By Melissa Donovan
Epson hosted its fourth Epson Digital Couture Project on February 6, 2018 in New York City, NY. The annual event invites designers from North and Latin America to utilize Epson’s digital printing technology to create fashion designs. This year’s theme was Cosmopolitan Couture with Impossible Colors – How Does Your Culture Dress Up? 14 designers worked to create collections consisting of three separate outfits, which went on to be modeled at the event.
Above: These three outfits were created by Ana Maria Gululfo of Peru using Epson digital printing technologies. Photo by Frank Ishman.
Proving its Worth
Prior to the fashion show, Epson held a Fashion and Technology Forum, where influencers shared their insights on how digital printing is affecting today’s apparel production process. Anthony Cenname, VP/publisher, WSJ Magazine moderated the discussion between Anna Fusoni, editor in chief, KS News; Aliza Licht, EVP brand marketing and communications, Alice + Olivia; interior designer Ryan Korban; and Mark Sunderland from Thomas Jefferson University.
Highlights from the forum included a discussion on the benefits of digital printing technology. Topics like catering to fast fashion trends, minimizing inventory, sustainability, and unlimited design possibilities were discussed.
According to Sunderland, designers are becoming more informed about fabrics and what goes into their construction, especially how this affects drape and hand. “This allows them to flip the script on the supply chain—it is no longer linear, but 360 degrees. The process is all about information gathering.”
Digital printing also “flips the script” on the supply chain. “There is no substitute for being able to print to fabric and have it be done in an hour’s time,” continued Sunderland. Cenname agreed and pointed out that in most instances before a fashion show, designers are looking for a quick fix to finish a collection and digital printers are an ideal solution.
Looking to the future of fashion, Fusoni commented that a combination of digital textile printing and sourcing local is ideal for businesses with smaller infrastructures. “Digital print allows for different designs, which makes a designer successful. Fashion is a business and you need an entrepreneurial mind to be successful.”
One of the goals for designers with small- or medium-sized businesses—and many on the panel have already seen this—is for them to come together and pool costs for a digital printer. They can work as a collective in a makers’ space or solution center.
Identifying the benefits of digital and how it’s affected the fashion world is fascinating. “Digital provides a spectrum of color in a fraction of time. It is kind of remarkable how it’s affected the design process,” shared Licht.
A Commitment to Fashion
Epson is dedicated to digital printing’s influence in the fashion world. Keith Kratzberg, president/CEO, Epson America, Inc., was quick to point out what a unique opportunity digital presents for the U.S. in particular, since so much of current textile printing is outsourced overseas.
“Digital is providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to start a new market, whether it be fast fashion or niche verticals,” he shared.
The Epson Digital Couture Project coincided with Epson’s announcement about its new microsite—Epson Brings Technology and Fashion Together. Accessible at epson.com/fashion, the site serves as an information portal for fashion designers interested in learning more about digital fabric printing. Not only does it offer solution-based guidance on dye-sublimation (dye-sub) and direct to fabric processes, it also connects fashion designers to digital fabric printers to propel the technology forward.
Epson offers a range of digital printing devices. Its newest SureColor F9370 is a 64-inch dye-sub transfer printer. Designed for high-speed, medium- to large-volume printing, it prints at speeds up to 1,169 square feet per hour. The SureColor F9370 is equipped with the company’s latest dye-sub ink technology—UltraChrome DS with High-Density Black.
Through Epson’s acquisition of Robustelli, it now offers the Monna Lisa digital textile printers. The portfolio includes three different printing widths, all equipped with Epson printheads. The printers can be loaded with four or eight colors with either acid, reactive, disperse, pigment, or sublimation disperse ink—allowing for direct printing on any type of fabric.
We look forward to continuing to report on Epson’s commitment to digital printing in the fashion industry.
Apr2018, Industrial Print Magazine