When Ruth Carter received the Oscar for Best Costume Design for Marvel Studio’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Sunday, little was known of the incredible talent and technology it took to design the film's wardrobe and accessories.
One of the most eye-catching designs in the movie is the majestic crown and neckpiece worn by Queen Ramonda, portrayed by actress Angela Bassett, who was also nominated for her performance. Both the crown and neckpiece were designed by Julia Koerner and were 3D printed in Leuven, Belgium, by 3D printing pioneer Materialise.
The company is traditionally associated with industrial work for Airbus, Rayban, automotive and bicycle manufacturers, yet it took an innovator like Materialise to execute the designs.
The technical prowess required the blending of tradition and hypermodernity, accurately representing Wakanda’s unique civilization, which is deeply rooted in African culture. 3D printing provided the freedom of design needed to create incredibly complex designs and structures.
Materialise used Laser Sintering, a 3D printing technology where a part is produced by melting together powder particles layer by layer with a laser. Each layer is 0.1 mm thick. The resulting parts tend to be sturdy and stiff but the clever design resulted in a piece that was comfortable enough to be worn and stiff enough to maintain its imposing royal bearing.
Challenges of 3D printing
A survey by Materialise reveals that many companies are familiar with the unique benefits of 3D printing but face challenges as they onboard the technology and scale up to volume production. In the fashion industry, 3D printing is still in its infancy and is yet to become a sustainable solution to ultra-fast fashion production.