Iris van Herpen Pushes Fashion to Uncharted Territory Using 3D Printing


January 31, 2018


Iris van Herpen is known for using technology and art to create stunning pieces in fashion, but her recent 2018 Spring Collection, Ludi Naturae, has included garments created using 3D printing technology.  In today’s contemporary society, there lies a rift between the arts and sciences, but van Herpen’s work is so unique because she’s made the most out of both of them. In a New York Times interview with Nick Knight, van Herpen’s photographer, he names her as “one of the most exciting designers working today” because of her willingness to embrace and explore the role of technology in her work.

3D Printing Dress Featured in 2018 Spring Collection

Van Herpen worked with a host of scientists and experts to create a 3D printed dress featured in Ludi Naturae. The piece was created by using thermo-setting polymers ejected out of a 3D printer which was then exposed to ultraviolet light to set. A tulle fabric was then inserted into the printer bed. The dress was printed out in 30 x 30 cm patches which were then sewn together into a single garment. The 3D printing process took 260 hours to complete, and an additional 60 hours to stitch the dress together.



van Herpen’s dress is a significant and innovative step for the fashion community. For one, no one had yet succeeded to effectively combine plastic with textile properties before. Normally, engineers would start with a design. This kind of project used a new production method to see what was possible. Tu Delft scientist Verlinden, one of many who collaborated with van Herpen make this dress possible, boasts that this project “ventured into uncharted territory.”

The garments in van Herpen’s collection represent vision. Obviously, not many of us would be caught strutting down the street or lounging around on a Saturday morning with her garments on. Verlinden explains, “Like a concept car, the dress is not intended for day-to-day use or mass production, but represents a vision. It also makes it possible to experiment with new possibilities, such as those provided by 3D printing.”

van Herpen’s pieces are impressively structured beautifully, flowy dresses with intricate patterns and three-dimensional aspects, reminiscent of feathers or dragonfly wings. They are precise, yet elegant. Geometric, yet brimming with spontaneity. It seems science and art, together, are responsible for the creation of beauty.


For your 3D scanning and 3D printing needs, call Arrival 3D at 866-687-7784.

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