Designer and Royal College of Art graduate Lingxiao Luo is combining traditional knitting techniques and 3D printing to create garments that echo the playful style of children’s toys.
As 3D printing becomes an increasingly popular tool in the world of fashion and art, the technology has been adapted to be compatible with other classic techniques. One shining example of this is 3D knitting, an automated knitting technique that is already being used by the furniture design giant IKEA. Sometimes fusing traditional techniques with 3D printing can lead to new innovative processes of their own kind.
One fashion designer, named Lingxiao Luo, is mixing traditional knitting methods with 3D printing to produce playful and vibrant garments. A graduate student from the prestigious London-based Royal College of Art, the designer’s latest work aims to replicate the vibe of children’s toys. The collection, which is called is called AddiToy, is produced via a method that involves 3D printing threads of plastic directly onto knitwear.
Luo had previously worked as a childrenswear designer, and that experience seems to have carried over in her ongoing experimentation with knitting and 3D printing. She believes that the AddiToy collection provides a new aesthetic to the fashion world, and also promotes the idea of zero-waste fabrication.
Lingxiao Luo 3D Prints Plastic Threads Directly Onto Knitwear
To create the colorful garments, Luo starts by selecting the type of yarn and deciding whether to weave it into a delicate or thick finish. The material she utilizes offers more texture and structure compared to traditional knitwear fabrics. Different 3D printed textures are added directly to the garment, where it is then either joined, felted or twisted directly onto the design.
The joining process is incredibly straightforward, using 3D printed patterns that are added to the fabric to attach two different knitted fabrics into a single piece. Felting, on the other hand, entails directly weaving 3D printed patterns into the knitted fabric. This method leads the fabric to become wet and felted, where it then shrinks to form the desired 3D design.
Lastly, the twisting technique involves printing flexible filament onto tightly-knitted elastic fabric, which enables the 3D printed threads to be twisted into the garments.
“In the future, AddiToy can provide technical service to design studios for using this technique and products into their collections,” Luo recently told Dezeen.
The designer has utilized her newly developed technique to create several pieces for her MA final collection for the Royal College of Art. These objects include a book of samples, garments, accessories and several perfume prototypes. Her garments were also featured in the recently held Royal College of Art MA Fashion show.