July '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 8 J U LY P R I N T W E A R || 53 photography and designs that are often impossible with screen print- ing. She continues, "Wide-format direct-to-textile, on the other hand, can print on virtually any type of fabric, including silk, cotton, linen, and poly-blends, and addresses a higher production and quality lev- el. It does require a pre- and post- (printing and washing) process, which varies based on the type of fabric and ink being used." As indicated by the term "wide format," these printers are also quite large to accommodate big rolls of material. Some D2 printers take up no more space than a portion of a countertop, but wide-format machines need the room necessary to provide uninterrupted flow to be successful. According to Tommy Martin, Mimaki, features of wide- format printer models that help keep such big projects manageable include an auto media feeder and a pulling roller to ensure stable and consistent fabric feeding, front and rear tension bars, and sticky belts to guide media. These tools help keep the wide-format printers perform- ing with accuracy while quickly producing large DTT creations–– and by large, these printers can ac- commodate materials more than 6- and 10- feet wide. So, how can apparel decorators benefit from wide-format print- ing? One example could be a shop with an athletic club contract at a local school. They can easily offer incredible backdrops for the drama club or other types of fabric-based signage for big games or events. What's more, Dees reports that there's a dramatic shift in the retail apparel market from mass producing for an entire season to smaller production runs that will only be in stores for as little as two weeks, commonly known as fast fashion. In this realm, wide- format DTT technology allows retailers to constantly stock fresh, modern designs to keep customers coming back, as well as paring down excess inventory. "Digitally printing textiles condenses the turnaround time for designers to have access to their fabric, and therefore produce their short- run designs quicker and more efficiently to better meet the new fast-fashion trend. This technology will allow high-end brands to produce a limited run of 10,000 silk dresses quickly to meet customer demand and in- dustry needs before moving on to the next order of 10,000 items." Jay Roberts, Roland, states that it's the ability to envision something really spe- cial and then make it happen that makes large-format printers so inherently valu- able to decorators. "They allow the user to create vibrant, detailed graphics and unique textural and dimensional effects on virtually any material or object. That By eliminating overstock and waste, wide-format DTT short-run designs create opportunities for retailers to keep their displays fresh and timely. (Photos courtesy Mimaki)

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