My fascination with the universe was the driving force behind the vortex dress. I began researching artistic interpretations of how the combination of space and time creates the fourth dimension and how it's affected by black holes. I was very inspired by the vortex like shapes seen in renderings and the unfathomable complexity of the theories behind it. Another inspiration for me was the work of H.R Giger and the way he blended organic and mechanical elements together. After extensive research and sketching, the Vortex Dress was born. While I was forming the dress in my head and putting it down on paper, I knew I wanted to ultimately execute it through 3D printing technology. My hope is that with your help, my first entirely 3D printed dress will become a reality!
In order to virtually sculpt this piece, I collaborated with UK based 3D designer Stephen Ions. He was able to recreate the dress by sculpting it three dimensionally using the computer program, Zbrush. Stephen's 15 years of experience designing was invaluable in terms of bringing the design to life on the computer. All of our communication was done without ever meeting each other in person. Through roughly 200 emails, numerous Skype meetings and design reviews, we were able to create what I had envisioned. Together we were able to capture the feeling I wanted to convey through the dress; the spiraling and continual twisting of space and time.
The next phase will be to engineer the dress in order to make it wearable in real life. For this step I have been working with New York based artist and designer Patrick Delorey. In the past, he has taught with Francis Bitonti as an instructor in his New Skins Workshop, as well as being an artist in residency at Autodesk's Pier 9 Workshop. Patrick's experience in fashion and 3D design contributes to all the technical aspects of the project. The execution of proper closure mechanisms, material/weight distribution, and structural problem solving are examples of what is included in this phase.
"I have been digitally sculpting for almost 9 years. It allows me to work with great freedom organically evolving creations in a way that cannot be matched in normal 3d packages. When I saw Lauras design I was immediately excited and engaged at the prospect of creating this incredible piece and what's more seeing it being printed and transitioning into the physical world. The production was very challenging. First we had to do a rough design sculpt to help Evolve with Lauras help how this intricate shape flows arround the models body. Next a more polished version before detailing and adding finer detail to the surfaces. Finally working towards getting the model to be more print ready. I can honestly say this is one of the most incredibly rewarding pieces i've had the pleasure of working on in my 15 year career as an artist. To see the full sized sculpt being worn will be remarkable."- Stephen Ions
"3d printing allows for tremendous design freedom, but all the traditional questions of fashion design still apply - how does this garment sit on the body? How does the model put it on? etc. These issues don't necessarily present themselves in the digital model. The designer must imagine the final product as a physical object that is subject to force and movement. What is novel, however, is that additive manufacturing allows the designer to deal with these issues in customized, specific ways that align with the design vocabulary of the garment rather than working against it. Working together with Laura, we've been able to craft solutions that allow her work to be materialized as closely as possible to her imagination."- Patrick Delorey
The amount of $9,000 is needed in order to print the full scale dress through the 3D printing company i.materialise. After the dress is fully 3D printed, the final step that your contribution will support will be the airbrushing of the entire dress in a black hi-gloss clear coat. In order to give it a sleek futuristic appearance mimicking black holes in space, I will enlist California based color studio Creations n' Chrome. The cost of shipping the dress to California from Chicago and back is also included in the total amount needed. Additional costs for creating and shipping rewards has also been factored into the amount of $9,000.
The stretch goals exist in order to recoup the earlier stages that include design, engineering and research/development phases. The research and development phase includes the printing of the scaled down dress models, the full scale dress samples, and airbrush finishing on all sample prints. All the earlier stages have been paid out of my own pocket. Achieving the stretches goals would directly help in decreasing my debt from those earlier costs and enable me to keep pursuing future design projects. It would also mean that there would be some amazing upgrades/surprises to many of the current rewards available!
Once the dress is completed I will collaborate with Loose Cannon Films to create a short film themed around outer space and science fiction with the dress worn by the main character.
"Shooting Laura's pieces have been such a creatively thrilling experience. Her designs look like something out of this world and I can't wait to shoot what she comes up with next."- Loose Cannon Films
I will then present the dress to curators to exhibit in museums and galleries. I plan to show the dress on runways at 3D printed fashion design events as well.
The complex geometry of the vortex dress would be very difficult to create by hand. 3D printing technology has given me the opportunity achieve these kinds of shapes and forms. I can achieve close to true symmetry and exact wall thickness. Once the design is sculpted on the computer, the file can be sent to a 3D printer and created almost exactly to what was created on the computer. This kind of rapid prototyping is very exciting to me as I have always enjoyed exploring new materials and innovative methods. These shapes and forms in my head have always been there, but I never had the ability to properly execute until I discovered 3D printing.
The dress will be printed with stereo-lithography printing technology by imaterialise. The material used to print the dress is referred to as "paintable resin" by imaterailse. I chose this material to print in because of its high print resolution and ability to take paint very well. Below is a video showing how i.materialise uses stereolithography to create 3D printed designs.
