Wearing it Well
The world of fashion and apparel is changing. As new technologies make it possible to print on a wider range of fabrics, and newer fabrics with more innovative properties push the limits of what these technologies can handle, designers are getting more creative. Custom printing fabric for a single garment, or for a specific collection, is gaining in popularity.
SGIA Expo will be a chance for attendees to see many of these trends playing out first hand.
“The development, growth and installation of high output digital printing equipment is having an impact on increasing long-run and customized production, bringing more garment printing back to the U.S. to meet immediate turn-around demands for customers,” notes Ken Siecinski, Program Manager Activewear & Outerwear, Top Value Fabrics (Booth 2155).
“One of the biggest trends we’re seeing is the customization and personalization of various types of clothing with digitally printed graphics,” agrees Lily Hunter, Product Manager, Textiles and Consumables, Roland DGA (Booth 601). “These are typically short-runs involving unique designs that cater to a person’s individual style.”
For Oki Data’s (Booth 2233) National Sales Director, New Business Development, Matt Davies, one of the biggest trends fueling innovation in this space is the addition of short-run digital heat-transfer printing. “In fact, some are calling it ‘a revolution in digital color printing.’ Traditional transfer methods of silk screening and screen printing are, for the most part, large, loud and messy. What’s more, these processes are only efficient for printing large quantities of garments. More and more printers are supplementing the traditional processes with digital printers that deliver short runs of vibrant, on-demand color images. Even within the heat-transfer market, paper companies and printer manufacturers alike are working together to make this technology better and more available to consumers.”
“The biggest explosion in the garment industry is the very short run, customized merchandise,” agrees Gerri Rhein, Sales and Marketing, Brown Manufacturing Group. (Booth 1845). “The customer has a design that they want a small quantity and the response has to be rapid. Direct to garment, sublimation and rapid response direct printing are the best ways to respond to this market.”
Another trend that Reuben Quesus, Director of Business Development, Racad Tech, Inc. (Booth 2610), is watching includes the fact that web-to-print technology is beginning to expand to garment printing, driven by the push toward customization. “We find a lot of popularity in personalization of garments and textiles,” he says. “And we see an unbelievable amount of demand for one-off requests.”
Digital printing is pushing into far more markets — and garment printing is the next evolution of that transformation of the industry. It is worth spending some time while at SGIA Expo doing some research, since this could very well be your shop’s “Next Big Thing” — whether you realize it yet or not.