These days, styles of dress are pretty homogenized across the world. Sure, there are still variations based on culture or religion, but compared to prior centuries, we modern humans tend to clothe ourselves pretty similarly to each other. Thanks to globalization and the dominance of multinational brands, it’s no surprise to find the same shirt or pair of shoes on individuals in China, the US, France, Brazil, etc. A kind of global standard has developed for certain kinds of clothing, too – the business suit, for example, is pretty universally accepted as what people wear for business occasions.
Traditional clothing styles still persist alongside jeans and suits in many countries and regions – India comes to mind, for example – but some countries no longer differentiate themselves too much from others in terms of apparel. That doesn’t mean that traditional dress – or traditional music, food, or customs – is forgotten, though. The preservation of cultural heritage is a priority for many countries and cultures, and the beautiful clothing of past centuries frequently makes appearances at festivals and in exhibits.
The Museu Nacional do Traje (National Costume Museum) in Portugal is dedicated to the preservation and display of Portuguese fashion from the 18th century to today. Portuguese 3D printing company Diverte has taken on a project to preserve the country’s historical dress in a different way, though – by 3D printing it. The Printed Traditions project utilizes 3D scanning and printing to create detailed representations of the traditional fashion of one region in particular: Viano do Castelo, where Diverte is based.
3D printed costumes on exhibit at the Costume Museum
Meticulously designed, printed and painted, the costume-wearing figurines created by Diverte have just been officially certified as national cultural heritage and are now part of Museu Nacional do Traje’s permanent exhibition. They can also be purchased – from the museum, from Diverte’s shop or from theironline store on Facebook. The company also offers a customization service, in which customers can order figurines of themselves in traditional dress. If you’re interested, there are a couple options – the company can scan your face into one of their 3D models, or you can actually go to one of their facility, dress in costume, and have a full-body scan taken and used to create a 3D print.
Traje Mordoma (Mordoma Costume) was more formal wear for young women chosen to assist in ceremonies or festivities
Traje à Vianesa/Traje de Festa de Homem was the beautifully embroidered “party wear” for people of the region; Diverte offers the styles of both men and women
Traje de Ceifeira/Ceifeiro, which roughly translates to “Combine and Reaper costume,” was worn by workers in the field
Traje de Noiva/Noivo is the traditional dress of brides and grooms
All of the costuming is stunningly beautiful, though my favorite is the black and gold, beaded wedding wear. The 3D printed replicas are amazingly detailed, capturing the intricate beading and embroidery and even the different fabric textures. Each figurine is available in four different sizes and can be hand-painted by local artisans. You can learn more about the project here.