July '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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52 || P R I N T W E A R J U LY 2 0 1 8 W ith the ability to knock out short-run project designs by the loading of a roll and the flip of a switch, wide-format di- rect-to-textile and dye sublimation print- ing is making big waves in the decorated apparel world and beyond. Wide-format creations range in outputs from trade show banners and instrument cases down to the canvas of a tiny toddler's shoe, all while beautifully printed out in large swaths of substrates that will later be cut and sewn into the awaiting end prod- uct, which is why decorators are looking to diversify with this larger-scale equipment. WHAT'S WITH ALL OF THE ACRONYMS? Digital is among the most popular choices for decorators today. However, the wide- format options are slightly different than what most decorators have in their shops. "Direct-to- garment (DTG or D2) is, like the name suggests, printing directly onto a pre-sewn piece of cloth- ing, while direct-to-textile (DTT) is printing directly onto a substrate or fabric to be cut and used for fashion and apparel––but can also be used for home décor, soft signage, and more," explains David Conrad, Mutoh. "The wide-format DTT printing for cut-and-sew purposes is great for jersey wear or sports attire, as be- ing able to print different patterns or colors in bulk and then send them off to cut and ultimately sew together for a final piece is what this is all about." Rolls of materials are fed into printers incrementally, making easy work of big ticket items, such as flags, bill- boards, and murals. According to Epson's Monika Dees, while D2 is geared towards small-quantity, high- customization runs, and is compatible with cotton or cotton-heavy blended textiles, printing textiles via DTT is ideal for haute couture, as well as fast fashion, athletic wear, accessories (such as scarves, ties, shoes, and handbags), and home fabrics. The digital printing technique produces fabric quicker than traditional screen printing while hav- ing the ability to produce a wider color gamut, sharp lines, no bleeding, and print LIVING LARGE B Y J E N N I F E R E L G I N Expanding Horizons (and Sales) with Wide-Format Technology Jennifer Elgin is a freelance writer and broadcaster, covering fashion and sports beats for various media outlets. She at- tended the School of Journalism at the Uni- versity of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in broad- cast journalism. She loves fashion, fishing, the color red, traveling, and sports. She currently resides in Denver. The speed, easy material handling, and simple opera- tion of wide-format DTT print- ers all equal a smart choice for anyone looking to create custom apparel, soft signage, or home décor patterns. (Photos courtesy Mutoh)

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