Aislin, Nyx, Nehalennia and Calypso

Costume Designs: Selena S Kuzman and Heidi Soos
3D Upcycled Accessories : Selena S Kuzman
Headpieces: Caroline Bury
Concept: Howie Firth

Background and details

An Orkney shop window had four visitors for a festival week in 2016. Aislin, Nyx, Nehalennia and Calypso were specially created for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

It was once a well-known draper’s shop, providing suits and dresses for Orkney’s farming folk and townspeople. For seven days it was ablaze with colour and texture in the presence of four figures with complete outfits that delighted passers-by.

It was part of a project called Fashion the Future! – developed to show the creative potential of upcycling.

It combined repurposed textiles with recycled plastic, 3D-printed into new design accessories.

The textiles came from varied sources – from men’s ties to vintage curtains, transformed through the imagination and creativity of three artists.

Selena S Kuzman and Caroline Bury are graduates of Moray School of Art, and Heidi Soos is a graduate of Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen.

They incorporated 3D-printed elements, particularly the shapes of a teardrop and a four-petalled flower. The shapes were developed for 3D printing by the Moray makerspace group, the T-Exchange.

Fashion the Future! was made possible through funding from EventScotland to mark the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

"Recycling,” he said, “I call it downcycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling - where old products are given more value, not less."

— Reiner Pilz

How the process has developed

The artists and designers started by sourcing material, looking through charity shops and second-hand salerooms, and seeking help from friends with items such as unwanted ties.

They came up with designs for several standard modules, developed for versatility – a flower, a teardrop, a twig. These designs were then taken by the T-Exchange and translated in a programme called Sketchup, which produces an output that goes direct for 3D printing.

The 3D-printed modular units were incorporated into the developing designs in a variety of ways. Jewellery and accessories were also developed through the use of a 3D pen, which draws out threads of hot plastic by hand and shapes them.

Much sewing was involved in the creation of the clothes. Secondhand mannequins were sourced, and the heads were developed artistically in keeping with the costumes.

Bracelet created with a 3D doodle pen combined with 3D printed elements

The hope is that the project will leave behind a vision of what can be achieved through upcycling and an inspiration to try it. It is also hoped that it will encourage interest in traditional skills such as sewing, through their potential to creatively transform waste into something of beauty. It is further hoped that through showing the potential of 3D printing, it will encourage individuals and communities to investigate further, to find out both about 3D printing itself and also the potential for local plastics recycling.