I recently wrote about the invention of a solar bikini, but now, they have a bikini, that you can print out. With collaboration between Continuum Fashion and 3D printing experts Shapeways, the N12 is billed as the “the first completely 3D-printed, ready-to-wear, item of clothing.” It is like something straight out of the Jetsons. The name N12, is derived from “nylon 12”, the material that’s used in the 3D printing process. I think as far as branding goes they need something better then that.
Nylon 12 is strong, flexible and 3D printable with an impressive thinness of 0.7 mm (0.027 in). The material is innately waterproof so it’s ideal as swimwear and according to the designers it actually becomes more comfortable when it gets wet. A process called selective laser sintering (SLS) is used to achieve the complex geometrical design which combines circles connected by very tiny strings.
“The bikini’s design fundamentally reflects the beautiful intricacy possible with 3D printing, as well as the technical challenges of creating a flexible surface out of the solid nylon,” says Mary Haung of Continuum Fashion. “Thousands of circular plates are connected by thin springs, creating a wholly new material that holds its form as well as being flexible. The layout of the circle pattern was achieved through custom written code that lays out the circles according to the curvature of the surface. In this way, the aesthetic design is completely derived from the structural design.”
I wonder if we will see anything like this at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami.