Jamela Law: Using 3D Printing to Create Fashion Inspired by Nature
The theme for Harper’s Bazaar Art Prize 2017 was “Fashion Meets Art”. Fashion artist Jamela Law took an inspiration from nature, transformed it into fashion and produced it using 3D printing. For that, she was named one of the finalists in the prestigious competition.
“My inspiration is the honeycomb, a structure unique to the creative power of bees, says Jamela. “They build strong, systematic and nurturing honeycombed hives, similar to the way humans construct objects for protection, be it clothing or architecture.”
Coming from a background in Science, Jamela sees herself as a fashion outsider who enjoys combining seemingly contradictory elements outside the traditional canons of fashion, looking for uniqueness and beauty in the so-called mundane and ordinary.
From a single hexagonal cell, Jamela sketched an entire fashion collection that was futuristic yet whimsical. From that, she digitised it using the Rhinocerous 3D program, as well as T-Splines and Grasshopper plug-ins and then converted it into 3D-printable .stl files. In addition to 3D printing, she used other fabrication techniques such as silicone casting and good old-fashioned sewing by hand. The collection of mainly garments was called Beeing Human.
Jamela integrated 3D printed parts for her showcase to show how technology can be a medium for design. She also dreams of enhancing the functions of fashion accessories and redefining the use of technology. In this, she had technical help from her business partner Lionel Wong, who co-founded Baelf design partnership with her last year and launched a series of 3D printed jewellery and accessories. The partners set up a pop-up store at Tangs department store, where their accessories were well received.
Using 3D printed moulds, Jamela created hundreds of skin-friendly silicone tiles through a technique called gravity casting. She says: “These tiles act as waterproof, strong and elastic haberdashery rarely seen in the field of fashion.”
For environmentally-friendliness, Jamela used a 3D printing filament called BioFila Silk, which, she says, is not only biodegradable but has better durability than the material it is based on, lignin. “If silk could be printed aesthetically, we could stop boiling silkworms alive!” she adds.
How will she fit such complex clothes on the bodies of their wearers? Jamela has some technologies up her proverbial sleeve. First, there is 3D printing. “3D printing removes barriers to resources and skills that had prevented generations of designers from realising their ideas. Today, we can explore futuristic silhouettes and intricate forms by playing with complex mathematical formula and novel geometries.”
Second, the availability of 3D scanning means that Jamela can scan each customer’s body to produce a customised garment with the perfect fit.
Beeing Human aims to convey an environmental message, encouraging people to rethink their relationship with nature, she concludes. With such a collection of skills and talent, Jamela is set to surprise, delight and convert the fashion world to her point of view.