On Wednesday, October 8, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Fashion and Education Workshop at the White House with 150 high school and college students. The fashion industry is full of Makers – creative individuals who have a diverse range of skills that they use to create products and apparel that are innovative, stylish and functional. XYZ Workshop and Ultimaker were one of the very few invited to participate in this unique event. The workshop highlighted the growing impact that the Maker Movement, along with the development of new materials and technologies such as 3D printing, low-cost sensors, and micro-controllers are having in the fashion industry and the creative economy.
“Fashion is really about passion and creativity, just like music or dance or poetry,” – Michelle Obama
There is a first for everything, including being invited to display the inBloom dress at the White House as part of a fashion education workshop organised by the First Lady herself, Michelle Obama.
Imagine the surrealness of receiving an email from an advisor at the White House and later speaking to her about to the logistics of getting the dress sent to the White House within the same week.
Things moved quickly (a big thank you to Ultimaker for making this happen) and the inBloom dress stood proud amongst many other fashion pieces on display. The event was graced by many notable fashion icons such as Anna Wintour, Zac Posen, Naomi Campbell and Diane von Furstenberg, just to name a few.
If the initiative of the event was to inspire fashion students to reach higher and push the boundaries of fashion as a career, we can only be proud that the inBloom dress stood for something. It had sought to challenge the status quo of the methods and materials employed in fashion and it seems to continue doing that as it makes its way around the globe, having just travelled from the New York Maker Faire and making a detour to the White house before the 3D Print Show in Paris.
The dress was displayed in the Diplomatic Reception room, which is also where the wearable technology workshop took place. There were about 20 high school and college students who attended the tech workshop, which was led by Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, an Industrial Design professor from the Pratt Institute. The students created LED powered brooches, which involved designing the pin, sewing it and programming the pattern of the blinking LEDs. There were also a number of designers and journalists from the fashion industry that came by to see the pieces exhibited in the Diplomatic Reception room.
If the next generation of designers from renowned fashion institutes such as Parsons Scholars Program, which provides art, design, and fashion education to underprivileged youth who attended the event were to take some inspiration from this workshop and tap into the potential offered by 3D printing in fashion, we will be keen to watch what is to come in future.