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Structural Experiments for the Human Body

Chromat #TECHTALKS: 3D Printing

January 23 2015, 0 Comments

The Chromat Spring/Summer 2015 “Formula 15” Collection included the additive manufacturing technique known as 3D Printing, an exciting Chromat first for the season. With 3D Printed garments now available for purchase at SHOP.CHROMAT.CO, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the in-depth and collaborative process of 3D Printing!

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology

Chromat Curve model Katy Smeyne in the Chromat 3D Printed Facemask



The concept and design phases of 3D Printing began the same way as most Chromat designs do: lots & lots of sketches. To further add further layers of information and detail, the strongest designs were converted into digital illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. We then collaborated with talented architect Juan De Marco, who rendered our 2D sketches into 3D models using Maya. 

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable TechnologyChromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology
Chromat Bra Cup 3D Renderings by Juan De Marco 

The 3D modeling process is more commonly used in architecture and animations fields than in fashion. Chromat continues to draw on our architecture foundations to collaborate with architects and designers outside of fashion to create new, innovative garments. 


Once the digital models were built, it was time to print! Chromat's 3D printing debut utilized the Makerbot printer with ABS filament (coiled thermoplastic polymer), which melts the plastic filament and releases it in focused bits on the printing surface, building one plane at a time (like layers of a cake, except infinitely more intricate).

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology

Chromat's 3D Printed designs required the Makerbot to print a support structure as well. This support isn't part of the final product, but builds up a raised surface for the bra cup, facemask or skirt pocket to print onto (allowing for the third dimension in the printing process). The printing time for one pair of bra cups is 7 hours; each set of pockets takes up to 19 hours, and each facemask requires 5 hours to print. 

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology
The Chromat 3D Printed Skirt 


Once the prints were finished, each support structure was chipped away by hand, to reveal the design in a rough and rigid state. The surface finish of even the most high-resolution prints are covered in tiny ridges due to the way the printer works, building layer by layer on top of each other. 

Then it was time for surface finish work. To smooth the ridged surface, each print was first sanded and then placed in an acetone vapor bath to remove imperfections from the surface. The acetone vapor melts away at the filament, smoothing the edges.

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology
Close up of the Chromat 3D Printed Skirt


Now sanded and smoothed to perfection, Chromat's finished 3D Prints were then integrated into garments using couture hand-sewing techniques by the Chromat production team. 

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology3D Printed Fashion Chromat
The Chromat 3D Printed Odile Bustier 

The 3D Printed end-products mesmerized audiences on the SS15 runway at New York Fashion Week. Utilizing new additive manufacturing techniques has allowed us to develop complex shapes and volumes that would be difficult to achieve using traditional materials and construction methods. 

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology
The Chromat 3D Printed Facemask 


Chromat’s Formula 15 Collection imagines a world where clothing will be downloaded online and garments will function as data machines to both observe and empower the reality of our bodies.

Chromat believes 3D printing has the potential to change fashion in the same way that MP3's changed music. Imagine a world in which each fashion collection was available for instant download online, on iTunes (or perhaps iPrint). You could then apply your personal body scan data to the print file, adjust the file to custom fit your shape and preferences, and then print the clothing out in your home. It may sound far fetched, but 3D printed clothing is happening now

Chromat 3D Printed Fashion Lingerie Wearable Technology

The 3D Printed Sport Lace Bra

Chromat is excited for the future in which high-fashion garments are as accessible as music. Until then, 3D printed clothing remains a luxury product that requires a highly-skilled team of modelers, printers, and fashion designers to develop and produce each garment. We look forward to continuing to innovate in the realm of printed clothing for years to come. 

Be the first to order a 3D printed design online before they hit shops in February!

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