Charlie Taublieb’s High-Performance Apparel Lesson
The athletic wear trend has been growing at a steady rate, with companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour seeing huge profits, and “athleisure” blurring the lines between activewear and casual style.
Wednesday morning, “Working with Performance Graphics,” screen-printing guru Charlie Taublieb of Taublieb Consulting discussed which inks and processes yield the best results on polyester.
Taublieb is acutely aware of the boom in athletic wear, noting the apparel has not changed much over the years, aside from a bit of clever branding.
“When we called it polyester back in the day, nobody wanted to wear the damn thing,” Taublieb said. “Now we call it ‘performance wear’ and everyone wants to wear it.”
He also explained the difference between polyester and silicone inks. Polyester, he says, has a more naturally rough touch. In the athletic apparel market, having a comfortable feel is crucial, so end-users prefer something with a more flexible feel that allows them to move more comfortably.
Silicone is also preferred by the manufacturers. Taublieb recalled visiting apparel manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where he noted that Nike and Adidas insisted on silicone ink.
Taublieb also noted that more modern silicone inks typically only require a catalyst for blacks and whites, as opposed to four components of older inks. Color inks and metallics still might require three or four components, but he said silicone inks are still easier to use than other inks, and some can cure with very low temperatures.