Julia Koerner, an ambitious designer that works with 3D printing technologies, has created many special moments in the intersecting worlds of fashion and tech. Most will know her for working with Ruth E. Carter to create 3D printed costume pieces for Marvel’s Black Panther (2018), but she has a vast portfolio, spanning many 3D printed wearables and sculptures. One of her most recent works is the SETAE Jacket, which was constructed in collaboration with 3D printing company Stratasys.
The SETAE Jacket has an otherworldly appeal, drawing its inspiration from butterfly wings as well as its namesake, setae, a bristle-like feature found on invertebrates. The 3D printed jacket is part of Stratasys’ Chro-Morpho collection, which also comprises works from cutting edge design group threeASFOUR. At its heart, the collection seeks to show how 3D printing can be used with more traditional textiles and fashion practices to push and even elevate the art form.
Koerner not only demonstrates the harmony between 3D printing and textiles with the SETAE Jacket but shows us the brilliance of her own creativity. The colorful garment’s design is based on microscopic images of the wings of Madagascan Sunset butterflies, which were digitized using a special algorithm that translates color pixels into 3D printed bristles. The bristle models were then 3D printed directly only denim to create the unique wearable garment.
Each bristle (or setae) was 3D printed using Stratasys’ J750 3D printing technology and the flexible VERO Multi-Material. The end result is a jacket with thousands of bristle-like structures that move with the wearer’s movement.
“The research explores digital setae pattern design and multi-color 3D printing on fabric, inspired by microscopic butterfly wing patterns,” reads Koerner’s website. “Butterﬂy wings are made up of membranes which are covered by thousands of colorful scales and hairs, plate-like setae. Photographs of the Madagascan Sunset Butterfly wing setae are digitized into an algorithm which translates the color pixels into 3D bristle patterns which correspond to the form of the garment design. The digital designs are 3D printed in an innovative way, without any support material and directly on fabric. The relation between the colourful rigid setae and the ﬂexible fabric create enigmatic visual effects when the garment is in motion.”