Fashion 4.0 Digital materials and 3D printing: a mix of the extraordinary and the familiar
Usually, extraordinary and familiar are two adjectives at opposite sides of the spectrum. But interpretations produced by new fashion paradigms show that this is not necessarily so.
Increasingly frequently, we see and wear stylish clothes and accessories that represent the marriage between the extraordinary dimension of the ideas of fashion designers and their realisation in the form of products that were unthinkable until a short while ago. This marriage is becoming more tangible and habitual. The foremost fascinating realm where numerous stimuli for ideas are found is 3D printing, especially where it is used to confer concrete three-dimensionality to a new way of designing that is sometimes called “generative design”.
Three-dimensional printing starts with a file, generally a 3D drawing, which is transformed into a code by special software. A single computer-controlled machine produces the three-dimensional shape. The machine deposits layer after layer of material to build up the object. This is called additive manufacturing. Generative design is a kind of invisible revolution, as it was recently described, in which a series of algorithms and digital interfaces is used to obtain optimised forms for products and even for buildings. This reduces and almost excludes human effort. It is clear that if this type of approach finds the confirmation that we are expecting, in a nearer future than we perhaps can imagine today, generative design will radically change the shape of the world around us. It will also change the role of fashion designers and industrial designers, and become the new heart of how things are made. When generative design is combined with scientific research, computer graphics and 3D printing, the results can be as wonderful as they are unpredictable. Such results have been obtained by people who have succeeded in interpreting within this framework of mathematics, technology and creativity all the allure found in nature.