Textiles Commentary & Analysis
While the retail and apparel industries are moving to more digital technologies and processes, many observers still believe we are in the infancy of the analog-to-digital transformation the industry will ultimately need to undergo. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke to a digital advocate to gain insight into the industry’s progress. Kelly Price, Director of Business Development for consulting firm ArcherGrey, made some interesting observations.
Techtextil North America was a success by any measure. The show, which moved from Chicago to Raleigh N.C., drew more than 3,000 textile and apparel professionals and included an impressive symposium program. Cary Sherburne provides a quick summary.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Roland DGA President Andrew Oransky about the company’s entry into the direct-to-garment (DTG) market as well as its overall go-to-market strategy and its future plans relative to direct-to-textile printing.
As the analog-to-digital transformation heats up for textiles, the opportunities for entrepreneurs heats up as well. Experience in transformations of other industries shows that not only do opportunities abound for entrepreneurs, but established businesses risk the most from non-traditional competition. We share some of their transformative stories in this article.
An announcement from WeaveUp, a technology company offering digital print room solutions and customization tools for fabric, about its partnership with JOANN Fabrics, the leading fabric and craft retailer in the U.S., caught our eye. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne connected with Flint Davis, the company’s President, to learn more.
Once a 3D skeptic, Jordache Executive Vice President Shaul Cohen is now a true believer. Initially adopting 3D technologies from Browzwear to solve issues with getting fits right, Cohen not only achieved better fits and a rapid ROI, but is looking to expand its use of 3D technologies to solve other issues as well.
ShareCloth has developed an integrated cloud-based solution that is designed to fill the gaps that exist in the apparel design and manufacturing ecosystem to facilitate profitable on-demand manufacturing of apparel, minimizing forced markdowns, overstocking, and waste. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with ShareCloth CEO Sergey Moliavko to learn more.
Browzwear began its life as a 3D solution dedicated to fashion. While the initial concept back in 1999 was to create a virtual dressing room, a concept that was ahead of its time, the company has pivoted to create a suite of 3D solutions for fashion that can have a positive impact on all phases of the supply chain. We spoke with Browzwear’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lena Lim, to learn more.
As brands look to take time and waste out of the apparel design and manufacturing process, there is a strong focus on automation. Much progress has been made—yet the sewing stage has provided challenges. Softwear Automation is tackling that challenge with SewBots—robotics designed to automate the sewing process. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Softwear Automation’s Chief Commercial Officer, Pete Santora, to learn more.
Do you use sunscreen when in the sun? Of course you do. But if you are working under the powerful lights used to artificially grow plants—say, legal cannabis—are you taking the same precautions? Because that light can be as dangerous—or even more dangerous—than sunlight. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Daniel Jordan, founder of RayWear Clothing Company, who has made it his personal mission to provide clothing that will protect cannabis workers from the harsh environments in which they work.
On a recent visit to Miami, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne stopped by to visit Carla Llull at House of Llull Atelier, an apparel design and manufacturing operation focused on delivering high quality swimwear. House of Llull is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
I was intrigued to read in a recent Axios newsletter that fashion designer jobs are expected to increase by +148%, according to Cognizant, a technology and business services company. I reached out to Ben Pring, who runs the company’s Center for the Future of Work, to learn more. And boy, did I learn more!
For the most part, commercial printers are locked out of the existing supply chain for digital textiles. This article explores the more accessible textile segments that commercial printers can participate in, including textile-based sign and display graphics and direct-to-garment.
I first got to know Kirby Best when he was running on-demand book printer Lightning Source. And I was interested to see him turn up as Chairman at OnPoint Manufacturing, an on-demand garment manufacturer. We connected for a wide-ranging discussion at the recent Gerber Technology Ideation event, including the newly announced FashionTech Platform 1.0 initiative.
Officially launched in September 2018, the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN) is another example of initiatives across the country that are working to revive the U.S. textile and apparel industry, both with innovations that improve efficiency and to reshore textile and apparel manufacturing. We spoke with RITIN steering committee chairman and CEO of textile company Trans-Tex Michael Woody to learn more.
