Core77 has had the pleasure of chronicling New Skins, a workshop led by designer Francis Bitonti, which took place from July 22 to August 8 at Pratt's Digital Arts and Humanities Research Center in Brooklyn, NY. As a pioneer in the digital fashion design space, Bitonti's practice is primarily concerned with the wearable applications of computationally-based design methodologies and cutting-edge manufacturing technologies. His efforts in the classroom are an extension of his work in the studio, a fast-paced, process-centric approach to new and emerging technologies and their potential to yield never-before-scene results.
We've previously published coverage of weeks one and two of the summer intensive, which was sponsored by the Pratt DAHRC, Makerbot and 3D NYC Lab. In addition to the report on the third week and final project, Bitonti has graciously allowed us to present the video documentation of the course as it unfolded this past summer.
The students created the geometry for the dress using 3D anatomical models of the human body, then abstracted hidden lines and vectors of the human body (muscles, veins and arteries) into curves that could be manipulated in a 3D modeling environment. The inspiration for turning the body inside out, projecting the interior to the exterior of the body, creating a second skin from what lies underneath led to the name Verlan dress; the French slang word refers to reversing the first and last syllables, turning the word inside out.
Throughout the design process, the students focused on developing a unique formal language that would conform to the body through a procedural algorithm; finding a voice through a new emerging manufacturing paradigm. "We do not want to be teaching technology for the sake of technology," explains Bitonti. "This isn't about training technicians or draftsmen. We are trying to teach students to think through the computer as a medium and develop sensibilities for these new virtual materials." Computation is now a medium that permeates popular culture. 3D printing enables this link between the physical work and a virtual design environment for designers today. The goal for the New Skins Workshop was to have the students embrace computation as a means of artistic expression. Now, the students are thinking through digital processes to create new culturally relevant and iconic forms. What was once Haute Couture is now ready-to-wear.
The entire design was printed on two MakerBots using MakerBot's new Flexible Filament material, which offers more flexibility than traditional 3D printer materials. The Flexible Filament allowed us to produce a flexible, 3D-printed garment that is able to conform the body's movement when worn. The rendering software Lagoa allowed the participants to develop photorealistic 3D images of the dress prior to printing. The lower portion of the garment was crafted using the Flexible Filament material from MakerBot, a stunning display of what is possible in design through 3D printing technology.
Bitonti is impressed with the results. "With new technologies, the design process can now be linked directly to the manufacturing process with no translation, no loss of resolution. It's a very powerful time for designers."
See Part 1 & Part 2 for more details on the process and methodology behind the "Verlan" dress.
Special Thanks to Pratt DAHRC: HyukJae Henry Yoo, Director; Casey Rehm, Michael Schafler & Arnold Chu, Researchers