May '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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A trickle-down trend from retail, discharge printing can attract high-end clients and high-dollar contracts. (All images courtesy the author) n Taboo or Voodoo? Intermediate Dare to Go Discharge Tony Pepitone by I have penned a few articles on the subject of discharge printing over the years; the last one about five years ago. Back then, it was still widely regarded as an unviable process, prone to result in disastrous results. Sure, there were some (primarily larger) shops printing with water-based inks but that was mostly for large volume retail. Then, very slowly, we started to see other print shops experimenting with discharge under bases and having some success. Right around the same time, the hybrid plastisol/discharge systems came out and many were achieving successful results with these. Soon after, small- to mid-size shops started testing the waters with full color discharge and bang—almost all of them were amazed how easy it truly was. Not only were they achieving the soft hand, but many colors were more vivid, prints were 68 | Printwear PW_May13.indd 68 Tony Pepitone has held technical, general, and production management positions for some of the country's top apparel decoration facilities. He is currently the Operations Manager for The Image Network, a division of The Image Branding Group in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a frequent and generous contributor to The Shirt Board, one of the industry's most populated internet forums. crisper, halftone resolution was increased and, often, the presses ran faster. Moreover, when many ran the numbers, they found it was less expensive. Flash forward to now; scrolling through employment sections on the industry forums, the ads for print practitioners and supervisors almost always mention that knowledge of this process is a prerequisite, or a plus at the very least. We will touch on all of this and explore much, much more but first, let's take a look at what happened and how we got to where we are now. Grab your coffee, shut your office door and buckle up; it's going to be quite the ride. A History Lesson So how did we get here so fast? Well, several factors contributed, really. First, the larger shops, both domestic and offshore were printing discharge for retail. At first, the higher-end boutique shops were requiring it but, as always, retail trickles downward and it was showing up at outlet stores and large volume discount destinations. We all began May 2013 4/15/13 9:15 AM

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