EFI Reggiani held a gala launch event for its new EFI Reggiani BOLT single-pass digital textile printer at Reggiani’s Bergamo, Italy, headquarters. Attended by nearly 300 media, customers, and potential customers, the event generated a high level of excitement. With high-quality print speeds of up to 90 meters per minute, this press looks to be a game changer for high-volume digital textile printing.
Austin Community College in Texas has launched an innovative Fashion Incubator with the goal of creating a real-to-industry learning environment in partnership with the City of Austin, Gerber Technology, and others. This is a unique approach to bringing new talent into the industry and giving new fashion-oriented businesses a jump start.
The digital transformation in textiles and apparel is well underway. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne writes about the drivers for this transformation and how fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff is leveraging digital technologies in unique ways.
What were you thinking about at eight years old? Probably not the career that would be your life’s passion! That’s when Ariel Swedroe began her fashion career. At Age 11, she began exploring digitally printed fabrics. Today, at age 15, she has a full-fledged fashion business. But she’s not stopping there! You’ll love this story.
Designers in textiles and apparel typically use Adobe products to create their designs. But until now, there have not been textile-specific tools to make the task easier. To address this, Adobe has announced Project Paras, a set of tools that allow designers to stay within Photoshop CC and reduce the number of steps required to complete and preview a design. We spoke with Adobe to learn more.
Since launching its high-end Avalanche HD6 direct-to-garment printer and HD upgrade to most Avalanche systems with RAPID ink technology in the first quarter of this year, Kornit Digital has installed or upgraded a whopping 150 HD systems. Now the company has brought HD direct-to-garment technology to within reach of smaller businesses with the launch of the Storm HD6.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently traveled to Miami Beach to join more than 300 people at the Gerber Technology Ideation event, the company’s software users’ group. This educational and networking event is in its 20th year. The enthusiasm among the more than 240 customers and prospects in attendance reflects the efforts the company has made to listen to customers and stay ahead of the trends.
Microban recently released Scentry Revive, the second generation of a unique odor control fabric finish that was developed in response to brands seeking a more innovative approach to odor control. This approach could reduce the number of times a piece of clothing needs to be washed, its primary environmental benefit.
A great deal is being written about graphene, in textiles and other industries. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to Vorbeck Materials Corp. President & CEO Dr. John Lettow to learn more about what many are characterizing as a miracle material.
Ongoing research and forecast data from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends shows that the digital textile printing market continues to grow. As the industry develops new manufacturing methods to meet this continued growth in demand, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these developments. This analysis explores some recent innovations in digital textile printing and considers the effect that these innovations may have on the environment.
In this next in the series of articles about technical textiles, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Smithers Pira Associate Consultant for Nonwovens Phillip Mango to learn more about nonwovens—what are they, how is the market categorized, and what are some of their uses.
Consumer demand and technological innovations continue to drive growth within the apparel and home décor industries. This article outlines the key components of the digital textile printing industry and highlights how mass customization is fueling the adoption of various technologies.
In recent years, significant advances have been made in both aesthetic and functional fabric finishes. While some finishes are produced mechanically, the focus of this article, the latest in our series on technical textiles, is on chemical treatments or coatings that add functionality to fabrics for comfort or for specialized uses.
Consumer demand and technological innovations are driving growth in the apparel and home décor industries. This article explores some of the ongoing shifts that are occurring in the industry and considers how these shifts are affecting the digital textile market on a global basis.
This is the fourth installment of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne discusses geotextiles, an important but rarely discussed segment of technical textiles.
The mission of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is to enable a manufacturing-based revolution—what we could call Industry 5.0—with the transformation of traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into highly sophisticated integrated and networked devices and systems. In a recent conversation with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Spackey, explains.
As brick-and-mortar retail works to streamline costs by updating facilities with LED lighting, are they overlooking an important effect—how LED lighting will affect the way customers see the color of their products? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks into the pros and cons of LED lighting and how the retail industry is approaching this conversion.
This is the third in a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne visits with Fabdesigns, an innovator in knitted technical textiles. The company helped Nike bring the FlyKnit shoe to market and much more.
