How Dylan Mulder combines technology and wearable art

By Sarah Lang
Photography by Mark Tantrum

Featured in Capital #41.
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Dylan Mulder is tech savvy to say the least. We spoke to him back in 2017 about his wearable art for the digital age.

Industrial designer Dylan Mulder thinks big. In 2016, he partnered with World of Wearable Art sponsor Air New Zealand to design WOW’s first “virtual-reality garment”. Using virtual-reality headset HTC Vive, he created a design on a computer-generated mannequin, then assembled the 3D-printed components into an unnamed sculptural garment. It was displayed in the foyer outside the WOW shows, while another Mulder creation was in the competition itself.

Digital Stealth Gods won WOW’s $5000 Wearable Technology Award and the Cirque du Soleil Performance Art Costume Award. The latter earned him a month’s internship at Cirque’s HQ in Montreal, with $6,000, flights and accommodation. There in March and April he did three presentations about modern design philosophy, led a team of five in creating a wall sculpture about innovative creative thinking, blogged about the trip at, and even made a pitch to become a costume designer for upcoming shows. “We’re a perfect match.” So much so that Cirque extended his stay by a week. And let’s just say he’ll be back.

At home this month, Mulder launches his first jewellery line XYZ Collective ( – made-to-order blocky metal pieces with 3D printing as their point of difference. He flies to Singapore to promote XYZ at the TFWA Pacific Exhibition for the duty-free and travel-retail industry.

Then the 30-year-old returns to studio commissions, turning his concept sketches into three-dimensional computer models, and physically creating prototypes using five 3D printers. Currently he’s developing 3D-printed “bad-ass prosthetic covers” that will attach magnetically to Paralympic gold-medallist Liam Malone’s prosthetic legs (think body armour).

Leading by example, Mulder is building relationships between New Zealand’s digital designers and global industry contacts, with a network-building Asia trip planned. “Digital talent is a sustainable resource New Zealand can outsource to the world.”

He’s all about leveraging opportunities to create others. His advice: “Know your worth and say yes more often.”


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