June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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54 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 T he ever-changing retail market has driven the apparel decorating industry to continuously change and evolve. Over the last decade, consumers have demanded retail- ers be socially and environmen- tally conscious of how products are manu- factured. Retailers have become keenly aware of outside pressures and, as a result, mandated their manufacturing partners to meet compliance requirements in order to maintain the business relationship. Initially, phthalates and heavy metals had to be removed from plastisols inks. The re- sult was a phthalate-free, non-toxic plasti- cizer that ended up as a substitution to the traditional plasticizers. The next wave of change was the PVC-free initiative. Major textile brands put the pressure on ink man- ufacturers to produce inks that were free of phthalates, heavy metals, and now polyvi- nyl chlorides. At the same time inks were evolving, so were the garments themselves. The days of 100 per- cent cotton garments controlling the marketplace were quickly dis- appearing. Performance wear was now becoming a standard part of the garment decorating landscape. As a result, the inks being used had to change as well. With the changing landscape, water-based inks were becoming the preferred method to meet these new require- ments. Textile decorators were be- ginning to offer several options to produce decorated apparel on a variety of substrates and fabric compositions. With all of these new factors and prod- ucts on the market, trying to figure out where to start can be an overwhelming un- dertaking, but knowing what the desired look and objective is can make the process much easier to navigate. Certain questions need to be asked and answered to make the best choice. Is the ultimate goal to produce an imprint with an extremely soft hand? Is it required to be PVC and phthalate-free? Is it important that the garment be considered environmentally-friendly? What is the fab- THE NEW AGE OF WATER-BASED INK B Y D A N I E L Z M U D A Daniel Zmuda has more than 20 years of printing and management experi- ence in the apparel screen printing industry. Zmuda was the owner of Castle Shirt Company. Starting in a 1,200 square foot trade shop, the com- pany quickly grew to three automat- ics, 20,000 square feet and 48 employees. Castle Shirt Co. was instrumental in creating standards for domestic and off-shore print facilities, making sure product could be printed at any fa- cility and match spec sample standards. The company won sev- eral SGIA Golden Image awards from 2007–2013. He is currently the product manager for textile inks at Nazdar Far left: Specialty inks, such as those that self-crack, help to cre- ate unique prints within the water- based cat- egory. (Imag- es courtesy Magna Co- lours Ltd.) Left: High solids sys- tems work well with per- formance fi- bers and pro- duce opaque prints.

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