3D Printed Names Dress Celebrates 300+ Women in STEAM

By on April 19th, 2019 in Design

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 [Image: Names Dress]
[Image: Names Dress]

A collaborative design project is celebrating hundreds of women in STEAM.

That women are underrepresented in STEAM is a fact, and has been so throughout history. Remarkable women’s achievements have flown under many a radar, with even Nobel Prize winners like Dr. Marie Curie having fought for their places in history books. That’s all changing as more strides are taken toward gender parity across the board — and across the world.

Celebrating advances in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM fields) from women, a recently presented design showcases the names of more than 300 women, from the very well-known to those whose names may not (yet) be familiar.

Fashion tech pioneer and designer Sylvia Heisel, of Heisel design lab, worked with partners to create the unique Names Dress that celebrates both women making impacts and the capabilities of the technologies they work with.

More than 300 names were handwritten and 3D printed to create the dress’ unique design. The filament used is a compostable bioplastic, adding a sustainable element to the gown.

To bring the design to life, Heisel partnered with Morphi Founder Sophia Georgiou and Liz Arum of Ultimaker.

“While there are increasing numbers of women embarking on careers in STEAM (including inventors, mathematicians, scientists, artists using technology and others), the achievements of women in these fields are not always widely known or celebrated. The Names Dress is a tribute to women, known and unknown, historic and contemporary, in these interconnected and evolving fields. The Dress is also an exploration of the use of sustainable materials and techniques in creating innovative textiles and garments,” said Heisel.

I’ve spent some time perusing the extensive list of women, and it is broad in scope. Many names are fairly globally familiar: Marie Curie, Sally Ride, Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall, Hedy Lamarr, Florence Nightingale. Others are more niche to their technologies — and of course, as this is a 3D printing-driven project, many originate in 3D printing.

A project celebrating women in technology includes of course Women in 3D Printing Founder Nora Touré, as well as Adafruit Industries Founder and CEO Limor (Lady Ada) Fried. Designers Anouk Wipprecht and Danit Peleg also feature, as do Wi3DP ambassador Kadine James, maker Simone Gertz, designer Hanna Grzywnowicz, and Harvard professor Jennifer Lewis. My name was also included, for which I am remarkably honored and humbled; what exceptional company to be in!

To bring the list to life, Heisel handwrote each name using the Morphi app on an iPad. These were then made into 3D models and 3D printed on Ultimaker machines with WillowFlex compostable bioplastic filament. Once created, the names were arranged to form the body of the dress and “connected to create a unique zero waste continuous textile that could not have been made with traditional manufacturing.”

The dress is on display through International Women’s Day (March 8) 2020 at Florence’s Museo Salvatore Ferragamo. Because it was made to be compostable, it is a good fit in the Sustainable Thinking exhibition that features many forward-thinking innovations in fashion.

The Names Dress is a unique, beautiful celebration of women in STEAM — showcased in women’s wear. I saw the dress first thing this morning and am still grappling with the enormity of the project and honestly have teared up at the scope and inclusion. My humblest thanks to Sylvia and the collaborators for including my name here; it’s hard to imagine better company to keep.

Let’s keep celebrating women and a more diverse future: full STEAM ahead.

Via Sylvia Heisel and Names Dress

By Sarah Goehrke

Sarah Goehrke is a Special Correspondent for Fabbaloo, via a partnership with Additive Integrity LLC. Focused on the 3D printing industry since 2014, she strives to bring grounded and on-the-ground insights to the 3D printing industry. Sarah served as Fabbaloo's Managing Editor from 2018-2021 and remains active in the industry through Women in 3D Printing and other work.