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EPENTISMO: An Ultimaker Case Study Using 3D printing in the future of fashion

By Oriol Clavell

“Ultimaker and The Create Education Project have been key in developing my final collection as they allowed me to print all the ideas I had to produce my collection. By facilitating a 3D Printer, I could constantly print in my own place, letting me learn the printing processes. I was able to make mistakes, having to reprint when there were issues and learning from them. Without this sponsorship, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my final major project the way I imagined.”


The project EPENTISMO was my BA Final Graduate Collection. 

“EPENTISMO,” the collection title, is a word used by a group of Spanish writers in the 1930s to refer to their homosexuality; due to the times they were living, they had to hide their sexual orientation. This word meant an escape and allowed them to express themselves. 

The project also reflects the Spanish surrealist paintings of the time, particularly the artwork of Salvador Dalí and Remedios Varo, creating an imaginary safe space for them. It’s not a coincidence that the project mixes literature and paintings, as Dalí and Federico García Lorca had been rumoured to have an impossible love story. The project uses this impossible love story as a narrative. It directly connects with the notion of sexuality and, indirectly, with gender as the project aims to have a genderless approach. Thanks to Dalí’s perspective, the project has a political approach by being Catalanist and embracing Catalan culture, letting me further explore my culture. 

On a personal level, the project relates to finding your safe space and being able to express your identity; “the journey to explore where I am going and becoming while appreciating the roots where I come from.” 

The collection explores the notions of queer identity and community within space through the Catalan culture. This is presented alongside the journey of growing up queer in a town in Catalonia, trying to find a space and a community. 

Two communities shape the project; the queer community, which gives the feeling of freedom to the clothing, and the ‘Grandma Catalan community’ from which the craftmanship is inspired. With that, the collection looks at nostalgia but also looks into the future, mixing 3D printing and classic couture.

How the project developed using 3D printing

Most of the inspiration came from surrealist paintings by Dalí and Remedios Varo or traditional Catalan architecture, such as Gaudí’s. The fabric itself could not represent and achieve such architectural shapes, which was when the idea of 3D printing came into the collection. 

I started sketching and collaging my research, thinking about the connection between fabrics and 3D printing materials. After that, I started learning to use 3D modeling software such as Rhinoceros 3D and Blender. 

The first thing I 3D printed was a bag handle, which allowed me to achieve shapes inspired solely by Gaudí’s architecture. A shoe sole prototype followed this. After creating these accessories, I started thinking more technically about how to produce everything; finishings, materiality, ways of 3D printing, and the most important part, how to bring that technology into garments. 

Even though I knew I wanted to keep the 3D printed accessories as a signature element of the collection, I wanted to explore it further in the garments. The dress straps came about by thinking about how I could make the 3D printing work with a more couture but wearable garment. The solidity of the 3D printing and the materiality make it harder to wear. I created the straps as detachable, allowing the wearer to wear the piece without 3D printing. 

To make a better feel to the body, I decided to print the straps on resin with a silver spray paint finishing. As it was fundamental that the pieces would fit the body perfectly, so the dress didn’t fall, I had to print two prototypes to get a good proportion. The first was too big, and the second did not follow the body shape properly.

In the process, I decided to explore how to print buttons. However, as they are small and have so much detail, they were hard to appreciate. Even though they were not used for the final garment, they showed me how to work with detail and the possibilities with the machine.

The next challenge was making a whole 3D printed garment. Even though it’s more fragile and restricts mobility, I wanted to create a sculptural garment. The main challenges were how to print it, how to wear the garment, and the proportions.  

As it was a big piece that would take so much time to print, I had to make an “online fitting” while creating it. For that, I made a body model on CLO3D with the measurements that I needed, and I worked on creating the garment on top of it. 

To decide how to put it on the body, I created a big hole in the neck that allowed the wearer to get into it easily. This garment was sprayed with an off-white colour and had some details in silver chrome. 

The last piece was a bag that was 3D printed. It was a complex shape, and it took a lot of time. Even though I could print it in one go, I decided to print it in two pieces to make the printing faster. If I hadn’t printed it in two parts, it would have had many supports to hold the handle, which meant more time, material, and money. 

To sum up, regarding the benefits of incorporating 3D printing into my work, I found that it let me achieve shapes that are impossible to obtain with only fabrics. It also allowed me to create rigid sculptural pieces, and it let me think further about the new technologies happening in the fashion industry, innovating and exploring new possibilities.

Find out more about Oriol

You can find out more about Oriol and see the complete showcase of his work here: @oriolclavell_

Do you want to loan a 3D printer to help with your 3D design and projects?

The CREATE Education Project is committed to enabling access to 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology for students in schools, colleges, and universities. We do this through a number of services, one of which is a 3D technology loan scheme. 

Through our technology loan scheme, educators, students, and teachers can loan: 

  • 3D printer 
  • 3D scanner 
  • Mayku FormBox 

For five weeks to use in their classroom or projects. 

To find out more and reserve your loan machine, click hereWe also offer a longer-term rental scheme for longer projects. Please get in touch if this is something you are interested in: