early demonstrations have so far produced skirts, shift dresses and a men’s tank top.

As more 3D printers enter consumers’ homes, we expect further advances in the field to drastically alter the way we engage with brands, fostering co-creation and disrupting the traditional supply chain.

At this year’s Decoded Fashion London Summit, speakers such as Joel Freeman, co-founder and chief executive of fashion shopping app Grabble, spoke enthusiastically about the future impact of 3D printing on how fashion will soon be bought and produced. Electroloom’s technology could facilitate the downloading and printing of fashion designs at home.

Belgian fashion designer Bruno Pieters has also detailed plans to provide downloadable garments for his 100% transparent fashion company Honest By. “I’m more and more intrigued by 3D printing,” he said in an interview on the brand’s website, highlighting the ethical and sustainable practices afforded by the technology. “We’re going to have our design online; you will be able to download it, and if you have a 3D printer at home you will be able to print it out, or you can go to a 3D printer shop near you. So all the issues of child labour, animal abuse – they all disappear with 3D printing.”

However, at the moment, the process relies on synthetic or blended synthetic and natural fibres, raising issues regarding garment end-of-life solutions. Currently, mixed fibres are notoriously difficult to recycle and polyester, while recyclable, is non-biodegradable.

Guest post Stylus.com by Lisa Payne