International designers, Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke, talk to FESPA ahead of their session at the DTC, exploring digital print technology.
As interest in digital textile printing continues to grow, so does the usage of such materials in global and profitable industries such as the fashion market.
While the digital textile printing market features a whole range of sectors, one core area that stands out amongst others is fashion. In the modern, fast-paced world, retailers and end-users are demanding faster turnarounds on all types of printed work, including fashion-related products such as ever-popular printed t-shirts.
And with growth in this market showing no signs of slowing down, the amount of printers that have expanded into this sector has hiked during the past few years, with companies keen to take advantage of the plentiful supply of work on offer.
This trend is one of many that will be discussed at the 2016 FESPA Digital Textile Conference, which takes place at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam on March 8. With a host of specialist speakers lined up for the event, those in attendance can be assured that their digital textile printing needs – be it fashion-related or otherwise – will be catered for.
Textile print renaissance
While the event will feature various presentations about a number of different areas from this market, one session that will prove of particular interest to those visitors involved in the fashion industry is the question and answer feature with Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke from London-based fashion label Basso & Brooke, as well as new print design consultancy company, The Artwork Club.
In a Q&A session entitled ‘The Evolution of DTP for Fashion’, the two will look at some of the latest developments in digital textile print and consider how these could impact the fashion sector moving forward. The duo will also open up the floor to questions from visitors, allowing those in attendance to gain even more useful information that could help them enhance their own business.
Speaking to FESPA ahead of the event, Basso and Brooke state that they believe the printed textile industry has undergone something of a “renaissance” during the past few years, with the fashion sector of the market in particular proving highly active.
“For the last few years, the printed textiles industry has been experiencing its renaissance, a major long-term trend which can be clearly seen through specialist press, catwalks and stores,” Basso and Brooke said. “It is the biggest print revival since the silk-screen fuelled 1980s.
“From a designer’s, point-of-view, the straightforward technological process from software-aided pattern development to the actual printed material has also facilitated immensely the possibilities for advancement of the textile industry.
“When we started our label, digital print was still very niche and was somewhat difficult to deal with suppliers. This has all now changed; the general quality, particularly the resolution and colour accuracy of the final printed material, is far superior. Even more challenging organic materials such as leather, which was once very complicated to get effective results with, are much easier to print with excellent results nowadays, the possibilities are vast.
“It is one of our goals as designers to push the industry, and to expand the potential and possibilities of the medium you are dealing with, in this case textiles.”
Basso and Brooke lead on from this to highlight opportunities within the fashion sector, explaining that evolving printing technologies have allowed those in this market to grow.
“What was once a niche and very specific aesthetic and expensive product, it is now standard in the industry, and digital print is now very visible in mass market channels such as on the general high street,” Basso and Brooke said. “The big surprise of the last few years is that printed menswear is becoming as relevant and important as ubiquitous womanswear.
“Also, digital print has become a powerful tool to young designers and labels, due to its speed of production, simplicity of customisation / personalisation and offering short run production. It gives the ability to strongly express their vision and establish a connection with new customers in a much faster, effective and memorable way than labels have been able to in the past.”
Despite this recent success, Basso and Brooke say that this growth is not a trend, and that fashion print is an established sector of the overall fashion market, with production having taken place for thousands of years.
“Fashion print is not a market trend, it is a key area of the fashion market and always will be,” Basso and Brooke said. “Historically, the desire to use decorative garments is an intrinsic part of our culture and has been explored as far as 3000 B.C by the Sumerians.
“In many ancient cultures, the decorative clothing worn was indicative of the social status achieved by various members of their society and it still is. Clothing and textiles in different periods and ages has clearly reflected the development of civilisation and technologies in different periods of time at different places, and all the current advancements of digital print fit perfectly and reflects the zeitgeist of our natural evolution.”
Prepare to adapt
Although many companies have already established themselves in this sector of the market, Basso and Brooke state there is still room for expansion, and have several words of advice for those contemplating a move into fashion print.
“Be ready to encompass and to respond to new markets and customer needs, as well as be able to cope easily with short-runs and personalisation.” they advise.
“Offer up-to-date facilities, strive for excellence in quality, along with fast deliveries and, most importantly, have a friendly and prompt interaction with your customer. Building a strong relationship with your customers is key to sustaining your business and potentially securing its loyalty and consequently growth.
“Also, there is an increasing interest from companies and customers, especially in Europe regarding fair working conditions and environmental responsibility, so for long-term goals, we envision the introduction of less harmful chemicals, biodegradable and recyclable materials, as well as a more efficient water and electricity usage will become a very important factor in the future.”
Christopher Brooke and Bruno Basso will be speaking at the Digital Textile Conference, taking place at FESPA Digital 2016, on Tuesday 8 March, about the DTP industry and how they are bringing this process to the Fashion world.
To view more information about these presentations and to register to attend, visit: dtc.fespa.com.
FREE entry to the exhibition via code ATOZ0104 automatically includes entry to FESPA Digital 2016, FESPA Textile, European Sign Expo and Printeriors.