Dita Von Teese is hailed as the first star to wear a 3D printed dress created by clothing and jewelry designer Michael Schmidt and printed by Shapeways. However that was in 2013 and today 3D printing is much more prolific both on the fashion runways, on celebrities and in the entertainment industry.
Soon we will be seeing movie stars wearing 3D printed costumes in films and using 3D printed props. Special effects companies are now using 3D printers to produce more intricate and detailed props and costumes which don’t take long to create and surpass the ability of human craftsmanship. The actor is no longer needed to go for endless fittings as he can simply be scanned and then the prop and costume department can design accordingly. This process is also cheaper than the conventional method. We have already seen 3D props and costumes on screen, for example Chris Pratt wore a 3D printed helmet in Guardians of the Galaxy and Christian Bale wore 3D printed armor in Exodus: Gods and Kings. The human touch is not altogether redundant yet. We will always need skilled designers and engineers involved in the process.
Costume designer Kym Barrett incorporated 3D printing technology in her outstanding designs for the film Jupiter Jones. The 34 costumes are embellished with 1.3 Swarovski crystals, have 57 colors and are made in 31 sizes.
In Perry’s recent Prismatic World Tour her back-up dancers wore 3D printed head pieces with mohawks created by Stratasys. The helmets are worn during the opening number of the concert, during the hit song “Roar.” Hollywood company Legacy Effects created the 3D printed mohawks inspired by the plume on a Roman helmet and the mohawks light up in multiple colors. The heads of the dancers were scanned and the helmets each personally fitted to stay in place while the dancers move energetically on the stage. It only took a week to create the head pieces using Stratasys 3D printing technology and the cost was lower than it would have been without 3D technology. To guarantee durability throughout the length of the tour the outer crest of the helmet was made using sturdy ABS-M30 FDM thermoplastic, then the mohawks were printed using Stratasys’ VeroGrey material. A sheet of acrylic was housed within the mohawks to create the colorful effect.
Other celebrities who are enjoying the possibilities of 3D printed clothing are Lady Gaga who wore 3D printed dresses designed by Studio XO and Icelandic singer Bjork who wore 3D printed clothing designed by fashion idol Van Herpen.
As with so many fashion trends we can expect to see celebrities and the film industry in general leading the way in the 3D printed fashion industry. Being able to produce custom-made one-off pieces in a short period of time and for low cost will make 3D printing a part of future prop and costume projects.