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From Laser printing to Ultrasonic welding: Unmissable Iris Van Herpen’s techie Couture

More often than not, we come across remarks on women’s lack of enthusiasm for technology. The technology industry is tremendous and will only grow as the world’s reliance on technology expands at an ever-increasing rate. It is no mystery that right now women are hugely under-represented in the technology industry with no concrete explanation why. But that doesn’t stop women like Iris van Herpen, a Dutch fashion designer, from extracting technology to fulfil their creative instinct in fashion. Well, the infusion of technology in fashion is a hugely downplayed concept but Herpen has been for long breaking the stereotype and acting like a boss. 

33- year-old, Van Herpen does not have a background in science. She attended design school in Arnhem, a small city in the Netherlands. Yet she regularly draws inspiration from the natural sciences to create tenuous, strangely gorgeous garments, many of which employ unexpected materials and 3-D printing. 

Here are a few technology Van Herpen employ in her design: 

3-D Printing- Iris Van Herpen would be the only designer that comes to our mind when it comes to infusing 3-D printing and fashion. Almost every collection of hers is made with 3-D technology. Once the designer unveiled 3D printed face jewellery along with heels during one of her fashion shows at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Additionally, one of her collections called Shift Souls is notably a great example of what 3D technologies are capable of doing in the fashion industry in the current scenario. In an interview with Vogue magazine, Iris van Herpen said: “People think that everything I make is printed in 3D, but the basis of my work is really handmade. I think a lot of people are trying to separate the two, but I see these two methods as equal and I really think they can complement each other. Sometimes, a texture I developed on a 3D printer can be a source of inspiration for a manual technique, and sometimes it is the other way round.

Laser cutting- In Shift souls, Iris’s haute couture collection, she took inspiration from celestial maps and outer space galaxies. To make her vision come into reality she used different experimental approaches to make her collection. Presenting it in Palais des beaux-arts in Paris, featuring eighteen looks with ‘concentration on dissected and voluminous layering’. All garments are the result of 3D printed, laser-cut, algorithm-defined pieces. The ‘symbiotic’ volumes were made from gradient-dyed silks that were multi-layered into sculptural shapes by a fine 3D laser cut frame of PETG to create hybrid bird shapes in dimensional colour gradations that hover in symbiosis with the body like mythological creatures. 

Ultrasonic welding- Ultrasonic welding is basically an industrial technique where high-frequency ultrasonic acoustic vibrations are applied directly to workpieces being held together under pressure to create a solid-state weld. Used mostly for plastics, and especially for joining dissimilar materials. In her work, she has pioneered the art of using ultrasonic welding in fashion. She uses the acoustic vibrations in high-pitched sounds to connect molecules. As for some other pieces, she mixes the magnetic powder with liquid silicone to form 3D shapes once they dried. Her ability to transform the nature of fabrics into new ones.

Magnetic fibre- Iris Van Herpen’s initial idea for her Spring Summer 2015 collection came after she went to the Large Hadron Collider at Swiss scientific research facility CERN to learn more about technical aspects of production. Surprisingly it is the place where magnetic fields are created, 20,000 times greater than the Earth’s. She collaborated with Dutch artist Jolan van der Wiel – who designed magnetic dresses with Van Herpen earlier, along with Canadian architect Philip Beesley, who is known for her work in advanced computing, synthetic biology and mechatronics engineering. Pieces like shoes, belts, necklaces and clutches were shaped by restructuring metal-infused materials with magnets, so no two are identical in the “Magnetic motion 2015 spring/summer collection”.

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