The Future of Fur

The Future of Fur

Many people are opposed to having products made from fur. This year fashion brand Prada has announced the ban of fur in it’s collections. The ban will come into effect this September for its spring/summer 2020 women’s collections. Although these bans on fur have a huge impact on animal welfare and sustainability new technologies mean that we can now replicate real fur.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab have created a 3D printed fur that feels exactly like the real thing. The fur is made from a biocompatible resin. The material was previously used in dentistry but feels like mink or chinchilla fur. Two coats have been made from the material in collaboration with fashion designer Erin Robertson.

Scientist Jifei Ou at Media Lab had previously demonstrated a variety of uses for Cilllia, including mechanical adhesion, passive actuators, and touch sensors.

Ou used traditional computer-assisted design software to create each individual hair-like structure which were then turned into tiny triangles for the printer to follow layer-by-layer. Each hair structure has a 50 micrometer resolution. The software the researchers created also allowed users to choose the angle, thickness and height of each hair.

The final jackets were created from long sheets of the Cillia fabric that could be separated into smaller parts and reassembled to fit the form. By 3D printing fabric it also means that no waste is produced and the garment does not go through any harmful processes, especially those that include harsh chemicals which have a hugely negative impact on our environment. This efficiency in manufacturing could reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry extensively.

Iris Van Herpen created a dress which was made to look like feathers for the Manus x Machina exhibition at the Met Museum in 2016. This avantgarde piece showcases the capabilities of replication we now have. The exhibition that features this piece explores the difference and marriage of man-made and machine made garments.

Images by:
MIT Media Lab
Jifei Ou
Iris Van Herpe