Neotafoni is an exploration in creating a workflow of merging traditional garment making workflows with that of digital modeling and rapid prototyping techniques. To do this I began by learning traditional pattern making and draping as well as experimenting with 3d modeling animation software and rapid prototyping techniques to find areas of intersection. The end result was a silicon and organza (fabric) bodice that was representative of both the digital modeling process as well as the translational aspect of the rapid prototyping techniques I employed to create it. To reflect the nature of the garment as a mixture of techniques both old and new, as well as the natural patterning that inspired the garments design, I named this garment: Neotafoni. Neo deriving itself from the Latin for new and tafoni as the natural patterns that occur along rocky surfaces when subjected to extreme forms of weathering.
Once an initial concept for the bodice was formed, I began working both digitally and physically to bring the design to life. This consisted of learning and working within Autodesk Maya to form a digital rendition of the bodice design while simultaneously learning pattern making and draping to create a physical bodice pattern that I would later import into Maya.
While learning the physical pattern making and digital modeling processes, I also began experimenting with different ways of translating the digital patterning into a physical process via rapid prototyping techniques. I started by attempting to create a flexible material out of both wood and later cast plastic based off of a laser cut pattern matching the aesthetic of my early digital sketches.
My second experimental process consisted of testing my laser cut pattern on different fabrics including cotton and neoprene. Though the neoprene exhibited limited tearing, it was ultimately determined that the laser cutting process made the fabrics too fragile to make a functional garment as they lost their structural integrity.
My third experimental process consisted of drape forming different types of plastics through a wooden laser cut pattern. This process was used to create multiple flat panels with variable optical clarity that organically transformed the original geometric laser cut pattern. The hard flat panels were ultimately deemed unusable for a garment due to their lack of flexibility, but were used as a step in my fourth process.
My fourth experiment consisted of utilizing the drape formed pieces of plastic as molds for creating a custom textile. By layering in translucent silicon and organza fabric, I was able to translate my original laser cut pattern into a flexible and organic material that could be assembled together into a functional garment.
After discovering an ideal way of translating the abstract digital pattern into a physical pattern, I was then ready to combine my three different explorations into one unified design. I began by digitally reproducing my physical bodice pattern within Maya and animating it around a digital scan of a dress form to replicate the folding of fabric into a bodice. I then digitally modeled over pattern, this allowed me to see how the organic patterning would follow the contours of the bodice pattern and to flatten it so it could be exported for laser cutting. I then created a flattened pattern that was laser cut and following my final experimentation process, created both a front and back pattern out of silicon and organza. This pattern was then cut out, draped, and assembled into the final garment and alterations were made so that it could fit the model.