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Fashion X Technology: Daniel Widrig
Using 3D printing to create couture with unprecedented results
by Meghan Killeen
on 11 September 2013
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With a background in architecture, Daniel Widrig’s designs employ cutting-edge technology and 3D modeling to create a surreal landscape of avant-garde couture, bluring the line between fashion and architecture with spectacular results. "Generally, we see quite a lot of similarities between the two disciplines," he explains. "For us, it is quite natural to apply similar strategies when designing dresses and buildings." With past experience working on structural studies in motion at the Abu Dhabi and Amman Performing Arts Centres, Widrig has a wealth of experience in multi-disciplinary design work. All of which is especially evident in his new 3D-printed clutch, which illustrates a culmination of manufacturing technology and fashion integration.

In April of this year, Widrig’s signature exploration of curvature and fluctuation caught the attention of the leading purveyors of movement and feeling, Nike, who commissioned the artist to participated in The Art + Science of Natural Motion exhibition during Milan Design Week 2013. Using animation software, Widrig created "The Art and Science of Flex," a helical figure, spiraling in 3D space. The software captured the abstract advance through a series of photos that, when halted, revealed a four-meter-long sculpture—a geometric variation on pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s meditation on the movement of the human body.

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Earlier in his career, Widrig teamed up with fashion design icon Iris van Herpen to launch "Escapism," a high-tech haute couture collection inspired by the addictive and transparent nature of digital entertainment and media. When the collection debuted at Haute Couture Week in Paris, fashion critic Philippe Pourhashemi described the transformative power of the designs by saying the models "looked like beautiful insects or seductive creatures hailing from an unknown planet." To achieve this otherworldly effect, Widrig and van Herpen turned to Materialise, an innovative manufacturer at the forefront of 3D printing. The concept designs were rendered using selective laser-sintering in Polyamide to create lightweight filigree that accentuates the body like a second skin.

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More recently, Widrig unveiled his interwoven 3D clutch, an innovative example of recent explorations in technology and fashion. The petite purse was a welcomed addition to Moondial’s collection presented by Motorola during NYFW. “The idea was to create an organic, porous object that has a sort of alien feel to it," said Widrig on the process behind the clutch. "We used digital-sculpting techniques usually applied in the production of digital maquettes for movies and computer games to generate the geometry, which essentially is one complex exoskeleton." Interestingly, Widrig reveals that due to the object's proportions, surface, lines and angles, "there is in fact no other way to build it."

Images courtesy of Daniel Widrig and Iris van Herpen

Fashion X Technology is a show of innovative, tech-driven couture created in collaboration with Dr. Sabine Seymour of Moondial, presented at New York's OCBTW and brought to you by Motorola.

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