EPSON Textile Printers Are Transforming The Fashion Scene

EPSON's new printers made specifically to design textiles are helping push the boundaries and create new possibilities in the fashion world for apparel, accessories and furnishing. 

With these devices, designers are given free rein to pursue their creative vision, and are limited only by their imagination in their design.

Within Southeast Asia, for instance, we have internationally acclaimed Filipino designer Avel Bacudio, who has collaborated with Epson on a collection that pays homage to the beauty of our country last year. "Digital prints really make a difference; I am no longer constrained by physical limitations. I can do a lot to express myself in new ways," he shared.

In the traditional Fashion industry model, designs are usually printed on fabric using silk-screen – a costly and labour-intensive process. With this, designers are heavily constrained in their ability to translate ideas into finished fabric, since the process requires the design to be engraved on mesh screens by highly skilled craftsmen, and then demands large minimum yardages before a rotary or flatbed printing job can be started.

In stark contrast, digital textile printing allows for fabric to be printed in remarkably small runs. And designs need not be just the stripes, dots or flowers we’re used to seeing, repeated across the garment in a limited number of colours. Textile designers today have absolutely no barriers to their creativity.

Already using digital photography and technology such as Photoshop in the creative process, designers are working with source materials like original photography, copyrighted images and paintings, or even creating new designs to produce unique, breathtaking designs that can even be considered works of art.

And there are no constraints on colors – screen-printed textiles typically average six to eight colors at most. With digital textile printing, there is literally no limit to the number of colours that can be used. The digital process is also giving designers the freedom to work with a wider range of fabrics, from the polyester family, as well as cotton blends, lycra, silk, nylon and other materials.

Recent season’s runway shows and major store displays demonstrate how high-end brands have embraced digital printing technology. Apart from its enthusiastic take-up by the major fashion brands, digital textile printing is also enabling new designers to spread their wings and bring their ideas to market. The technology provides an exciting opportunity for talented designers in our region and around the world to showcase their creativity – and printing technology leader Epson is offering them significant support.

Renowned fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto has collaborated with Epson on many instances to showcase his creations combining traditional Japanese designs and ultra-modern styles. Commenting on his spectacular “HELLO ISTANBUL” fashion show in 2014, he said, "Recently, a number of new technologies have presented valid alternatives to the traditional Japanese crafts of dyeing, weaving and sewing. I would include Epson's textile printing in the top class of these technologies.”

Working to exacting standards, Epson spent four weeks reproducing the designs with specialist Genesta inks on the Monna Lisa textile printing system developed by Epson-owned Robustelli of Italy, and on Epson's SureColor SC-F7170 series and SurePress FP-30160 textile printers.

Last year, Epson staged its second Digital Couture event in advance of Fashion Week in New York City, showcasing collections from 11 North and Latin American designers created using Epson’s state-of-the-art SureColor F-Series dye-sublimation printing solutions. In Taiwan last November, Epson collaborated with designer Isabelle Wen to launch her new collection of couture clothing, with a segment of it printed by Epson’s digital textile printers powered by its PrecisionCore technology.

Improvements in quality have been key to today’s widespread adoption of digital textile printing technology by the fashion industry. Incremental enhancements in printers and inks have led to the longer-lasting, crisper prints we see today. From a production point of view, digital textile printing is often cheaper than screen printing – and it definitely facilitates faster turn-round, whether to enable stores to delight their customers with short run designs that are less tied to the traditional seasons, or to fulfil a one-off commission from a celebrity with an impossible deadline.

For the manufacturer, digital textile printing brings greater business opportunity and agility, in enabling production across segments to meet the market demands – from apparel, furnishing and accessories, to providing a sample print preview to a brand before going mass production. A manufacturer can now produce everyday wearables alongside high end fashion in customised quantities; from interior furnishings such as curtains and sofa covers, to accessories such as tote bags and shoes. Production possibilities are only limited by the designers’ imagination.

Epson is committed to strengthening its presence in textile printing and aims to provide products and services that surprise and delight customers in this market. Their advanced dye sublimation technology is helping designers create their own textile patterns in the exact design they want, when they need it, and in just the quantity required. Their new range of industrial textile printers offers maximum versatility for customised products on-demand – from stunning fashion items to creative interior d├ęcor.

From the producer’s point of view, affordability is crucial; the Epson digital textile printer’s low cost of ownership and optimised performance put advanced production technology within the reach of visionary designers, helping them bring their designs to commercial reality in a constantly changing fashion world.

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