3D Printed Fashion + Interaction Design
interactive wearables designed to connect people
Keywords: 3D printed fashion, interaction design, parametric design, generative algorithms, tradition v.s. technology, pattern and form, nature, sustainability
Award-winning Graduate Project

My work has won the 2020 GDUSA Design Competition. Pieces were also selected to be on exhibition of the 2020 Nature Created by Design Competition.

  • Time: Jan. 2019 - Dec. 2020
  • Tools: paper, washi, fabrics, felts, PVC, leather, recycled materials, 3D printer
  • Software: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere, Figma, Blender, CLO3D, Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Make Human, Daz Studio
1. Project Brief
To slow down the fast-moving pace of modern life, uiiu focuses on creating personal fashion accessories to establish emotional connections between people. By implementation of customer engagement, uiiu combines traditional handmade techniques with modern technology to bring a sense of connection, belonging, and joyfulness to life.
uiiu creates bounds and connections between different distances of people. For example, if users wear the smart products, when they come across each other within a distance of 50 meters, the electronic modules will send out signals, change colors or patterns. With a closer distance between families and friends, the products can work as a connection in between to send out signals and feedback through mobile applications connected with the wearables.
Relationships Mapping
2. Research

User Analysis

Competitor + SWOT Analysis

Brand Positioning V.S. Storage

SFIT: Smart Fabric and Interactive Textiles

SFIT Applications

Google: Jacqaurd Project

Google Jacquard Project

Flexible Structures

Flexible Structures
Product Positioning
3. Inspirations

Forms from Tradition and Technology


Origami + Weaving + Chinese Knotting

4. Materials

eco-friendly materials

Eco-friendly Materials

color & trim mood board

Mood Board
5. Patterns & Structures

traditional patterns

Traditional Patterns

geometric patterns

Geometric Patterns

pattern tessellation

6. Design Experiments
I have conducted several phases of design experiments using different materials and tools. The paper models are used to develop the form and shape of my products inspired by origami. The 3d printing methods are used to test my design ideas of patterns, flexible structures, and functional forms. This is working-in-progress.

Paper Models

Phase 1:
At the first stage, I set up the overall feelings of my product line. The picture below shows 3 possible themes of how customers can interact with the products.
Paper Prototypes
At the second stage, ideas were developed for how technology can be built in the products and how customers can interact with each other.
Paper Prototypes
Phase 3:
Along with the development of new fabric created by 3D printing, this stage focuses on combining tradition and technology to connect users.
Paper Prototypes
Paper Prototypes
3D Printing
After experimenting with paper, 3D printing technology was incorporated and tested with different prototypes of pattern, structures, and conceptual fabrics. A series of design were developed to be the basis of my final products. Different methods of connecting small modules were tested in the early stages. It’s a journey of trial and error, but I’ve learnt a lot as well. Then I finally found a great way to connect them - by using interlocking structures. The following development in case of PLA 3D printing follows this method.
Interlocking Structures for 3D Printing

Inspiration 1: knitting

The inspiration came from traditional pattern of knitting. How to transfer the traditional technique with new technology and create a new fabric? The outcome was very flexible.
3D Printing with Knitting Patterns

Inspiration 2: Chinese Knotting

The inspiration came from Chinese knotting. I developed different structures to create patterns, which can be used later to form the technical parts of my product lines.
Pattern Design Inspired by Chinese Knotting
Structure to Fabric
Form to Storage
7. Design Proposals

Bracelets & necklaces

For the first few accessories made with PLA, the inspiration came from endangered plants in California. The first one is called Mimulus Pictus. Structures and patterns were developed into a geometric feeling. Small modules were connected with each other to create the basic pattern, which was used to form necklaces and bracelets.
Bracelets & Necklaces: 3D Printed with PLA
The second group was inspired by Lathenia Glabrata, another endangered plant in California. The symmetric shape was extracted to form a geometric pattern. Openings were added in the end cells so that the accessories can be locked by themselves without extra structures.
Bracelets & Necklaces: 3D Printed with PLA
To better achieve the goals of comfortableness, TPU filament was tested and incorporated in the following designs. With the nature of soft rubber-like TPU, the shape can be bent by itself. I designed geometric cells and tessellations to create bracelets. At the end line, small circles were added as hooks for them to interlock.
Bracelets: 3D Printed with TPU

Pet Wear

One step forward from bracelets and necklaces, small-scale of garment was developed as a bunny wear. The patterns were designed by generative Voronoi cells inspired by leaves. In areas around the holes for front legs, the cells are smaller by adding forces as a circle. Buttons were added at each side of the half shape. The whole piece was 0.3mm thick so that it was light enough for the bunny to wear.
Bunny Wear: 3D Printed with TPU


Later on, storage as bags was developed. The first one was a bag made fully by 3D printing materials except for the wood handle and the aluminum rings. The blue modules are the technical parts where users can interact with. The handle is rotatable, and the disks can send out signals. To keep the functionality of a bag, the surface was designed with limited flexibility.
Bag: 3D Printed with PLA
The second one was another iteration of the bag by combing traditional material – vegetable tanned leather – with 3D printed panels. Apart from a pure art piece, this helps the design become more practical in daily usage. Below video is a documentation of the making process.

Conceptual Garments

The final stage was developing human-scales conceptual garments. At first, a 3D avatar model of my own size was created in Make Human, which included the dimensions of my body. JJuiiuJJ will provide customers with this fully customizable feature when designing garments for them. They will get a 3D scan of the body, and 3D models will be built accordingly. The 3D models were taken into Mixamo and 3D animations were created.
Initially, an asymmetrical garment inspired by traditional Chinese Qipao was designed in CLO3D, and patterns were exported as 3D objects. As the 3D model of the garment was triangulated and difficult to edit in the future, it is very important to retopology (manually remake the meshes from triangles to quads) in Blender.
Create Garments for Avatars
Manually Retopology Meshes from Triangulates to Quads
The meshes were imported in Grasshopper to create generative Voronoi patterns. Certain cells were selected to created more detailed generative patterns to indicate the technological modules. This patterns also resonate with the inspiration of traditional Chinese knotting. It is interesting to notice the complimentary shapes of the cells and the outer web.
Generate Patterns: Cells V.S. Webs
Create Detailed Patterns Inspired by Chinese Knotting
Below figure shows the concept that the technological cells in the middle curvature line are interactive modules that users use to connect with each other and/or with other products. These modules change pattern, color, or illuminate when users trigger that feature.
Conceptual Garments
In the future, a show will be held with my products being exhibited in an interactive environment. People choose the products to wear such as bracelets and necklaces and come inside the room. When they come near a garment, both products will illuminate. The pattern on the garment also changes when people touch in certain areas. A conceptual 3D animation showing this idea was created as below.
8. Next Steps

3D printing of complicated shapes

With the limitation of FDM 3D printer, it’s difficult to achieve complicated geometric shape. I will either resource 3rd party studios or adjust the modules to be printed flat with TPU without losing the overall fluid feelings.

technological prototypes

In the future, this project will partner with technical talents to further develop and implement the interactive modules. They will be developed and customized to fit within these products. When users wear my products and come within range of others wearing similar “wired” accessories and garments, the technical modules send out signals, illuminate, change colors or patterns to encourage communication between users and a memorable experience.