Interfashionality : body-oriented parametric design and parametric thinking 2.0 for 3D-printed textiles and fashion

Lin, Mingjing (2020) Interfashionality : body-oriented parametric design and parametric thinking 2.0 for 3D-printed textiles and fashion. (PhD thesis), Royal College of Art, .


This practice-based research investigates body-oriented parametric design. It proposes the adaptation of ‘parametric thinking’ (parametric thinking 2.0) to offer new understandings of 3D printing (3DP) for fashion and textile innovations. The adjective parametric is a term used in this research to: 1) digitally express mathematical approaches, such as parametric modelling and parametric tools (1.3), which enable a wide range of design options (often similar and relational) to be generated by changing the variables of a computational definition/algorithm; 2) describe a new oppositional, relational way of thinking – parametric thinking (1.3, 3.3.2, 5.5.5), to correlate the independent parameters of a computational setup and the variables of design elements. With the advancement of 3DP and parametric design, more and more designers’ as well as researchers’ work reflects the growing importance of these emerging digital fabrication and modelling techniques in fashion and textiles development. Considering that developments in the technology of 3DP are primarily driven by materials scientists and engineers, and that parametric design is regularly used for architecture, product design as well as animation, this research asks how fashion and textile designers can contribute our knowledge of working with the human body to designing novel 3D-printed fashion and textile practices. In my research, the simultaneous considerations of the dynamic body, textile fluidity as well as tactility with existing parametric modelling give rise to a new approach for creating body-oriented 3D-printed textiles and fashion. Here, fashion pattern cutting, textile construction and material performativity are fused with the application of 3DP and parametric software, such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Grasshopper, eVe|Voronax, Processing, Freeform Origami as well as Rigid Origami. The research also delivers a new adaptation of parametric thinking – Parametric Thinking 2.0 (7.2.1), derived from parametric design, focusing on raising the awareness of the human body also textile fluidity in the 3D-printed design and design process (Parametric Design 2.0 in 7.2.3). The notions of ambivalence and Deleuzian ‘becoming’ are used to challenge existing modes of parametric thinking through fashion and textile practices. Together, these approaches advocate body-oriented parametric thinking, which embraces conflicting opposites, such as modernity and tradition, digital technology and craft as well as Eastern and Western design elements, in interdisciplinary and intercultural contexts. These premises are explored through a phenomenological approach, juxtaposing my experiences with methods that include speculation, theoretical study, communication, collaboration and performance. The research data was collected qualitatively, then categorised into objective or subjective data and expressed through tangible design, text or infographics. Additional analysis was informed by coding, designing, 3D printing, making, displaying and performing a series of 3D-printed textiles for fashion purposes. The cross-boundary collaborations led this research beyond textile and fashion disciplines to the fields of 3DP, architecture and performance. My aspirations are that it will potentially result in new perspectives on fabrication, production and design thinking.

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