I’m always fascinated by MIT textile researcher and 3D designer Ganit Goldstein‘s work. Before completing her MA in Textiles at London’s Royal College of Art, she majored in fashion and jewelry at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and graduated with distinction. By working, in her own words, at “the intersection between craft and technology,” Goldstein develops smart textiles and creates unique, customized garments and shoes. Together with longtime collaborator Stratasys, the innovative designer used 3D printing, computational processing, and parametric design tools in her latest fashion collection, which debuted during Milan Design Week 2022.
“The collection rethinks what constitutes a trend and what qualifies as timeless in the framework of fashion seasons,” Goldstein said. “[It] represents a new kind of textile design involving 3D body scan, digital pattern making, and parametric modeling.”
Her new GnoMon collection is part of the Stratasys SSYS 2Y22 exhibition and includes four outfits that were 3D printed onto surfaced textiles. In addition to Goldstein, six other top worldwide designers were selected by Stratasys to create collections for the exhibit, using its method of multicolor, multimaterial 3D printing onto fabric.
The technology makes it possible to print directly on textiles, using more than 600,000 colors with multiple shore values, in order to simulate various finish techniques and textures. All of the 3D printed clothing, accessories, footwear, and luxury goods and packaging from the SSYS 2Y22 Reflection collection were shown in the Superstudio Piu in the via Tortona exhibition area of Milan Design Week.
Fashion can really be a window into different periods of history. Flapper dresses in the 1920s, tie-dye in the 1960s, neon garments in the 1980s, the rebirth of the skinny jean in the early aughts…I could go on, but I won’t. Clothing has long represented historical situations and social status, and is often one of the things we notice first about other people and how they choose to express themselves. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is also fairly problematic. That’s why some textile companies and fashion designers, including Goldstein herself, are working to correct the problems.
“Mass clothing manufacturing has become one of the world’s largest concerns these days. We know that today’s consumers buy 60% more than in 2000 and keep it for half as long, resulting in 53 million tons of old clothing being burned or thrown in landfills yearly,” she explained. “The new collection sheds light on an alternative way to think about scales and times in the fashion industry, where customization and timeless pieces could be a way to change the way we value garments. That’s where the name ‘GnoMon’ comes from — inspired by an ancient astronomical instrument that measures the length of shadows to indicate the time within a day.”
Goldstein 3D printed four multi-colored outfits for the collection, and each outfit is representative of the textures that are naturally found throughout the four seasons in nature, like autumn leaves and spring flowers. You can really see this effect in her jackets, which mimic how natural light can play with natural elements. The individual pieces from the GnoMon collection are meant to represent the change in the natural cycles, while the full collection is demonstrative of the uncertainty that we often feel today between the four seasons.
The designer’s various collections, according to a Stratasys press release, “consider fabrics as a medium to break boundaries” by using hybrid techniques for smart textile design. That means using traditional textile manufacturing methods, like embroidery and weaving, as well as newer ones like 3D printing. Goldstein believes that fabric and textile design will be a jumping off point to change up fashion, requiring not only fashion designers but also software developers, material scientists, engineers, and more to create unique clothing. She hopes that over time, we can develop systems with more sustainable manufacturing methods to produce customized garments.
“Looking at the fashion world today, I want to introduce a new way of manufacturing – moving away from mass production to customized design. 3D printing has always offered the potential to personalize design in ways not possible before, but to truly create a new way to manufacture requires a new kind of textile,” Goldstein said about a prior Stratasys collaboration.
As for the new GnoMon collection, she used Stratasys’ J850 TechStyle 3D printer, which is powered by the company’s 3DFashion technology. The polymer inkjet system features a cabinet that will hold seven cartridges for materials, from vivid colors to opaque and completely transparent. The technology makes it possible for the material to adhere onto a variety of fabrics for some truly custom clothes, as evidenced once again by Goldstein’s beautiful collection.