Layer by Layer
Drawn elements are built into a structure on a computer program.
A sheep’s woollen fleece is removed from its back and classed.
The design is converted into a readable file.
Once sorted, the fleece is skirted by removing the edges of the wool coat.
Two hours later, the printer has reached the necessary print temperature.
Lanolin and other greasy traces are industrially scoured from the raw fleece.
Loaded files are read by the printer software and the design data gets horizontally sliced.
Washed and dried wool is picked apart, opening the locks and making the wool into a fluffy web.
The computer file hosting the drawn elements gets sent to the printer hardware.
These woollen fibres are then put through a series of combing steps called carding.
A laser traces a concentrated heat beam across a layer of powdered plastic.
The wool is divided into small pencil roving strips, and collected on large spools.
Dropping the base by the height of the splice, the printer lays down another layer of power.
The roving is spun, twisting the fibres into yarn.
A laser traces a new route, and the process repeats for four hours.
Yarn is moved from a wooden bobbin onto a cone winder, ready for weaving.
The printer is left to cool for the same amount of time as the print took to be produced.
Flat, fine-knit weaves are prescribed for the collection’s aesthetic and the yarn’s knitting structure.
The printed elements are removed from the printer, and excess powder is sprayed away.
The woollen garments are luxuriously finished in keeping with the brand’s heritage.
The printed material is woven through small hooks on the fabric and stitched into the wool.
A stunning collection of garments are walked, combining two dramatically contrasting techniques.
The parallel processes involved in the collaboration between architect Richard Beckett and Pringle of Scotland’s Head of Design Massimo Nicosia couldn’t be more opposed. By alternately exploring the steps involved in the collection’s production, the layered structured of the 3D printed elements is visualised – as is the complexity of the woollen garments weave. What’s restrictive about fashion is that long list of hard-to-shake perceptions. Different materials and styles have prescribed expectations, and it’s only through the realisation of a bold vision – which defies those tired ideas – that design is developed. Aside from the materials, the collection is both artistically innovative and commercially viable. Pushing through into a very fresh aesthetic, Pringle of Scotland deliver the things we didn’t even know we wanted: a tailored, considered sportswear silhouette, combining futuristic shapes with a 90s grunge kind of attitude. The legacy that this classic label made for itself started out as a cricket and golfing brand – and with this in mind, one can only applaud the bold way in which Nicosia has re-imagined Pringle of Scotland and its trademark wool. Whilst the incorporation of 3D printed elements is totally modern, what’s most exciting about this work is the way that the collection’s aesthetic still dominates the garments appearance. The magic in these pieces is that neither process has taken control of the design – and it’s this quality that truly distinguishes Pringle of Scotland A/W14.
This text on Wool was written and submitted by Faith Robinson for Round 2 of Modeconnect’s International Fashion Writing Competition. Check Faith’s entry for Round 1: 3D printing in fashion