April 12, 2019, New York, NY. Sylvia Heisel, head of design lab Heisel and fashion tech pioneer, is the creator of the Names Dress, a wearable, compostable conceptual art piece engineered with over 300 handwritten, 3D printed names of women in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) fields. A collaboration among friends and colleagues, the dress was designed from 2D to 3D solely in Morphi, a 3D design software on iPad and 3D printed in parts on Ultimaker 3D printers using BioInspiration’s WillowFlex flexible compostable bio-plastic.
The concept emerged from ongoing conversations that Sylvia had with her friend and collaborator, Sophia Georgiou, founder of Morphi, on the interconnected themes of women’s empowerment, sustainability, design and tech. Liz Arum at Ultimaker also assisted in the collaboration, and together they compiled a broad group of women, from publicly available sources and referrals, to be included in the project.
“While there are increasing numbers of women embarking on careers in STEAM (including inventors, mathematicians, scientists, artists using technology and others), the achievements of women in these fields are not always widely known or celebrated. The Names Dress is a tribute to women, known and unknown, historic and contemporary, in these interconnected and evolving fields. The Dress is also an exploration of the use of sustainable materials and techniques in creating innovative textiles and garments,” says Heisel.
A pioneer in merging 3D printing technology with fashion design, Heisel is known for using additive manufacturing to develop sustainable fashion with zero waste. Her design process for the Names Dress was a fine balance between hand and machine. She initially sketched the dress with pen and paper, visualizing the architecture for how the names would come together to form fabric. To create the textile for the dress, she wrote each name by hand directly into Morphi software on an iPad which quickly transformed each name into a 3D model for 3D printing on Ultimaker 3D printers using WillowFlex compostable bio-plastic filament. The names were then placed and connected to create a unique zero waste continuous textile that could not have been made with traditional manufacturing.
The Names Dress is on display for a year at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, Italy as part of their Sustainable Thinking exhibition from April 12, 2019 through March 8, 2020.