Awards & Engraving

2012 Sublimation Report

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Page 27 of 48

The large Schuster press is a different investment level than your traditional small press. cannot do is "take color away". Since there is no white ink, you cannot remove shirt color. The colors in the transfer need to be darker/stronger than that of the sub- strate. This is a far cry from "white only" substrate theory. ALL OVER PRINTING Perhaps the biggest trend in apparel for sublimation is the increased popularity of "all-over" printing. This trend is less ath- letic and more fashion driven. The "arro- gantly shabby" look of creases under the sleeves and along the shirt sides has been deemed acceptable by many of the trend creators in fashion. Many of these gar- ments are designed to maximize the color pallet. Its retail success is being driven by the "hand" or lack of touch to the inks themselves. Its permanence is also a big factor in the rise of this trend. The resurgence of premium denim in the marketplace has offered a neutral and traditional complement to the vibrant colors and rich textures that sublimation delivers on fashion tops (PIC of Frankie Baby shirt). This trend has hit major retailers and the resort market for the past two years. It is now a well-recognized style in most malls in the United States, and it is inspiring many small brands to seek sub- limation as a process from their suppliers. SUBLIMATION ON COTTON? Sublimation on cotton? That really depends on your definition. The increased demand for sublimation has caused an explosion in attempts to innovate. At recent trade show events, there were transfer-paper solutions that are being marketed as "sublimation on cotton". The product allows sublimation inks to be transferred onto a white transfer backer that adheres to any color cotton T-shirt. It All over prints are hitting the runway and high-end promotions. has the hand of a traditional transfer, not that of sublimation. The inks do not touch the fabric itself. Sublimation is known for a soft hand, permanence, and how it does not change the molecular structure of the fabric. If we are using these characteristics to measure "sublimation on cotton" then this product is dead on arrival. There are other innovations ready for 2012 that do grow the traditional subli- mated apparel market. A slew of new hats and other outdoor focused products have hit the market. You will see most of these on the floor at this year's upcoming trade shows. The desire to innovate and create new product space is constant. So is the need for a thorough review of what products you select for your shop and how you market them to your customers. Keeping sublimation in its true definition will only help you grow your business and the respect of your customers. SR Christopher Bernat is Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder of Vapor Apparel. He serves on the SGIA Board of Directors and speaks and writes on sublimation and custom- ization for several industry groups and periodicals. Use INFO # 628 27

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