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Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday November 3, 2013 MYT 10:18:33 AM
by bervin cheong
In experimenting with a different dimension, a Malaysian couturier lands a prestigious nomination for her efforts.
THE fashion industry has been somewhat revolutionised by additive manufacturing (AM), otherwise known as 3D printing.
While prints are still very much ‘in’, 3D printouts however, are the next big thing.
From runways all over the world, we see an emerging trend of designs derived from 3D printing technology. These days, sketching is no longer confined to paper and elaborate fashion pieces can be brought to life with exact precision.
Where the local fashion industry is concerned, we have Melinda Looi – always at the forefront of couture – embracing 3D printing. She recently presented what is known to be Asia’s first 3D printed runway show. The theme of the night was Birds, which corresponded with her designs.
An avid lover of nature and the environment, Looi professed to have always been inspired by these beautiful, flighty creatures that are an amazing engineering feat by Mother Nature herself.
She worked with Materialise – a Belgian-based pioneer in AM software and solution, unveiling a collection of avian-inspired creations. The pieces – made of plastic and resin – comprise Face It (headgear), Stand On Me (wedges), Her Love And Strength (necklace), Let Her Shine (skirt), and Open Wings (cape).
Models of the night were clothed in nude bodysuits, with equally minimalistic hair and make-up. This was so that audiences were not distracted from the fascinating details and mechanisms of each outfit.
According to Looi, the process was not easy. In fact, the entire collection took a team of six to eight people to bring to life – including three 3D modellers, two engineers, and Melinda’s own team.
Overall, each piece took months to design, create, and convert into a 3D file, which was then sent to Belgium to be printed at the Materialise headquarters.
Looi, who is also a Star2 columnist (with the fortnightly Mel’s Place), said: “The design process has been a real eye-opener and highly educational experience for me. It was challenging because it involved co-ordinating efforts and technical expertise.”
“On the other hand, it was also great fun to be able to work with such an innovative technology. Creating fashion with technology has always been something I wanted to do, so when Materialise approached me with this opportunity, it was like a dream come true!”
Now, for her gallant efforts, Looi has been nominated in the Fashion Designer Of The Year category in the 3D Printshow Awards, in London. Launching this year and taking place from Nov 7 to 9, the event is slated to be an annual event with a purpose of recognising excellence within the 3D printing industry.
It will help to recognise those individuals who have embraced 3D printing as a new technology within a given field and also to acknowledge those who have worked tirelessly to improve 3D printing technology – making it more adaptable, robust and cost-effective for businesses and creative minds to adopt.
For Looi, the nomination was not expected. “Out of the blue, we found out that we have been nominated for this, in the crazy-cool 3D high tech world,” she commented.
“Thank you to all my supporters, my team, my beloved family, and great friends who have been helping me all this while. Even if I don’t win, I am happy just to have been nominated.”
More than that, Looi is also proud to bring recognition to the country with regard to the innovative use of 3D printing in fashion designing.
She said: “Now, there’s a Malaysian brand name in the 3D world map – I still can’t digest the fact.”
“The collaborative effort involving people from different fields and backgrounds truly reminded me that exciting and beautiful things happen when art and technology meet. It is truly a great honour to be the first Asian fashion designer to create a collection using AM technology.”
> For more information on the 3D Printshow Awards, log on to http://3dprintshow.com/london2013/awards/categories/fashion-designer-of-the-year/.
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Lifestyle, Melinda Looi, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, 3D Printshow Awards
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