Fashionivity: Design for Impact

Francis Bitonti 3D Printed Dress

Francis Bitoni’s three- dimensionally printed dress for Dita Von Teese has been one of Fashionivitys inspirational points.

Since graduating from Goldsmiths College in 2007 I spent 3 years developing work around hand and digital textile production processes before launching this website. Prior to launching my brand I collaborated with artists and designers in both the UK and Iran. My first collaborative body of work ‘Impossibility of the Mundane’ questioned reality by placing what seemed absurd into genuine landscapes or settings. I created illusions; mixing the believable and the unbelievable using a visual language that combined elements of pop art, kitsch and the obscure with existing locations.

Impossibility of the Mundane 1

A still from the ‘Impossibility of the Mundane’ (2007)

The work I developed was exhibited in Asia House (Solo Exhibition, 2008), Shirin Gallery (Solo Exhibition, 2008) and among other notable galleries. In 2009 I was commission by the Bucharest Arts Council to produce site-specific work for the third Urban Art Festival. From 2010 I shifted to designing prints for fashion under my brand Mia Jafari London, which were featured in Grazia, Nylon, Harpers Bazaar, Hello, Guardian among other publications and were sold in S*uce, Dubai and Debut, New York as well as online.

Fashionivity In a Nutshell:

After a few years away from designing I have decided to come back to fashion but look at the use of emerging technology and traditional craft techniques to create new pieces hence the launch of this project. Inspired by ‘Jupiter and Lo’ by Correggio (I’ll delve into this inspiration in my next post) and supported by the Arts Council of England, Fashionivity will examine the use of solid and transient imagery, amorphous mass juxtaposed with distinct lines within the painting to recreate these polarities through both hand and machine production methods. My aim is to create wearable art pieces that utilize the latest technologies e.g. 3D printing, laser cutting, smart textiles, combined with hand embroidery and fabric distressing to reconstruct these polarities.

As this is a new process for me I will collaborate with designers, artists and sculptors who can bring new approaches, skills and mind-sets to the pieces.

To get started, I attending a workshop in Amsterdam with Francis Bitonti to explore how he generated the gold-plated 3D printed shoes for United Nude and the world’s first 3D printed dress  for Dita Von Teese.

Francis Bitonti United Nude 3D Printed Shoe

Francis Bitoni teamed up with United Nude to create these 3D printed  gold plated shoes.

The New York based designer teamed up with United Nude and 3D systems for the release of the ‘Mutatio’ collection, a wearable project that considers the future of customization. Each shoe in the edition is completely unique, generated by an algorithm developed by the designer.  Furthermore I explored through conversations and workshops with Francis the world’s first three- dimensionally printed dress he designed for Dita Von Teese. The mesh number consists of thousands of individual nylon components, dyed black, lacquered, and embellished with more than 13,000 Swarovski crystals to achieve its drastically beautiful appearance.

This was my launch point to further create my own fabric prototypes using 3D printing but found them too rigid so now working using filaments that are softer and have the potential to bend like fabrics. I am also looking at using recycling filaments.

My Key Takeaways:

1).   I need to think of 3D printing as designing a textiles but just using a 3D printer.

2).   I need to find a softer filament that can be easily molded and has more of the qualities of a textiles, such as ninjaflex.

3).    3D printing is a disruptive technology, hence I need to learn how to implement it into my process.

As I transition into the design phase of Fashionivity, I realise that technology cannot replace the legacy of traditional know-how; I have to find a way to mix it into my practise!

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