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The World’s first printed pleating costume


As Ph.D. candidates in Fashion and Textile research, Royal College of Art, London, Mingjing Lin specializes in 3D printing and Tsai-Chun Huang in pleating. They believe ‘Craft’ and ‘Technology’ together can create something new and inspiring. Based on their specialties, they propose a performing project for this coming autumn, which will apply 3D pleating on the costume of Beijing Opera.

During the performance of ‘Farewell My Concubine’ the 1st December 2017, actors will wear special kind of costumes. The attire will be an unusual combination of traditional craft and new technologies.


The challenge was to create a material with specific properties.To create this kind of texture it had to be both flexible and sustainable. In this situation, costumes are supposed not only to play the episodic role but are the essential part of the performance. That’s why they had to be extraordinary.The printed material had to fulfill two main functions. First of all, it had to be able to create the shape designed by the artist. The second one was to be wearable to freely perform on the stage by the artists of Beijing Opera. In the performance ‘Farewell My Concubine’ costumes are an inseparable part of telling the story.

Printing such a costume would be impossible to do with the normal material, such as cotton and silk, because 3D printing could give more possibilities to the dramatic geometry, at the same time maintain wearability if new materials applied.


Sinterit Lisa helped to meet all the expectations about the material printed. The usage of special, flexible material – Sinterit Flexa Black enabled the texture to synchronize with actor’s body. The material is fully wearable, with the fashionshape impossible to create with traditional materials. At the same time, the material keeps the same shape and form of traditional costume.

The monochronic color of costume and less embellishment writes in contemporary aesthetics.

In the future, this kind of SLS 3D printed material can lead to further research about a relationship between movement, fashion, and the body. Texture made with Sinterit Lisa will be worn by Beijing Opera singers during an exclusive performance of ‘Farewell My Concubine’ at the RCA on 1st December 2017

Results implemented

The texture of 3D fabrics differs from traditional costumes. The new quality coming from using unusual materials may result in attracting completely new recipients to the show, those so far discouraged by the overwhelming costumes of the traditional Chinese Opera.

  • The wearable and soft material in shape impossible to create from any other material.
  • Opportunity to bring the definition of fashion to the next level by mixing new technology and traditional craft.
  • Creating a new approach to acquiring materials for clothes making, by unusual usage of SLS 3D print technology.

Project author and initiator:
Mingjing Lin and Tsai-Chun Huang

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