Thapthimkuna’s use of 3D design and 3D printing to manufacture her space-based dress showcases 3D printing’s ability to produce advanced forms that we could never accomplish by hand or any other method. Her work with various designers and artists to create the Vortex Dress is a further indicator that 3D printing technology has a lot to offer the fashion world, and, in fact, has shown the potential to produce garments that are out of this world. The two things you can never reproach fashion designer Laura Thapthimkuna for: simple-mindedness and tedium. This young designer melds fashion, art and science into objects that are not only utterly stunning but also provocative and scary."- i.materialise
To simply label Laura as a fashion designer would do the complexity of her work a disservice. Her individual approach to clothing creation stretches far beyond what can be seen day-to-day on Chicago streets—its wearable art."- Justin T Moran, Lead Fashion Editor at Bullett Magazine
"Laura’s designs are purely one-of-a-kind. Each design is mastered showing her expertise and brilliant craftsmanship. As well as being cutting edge and pushes the envelope of the fashion industry. I’m honored to have been able to work with Laura on numerous projects ranging from custom pieces for my music artists clients to editorial photo shoots. She’s definitely a creative force in the fashion industry and I look forward to seeing more of her art in the near future!"-Erika Degraffinreaidt French Vendette’ Founder | Senior Fashion Stylist
"With her designs that integrate art and sci-fi, Laura Taka Taka is making a name for herself in the fashion industry as the go-to girl for the fashion creature in all of us."- onthedm.com
As Seen In
I love the idea that through Kickstarter I am able to reach such a wider audience and get people involved in my work and creative process. I hope to not only raise funds to keep pursuing my passion but also to inspire others to seeing the potentials of 3D printing, the power of collaboration, and the joy of pushing fashion forward as an art form.
The rewards are directly related to the design process to give each backer a little window into the work and imagination behind the creation of the Vortex Dress.
Vortex Dress Digital Rendering Prints
Hi-resolution images (front, back and side view) of the digital rendering of the Vortex Dress printed on 5" x 7" hi quality matte paper.
The Vortex Dress Book
The "Vortex Book" book documents the design process. The book consists of all design reviews between Stephen and I. Also included are iamges of original sketches and still life photographs of the sample prints. The book is a hardcover book created on blurb.com. It measures 7" x 7" and contains 20 pages. You will have an exclusive look into what it took to get to this current stage of the Vortex Dress.
Vortex Dress Back Piece in Gift Box
The Vortex Dress scaled down back piece, stored in a gift box. This reward makes for a unique memento from the Kickstarter campaign. It will be printed with i.materalise's "multicolor" material in a white gloss finish.
Vortex Dress Shadow Boxes
"Sometime in the design process while examining the front and back scaled down print halves, I realized how much they resembled some kind of alien insects. That is when the idea came to me to mount them inside shadow boxes–to treat them as these tiny specimen like creatures meant to be studied and displayed by some extra terrestrial collector."-my inspiration behind the shadow box rewards.
Now you can have very own scaled down Vortex Dress sections mounted within a 5" x 7" shadow box display. The dress sections will be printed with i.materalise's "multicolor" material in a white gloss finish. These are beautiful keepsakes of the dress meant to be mounted in your office or home.
10" Tall Vortex Dress on Model with pedestal
Scaled 10" tall model printed with Vortex Dress. The model and dress are printed as one piece standing on an attached pedestal. This reward gives you the closest experience to the Vortex Dress on a human body. The reward will be printed with i.materalise's "multicolor" material in a gloss finish. The scaled down model wearing the Vortex Dress is truly a unique and statuesque piece of wearable art memorabilia.
Full Scale Vortex Dress Samples
Three available full scaled sample prints sliced out from the actual Vortex Dress. These samples are printed in the same material and airbrushed in a black hi-gloss coating as the final dress. These pieces make for beautiful abstract sculptures and give a true sense of the scale of the design. They are also exclusively offered only to kick starter backers, and will never be offered again in the future.
I work to constantly challenge the traditional ways of creating clothing and to be an inspiration to others whose aesthetics may not fit within the status-quo of traditional design. If I can help inspires others to not be afraid to be different through creating this design I'll feel as though I achieved something priceless. I strive to bridge between the fashion world and art world. In the past I've felt pressure to keep up with other designers that produce ready to wear fashion. I began to tell myself that having a line carried in stores and quantity mattered. Though I've never felt creatively full-filled in the same way. No matter what I do I always revert back to conceptual design that walks the line between art and fashion. At this point in my life I feel an obligation to only design pieces that I believe in wholeheartedly. If in my lifetime I only create a handful of pieces that truly represent myself as an artist, that will mean more to me than a new collection every season.
Before pursuing a fully 3D printed dress, my first attempt at 3D printing was a neckpiece accessory. My first piece entitled "endotracheal tubation neckpiece" inspired by the medical procedure of the same name, was very well received and was featured in several media outlets.
I rarely see my work in isolation; its very important that I create a narrative around each design. I envision who will wear it, the environment, music, subject matter, even the lighting used to photograph the piece. I may see a film and want to convey a similar theme or feeling into a photo shoot of one of my pieces. The artistic process doesn't simply stop when the design is completed. I like to see the larger visual art context of my designs and collaborate with people who are inspired by the similar subjects.
Risks and challenges
3D printing can presents it's own unique challenges that are sometimes unforeseen initially, but my team and I are very confident that we will meet these potential issues head on and resolve them quickly.
The time involved with refining everything can also be an obstacle. It can be a challenge to work on the project of this complexity all while balancing a full time job. But the dedication put forth to get this far should be clear evidence that with your help, Vortex Dress will become fully realized.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)