Kinematics Dress: A Turning Point For 3D Printed Clothing

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:

3D Dress feature

Here on Serious Wonder we’ve taken a keen interest in 3D printing – in particular, 3D printed clothing. It changed the way we looked at dresses and how they were designed. In fact, it changed our understanding as to what could be designed! The style, the creativity, it all had that feeling of coming off an epic fantasy film set. The only problem was that 3D printed clothing were, at the time, both expensive and stiff.

Thanks to generative design studio Nervous System, all that is about to change with their newly designed Kinematics Dress!

3D Dress 1

Serious Wonder spoke with Nervous System to get a better understanding of their Kinematics Dress:

“Most 3D printed garments to date are runway pieces that, while impressive, are difficult to produce and difficult to wear. We wanted a make a 3D printed dress that exemplified what our interests are: customization, complexity, and accessibility; not just in theory but in practice.” – Nervous System

3D Dress 2

To ensure both affordability and durability, Nervous System partnered with 3D printing company Shapeways and printed the dress using nylon plastic with a printing processed called Selective Laser Sintering. The dress design was based on hinged triangular panels to achieve its cloth-like fluidity, and was originally used for smaller materials, such as bracelets and other types of jewelry. An x-ray view of the hinge structure is provided below.

3D Dress 3

“Digital fabrication allows a level of user interaction in the design process that was previously impossible. I think we’ll soon see more products designed on people’s exact body measurements. Especially as more materials and printing processes become available, it allows the exploration of the idea meta-materials, where the properties of material smoothly vary through space.” – Nervous System

Given the large size of a dress, Nervous System developed what is called Kinematics Fold which compresses a digital rendering of the entire dress into a sizable fit for a 3D printer to print all at once. Subsequently, the company has developed an app, called Kinematics Cloth, which will allow you to design your own dress using a real-time adaptive remeshing technique. You’ll also be able to import your own body into the design phase using parametric body modelling technology developed by BodyLabs.

If you wish to see other projects by Nervous System, be sure to check out their website here.

3D Dress 4

3D Dress 5

3D Dress 6


The clothing market has always been largely comprised of corporate-designed standards as to what a customer should look like. It was never truly about what the customers, themselves, wished to look like. With 3D printing, that’s all finally changing, as customers are now given access to both the resources and data to design their own clothes. It’ll become the next avenue of individual expression, seen like no other throughout history!


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