Julia Koerner

Headshot by Pia Clodi

Did you always want to work in architecture?

JK: I was always really creative growing up and interested in both architecture and fashion.

When I was 18, I decided to study architecture, little did I know that this would enable me to work cross-disciplinary between architecture and fashion later on in my career. 

When did you discover 3D Printing?

JK: In 2005 I was studying in Vienna at the University of Applied Arts, and the University had their first 3D printer. I remember my professor Greg Lynn saying that this technology is going to be relevant in ten years. 

How did you move from using 3D printing in architecture to fashion?  

JK: During and after I finished my studies, I worked with Ross Lovegrove in London, an internationally well recognized product designer. I really got to expand my knowledge and implement the architectural design process into the design of products. We designed all sorts of beautiful designs across various scales: lights, perfume bottles, shoes, and clothing. In 2015 I collaborated with Iris van Herpen and Materialise on one of the first 3D printed flexible dresses.

Image below features Julia Koerner Setae Jacket Chro-Morpho Collection Stratasys 2019 Photo by Ger Ger10.

Julia Koerner Setae Jacket Chro-Morpho Collection Stratasys 2019 Photo by Ger Ger10.
How did you get involved with Black Panther? 

[Black Panther won 3 Oscars including Best Costume Design, making Ruth Carter the first African-American women to win an Oscar in this category.]

JK: Over the past fifteen years I have specialised myself within 3D printing and established a good network within the industry. Further I have completed many 3D printing collaborations with famous fashion houses. When Ruther Carter was hired by Marvel to be the costume designer for Black Panther, she had seen my work with 3D printing at the Paris couture shows. 

Why did Ruth Carter decide to 3D print the costumes? 

JK: In Black Panther, Wakanda is a futuristic city that’s very technologically advanced, and Ruth wanted to reflect that when designing the costumes for the cast. In the Queen’s costume, she wanted to create a regal, sophisticated costume that captured Wakanda’s futuristic society. 

Ruth put her ideology into practice – she did not want the costumes to look handmade, and instead appear to be made using technological and utilise advanced technologies. 

Image below shows Julia Koerner BLACK PANTHER Collaboration with Costume Designer Ruth Carter 2018 Photography Marvel Disney.

What was it like working on the film? 

JK: Marvel is very protective and used code words to refer to the movie and characters. I started collaborating with Ruth in fall of 2016, and I did not know which movie I was working on or which character I was designing for. When Marvel sent me the details and measurements of the main character my generative design methods came in handy as I was able to adapt the designs digitally. During the design process, I slowly figured out for which movie the costume designs were being created.

Image below features Julia Koerner Collaboration with Costume Designer Ruth Carter Black Panther Photography Marvel Disney 2018_5.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out their career? 

JK: You have to invest a lot of time into what you do.

I did many internships and started working on the side three years before I graduated. You have to put a lot of effort into training yourself and building up a really good network. 

Right now everything’s online so go to online meetings, attend lectures, reach out with people and make sure your talent is being seen. Connections are everything. If you meet the right people at the right time, they can help you to elevate and improve your work. 

What traits are important to develop? 

JK: Loyalty and being responsible is so important. When you have a project, you have to make sure you deliver and you follow the timeline; you can’t be late. You have to be reliable. 

I think that’s one huge factor in this industry…you have to develop this professionalism. Make sure that the level of work you produce is always exceeding your own expectations.

What are some of your dreams for the future? 

JK: I’d love to publish a book that includes all the work I’ve done in the last 10 years.