ITW | Crowdfunding the Vortex 3D printed dress

Laura Thapthimkuna is a young designer melding fashion, art and science into garments that are utterly stunning and thought-provoking.​​ After graduating from The International Academy of Design and Technology, Laura interned with renowned fiber artist Nick Cave. Like Cave, Laura possesses a notable confidence in her conceptual approach to fashion, it’s no wonder that she’s comfortable pushing boundaries and blurring the lines between fashion and art.​​ Her latest project? A Kickstarter campaign to 3D print an intricate Vortex Dress.

Fascinated by the universe, Laura researched artistic interpretations of how the combination of space and time creates the fourth dimension and how it’s affected by black holes. Inspired by the vortex like shapes, she came up with the project of 3D printing this intricate futuristic dress. Her campaign on Kickstarter is on-going, so if you’re interested into helping her make this real, it’s here!


ITW | Laura Thapthimkuna

Clausette Magazine: Thank you for accepting our interview! You are currently on a Kickstarter campaign for an intricate 3D printed dress… Could you tell us more about you? How did you come with the project of printing a dress, inspired by vortex and black holes?

Laura Thapthimkuna: I am a fashion designer who also has a background in engineering. I have been wanting to explore 3D printing in my design work for a while now. In my work I have always tried to create very sculptural shapes and discovered 3D printing as a way to achieve a certain level of symmetry and accuracy that’s nearly impossible by hand. I become fascinated by the universe after watching a documentary on black holes in space, I think I may have had a mini existential crisis at a certain point while trying to fathom such complexities and unknowing-ness of space itself. I had to find a way to channel my inspiration and feelings into a fashion design piece, so I began sketching and forming these shapes in my head. From that point on it was only a matter of finding the right people to collaborate with to make the dress real.
C.M.: Why a Vortex Dress, what do mean with it and what is your purpose with this project?
L.T.: I love to design and its really become my main outlet as an artist, when I younger I used to write poetry and stories so that was my way of communicating what was going on inside to the rest of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that I will always need an outlet to communicate with the world no matter how old I am. At this point my outlet is simply fashion design. I have also really enjoyed exploring new methods of making, so 3D printing this design is something that really excites me. I would not be inspired if I kept making the same thing the same way over and over again.
C.M.: What we love with 3D printing is that it allows to create new shapes and forms that could not exist before, because of the difficulty to produce them. Did you encounter such issues when first designing your dress? Is this why you came up with 3D printing? 
L.T.: I knew all along from the beginning of the design process that I wanted to 3D print this design. So I kept that in mind when creating the shape of the piece. I would find it rather restricting if I thought about how to make it work in reality first, I really need to simply design what I think works aesthetically for the piece and then go back and figure out how to make it work from an engineering stand point, though this can be challenging, but I don’t like to compromise the artistic side with too much technical thought in the beginning stage.
C.M.: Your work is at the crossroads of design, fashion, technology and science/biology. It’s really inspiring, can you tell us more about it? How do you come with the idea of drawing inspiration from bacteria? 
L.T.: I always loved looking at microscopic scans of bacteria and viruses, I find them very alluring and beautiful. It just fascinates me, the level symmetry and intricacy in something so small and unseen by the human eye. Its kind of funny that for this piece I was inspired by quite the opposite from microscopic things–outer space! I just love researching about things that seem rather unknown to humans, whether they are quite large and vast as space or small and seemingly invisible like cells and bacteria.
C.M.: The disciplines of fashion and design have been evolving a lot lately, thanks to technological and scientifical innovations. We can imagine it is not always easy for young artists to find the right educational program, to find the right place to learn how to use all the new tools provided by tech. What would be your advice for young artists today?
L.T.: When I went to fashion design school, I didnt really have alot of training in 3D programs or technology like that. I think its good for students to learn the traditional ways of tailoring and constructing garments, but definitely dont limit yourself to what is put in front of you. I had to go out and learn programs and many aspects of  3D printing on my own, I didn’t have anyone to teach me these things but I would definitely encourage younger designers to seek out people in tech fields and learn how to branch out in fashion design. I think its important to be self motivated in that aspect.
C.M.: We focus on the future of fashion through innovation. From wearables to 3D printed fashion, or smart fabrics… there are a lot of project trying to disrupt fashion today. What do you think about the emerging fashion tech space? Do you believe that in the future, fashion could be enhanced by technology? And more importantly, according to you, why is the traditional fashion industry still not so interested in these innovations?
L.T.: I’m so inspired by the enthusiasm young designers have towards the new technological applications today. I think its so important to look forward with design and for me I’m really enjoying using technology to create wearable art forms. Also I think that especially in terms of the impact old ways of manufacturing has on the environment, I think we as a planet will not have a choice but to change and technology can help us do that.  I hope that with technological advances-that people’s attitude towards fashion will change as well and fast fashion will find a way to take less of a toll on the planet. I think traditional fashion may have a hard time seeing how it fits into their world because it may appear as a threat to old ways of working. I think there is room for both and hopefully with the right mind sets great things can be accomplished through the power of collaboration.

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Post written by Noémie Balmat, Founding Editor-in-chief

Clausette_servicesInterested in the future of fashion, the digital revolutions and advertising, Noémie has a valuable three-year experience in international advertising agencies and works with young innovative designers as a fashion tech freelance consultant. Currently working for Publicis Conseil in Paris, she launched Clausette Magazine in November 2014 to gather all cool projects linking fashion & innovation in one place. Sensitive to the technological and scientific evolutions, she takes part in several Fashion Tech weeks and events as a speaker (Paris, Tokyo, Roubaix…).

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