Guest Editorial: 3D Printed Prosthetics and Fashion
Ask any random person about the benefits of 3D printing, and their answer will most likely relate to either ‘fashion’ or ‘medical technology’. “Obviously”, a connoisseur would say, because additive manufacturing is rapidly gaining ground on both the catwalk and the surgical table. Nevertheless, fashion and medicine are two very different industries that aren’t likely to show any relation to each other. Or so we assumed.
But Steven Ascensao has shown us otherwise. The very talented fashion (and architectural) designer, who has already contributed to several marvelous realizations at the Foster+Partners design studio in London, has fused the concepts of ‘fashion’ and ‘prosthetics’. In collaboration with Mcor Technologies, Ascensao has displayed an interesting headpiece at the VIP Catwalk Show of the ‘3D Print Show’ in London on November 16th. Appropriately named ‘The Mech-ganic Prosthetic’, the piece represents a unification between man and accessory. As the designer intended, a symbiosis takes place on the catwalk, integrating a tentacle-like shoulder piece with the arms of the male model. The equally grotesque mask headpiece compliments the dominant shoulder piece and optimizes the synergy between organic and mechanical.
The designer’s vision is very well thought-out and perhaps not so easy to understand for an average layman. The headpiece is very innovative. Artistic. Avant-garde, definitely. And perhaps a little bit farfetched? Or too artificial? Personally, being Belgian and used to state-of-the-art fashion à la Walter Van Beirendonck and the experimental graduate collections of his students at the Antwerp Royal Academy, I can truly appreciate the story behind Ascensao’s innovative design. But on the other hand, I also wouldn’t be surprised if certain people don’t consider ‘The Mech-ganic Prosthetic’ as fashion. Certain people whose opinions I have asked, did describe it as “the villain’s costume in a typical B movie” or “something that we’ve already seen in a Doctor Who episode”. So is Ascensao’s ‘prosthetic art’ fashion enough?
Rather than looking at this piece’s weaknesses, I wish to focus on its opportunities. Maybe the designer’s vision does have room for improvement. And the overall execution can benefit from a little tweaking. But ‘The Mech-ganic Prosthetic’ is especially remarkable when looking at the evolution of 3D printing techniques. Both the head and shoulder piece are extremely lightweight, the scale and detail of the pieces are advanced, and the variation of color effects are very realistic. All these well-executed elements testify of a good cooperation between Mcor Technologies and Steven Ascensao.
Overall, ‘The Mech-ganic Prosthetic’ might be a vanguard in terms of effective use of 3D printing in fashion and costume design. The designer’s style is very eccentric and signature obscure. Like it or not, tastes differ. But Ascensao has definitely brought attention to 3D printing and his work could be the precursor of a future with lifelike costumes and extremely detailed constructed fashion.
This guest post is written by Jasper Vanpoucke
After being fascinated with fashion for his entire life, Jasper Vanpoucke decided to dedicate his life and education to this tough yet fabulous industry. After obtaining a M.A. In Fashion Management in the Flemish fashion capital of Antwerp, Belgium, Jasper’s hunger for knowledge wasn’t satisfied. Pursuing his passion for writing, he will be attending the London College of Fashion in February ’14. Hopefully, this Postgraduate Certificate in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism will enhance his editorials and bring forth a variety of interesting topics and inspiring ideas in the field of additive manufacturing in the fashion industry. Having said that, Jasper foresees that 3D printing will play a major part in the future of fashion.
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