The Oscillation dress was poduced using the Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology. (Photo credit: Ben Gabbe)

The Oscillation dress was poduced using the Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology. (Photo credit: Ben Gabbe)

A 3D printed dress shown on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week is the designers' most "intricate and complex creation to date" according to its creators, who used multi-material 3D printing technology from Stratasys.

Following the début of their 3D printed dresses at New York Fashion Week in February, designers ThreeAsFour and Travis Fitch created the Oscillation dress as part of an ongoing collaboration with 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company Stratasys.

3D printed fashions take to the catwalk

Comprised of 30 individual and highly precise multi-colour, multi-material 3D printed parts created via assembly of 270 unique design files, the Oscillation dress made its début at New York Fashion Week on Thursday (15 September). And ThreeAsFour and Travis Fitch say the design is only achievable with Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology.

"3D printing is transformative for designers aiming to take complex designs and realise them as a wearable garment," explains Adi Gil, ThreeAsFour. "In the case of Oscillation, Stratasys 3D printing enabled us to visualise 3D patterns as they truly are – complex, interwoven circles of energy, transforming in shape, colour and flexibility as they radiate around the body. The stellar parallax of the patterns, the way in which they transform as the viewing angle changes, is only possible through 3D printing."

The 30 unique dress components were initially printed as flat, unwrapped patches that were later assembled on the body. Using Stratasys' 3D printing capabilities, including advanced precision and the ability to vary material properties, the designers were able to recreate vibrational patterns and geometries without compromising the flexibility and wearability integral to the design.

According to Gil, the designers have now been able to push this technology even further to create the 'Oscillation' dress, produced not only in varying material thicknesses, but also in a spectrum of vivid colour gradations.

"The bio-inspired coloration, corresponding to fluctuations in shape and size, is only achievable with Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing technology," he adds. "As the nodal patterns thicken, scale, and undulate, the colour gradations respond accordingly to accentuate the geometry. Using a vivid colour range, we were able to construct a multi-dimensional textural surface; a screenshot of a dynamic, oscillating waveform."

To effectively produce the gradated coloration, each print was digitally split into nine layers of less than one millimeter in thickness. Individual layers were assigned a particular mixture of colour and flexibility for the overall effect, with nearly 300 separate design files used to complete the landmark project.

"At Stratasys we are continually reflecting on aesthetic discoveries to help creative minds explore uncharted grounds in contemporary art and design that can be realised with our 3D printing technology," adds Naomi Kaempfer, creative director, Stratasys. "With forward-thinking projects such as this, ThreeAsFour has set an example in design innovation, and has continued to transform the way people think about fashion."