This is the second of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne shares the Glen Raven story, a 138-year-old company that has almost completely reinvented itself.
This is the first of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this first installment in the series, Sherburne defines technical textiles and provides examples of how they are purpose-built for specific applications.
Do we need another color system? Coloro thinks so. The company launched its color system last year, based on the 100-year-old Munsell system, and claims it to be the easiest to use and most logical system on the market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Coloro Managing Director Thorsten Traugott to learn more.
Do you have a cat or a dog? Or would you like to, if only you or someone in your household weren’t sensitive to allergens shed by cats and dogs? Devan Chemicals has an answer that may help. The company recently launched a technology to make textiles free from allergens shed by cats and dogs. Purissimo™ is a probiotic-based solution and is completely natural. We spoke to the company to learn more.
Digital textile printing is taking off, and solutions that increase flexibility while maintaining high quality standards will help speed this analog-to-digital transformation. We recently spoke with Ann Sawchak, co-founder of Expand Systems, about the company’s DuraVibe fabrics and the role they play in enabling more digital printing volume.
Web-to-print is well established in the world of commercial printing, and web-to-fabric is now gaining steam in textiles, as the demand for shorter runs and faster turn times for customized and personalized textiles and apparel grows. We recently spoke with DPInnovations about its web2fabric workflow solution which has been installed in more than 20 customer locations.
Pantone has been providing color standards for the fashion, home, and interiors marketplace since 1987. Cotton standards were introduced in the mid-1990s. Since then, Pantone has developed additional textile color standards, including today’s announcement of 203 new colors for polyester. We spoke with Laurie Pressman, Vice President at Pantone Color Institute, to learn more.
MWW On Demand has leveraged automation and technology to gain its position as the single largest weaving and on-demand printing company for textile-based products in the U.S. The company employs digital printing technologies for heat transfer sublimation, direct-to-garment, and direct-to-textile, and is one of the few—or perhaps the only—company that maintained a large fleet of looms when others began sending weaving offshore. The result is a vertically integrated, environmentally sustainable, on demand manufacturing operation that is a model for the future of textiles.
What if you could cost-effectively color thread on demand? You know exactly how much of each color you need and in what order. You produce what you need, and you can do even very complex embroidery designs using a single head. That’s a dream that’s rapidly becoming a reality. Coloreel is another example of thread on demand in action. We spoke to CEO Mattias Nordin to take a deeper look.
For 50 years, Gerber Technology has been providing solutions for the fashion and apparel industry, from planning through sourcing and production. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Karsten Newbury, Senior Vice President and General Manager, and Mary McFadden, Executive Director, CAD Product Management, to learn about the company’s latest offerings and how they help the industry in the analog-to-digital transformation.
Pablos Holman is a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is Bombsheller, an online source for leggings manufactured on demand. Customers can select from more than a thousand designs, or upload their own, and each pair of leggings, which are available in 10 sizes, is digitally printed, cut, and sewn, with shipment in 24 hours in most cases.
WhatTheyThink attended TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta, and one of the key messages that came out of the show was the fact that apparel microfactories are a reality. This brings many advantages to the apparel industry, especially in North America and Europe where there is a move to re-shore some part of apparel manufacturing.
For a dozen years, Forrest Leighton held marketing roles at Canon USA, and then spent four years with Marcomm Central. Today, he is Vice President of Marketing at MakerBot, a Stratasys company and a global leader in desktop 3D printing solutions. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with him recently to learn more about MakerBot and how 3D printing might be a relevant opportunity for commercial, sign & display graphics, packaging and textile printers.
Changing market dynamics, including the increasing proliferation of digital printing technologies for textiles and apparel, are boosting reshoring efforts in many countries. UK-based Standfast & Barracks has worked closely with digital textile printer manufacturer Durst to help accelerate this trend using its Durst Alpha Series digital textile printers. Read more.
Tel Aviv-based fashion designer Danit Peleg creates custom garments and accessories using desktop 3D printers. Today, Peleg is also in the process of creating and uploading to her site designs that can be downloaded and printed. Read on for more on her unique projects.
Fashion designer Michal Ratzman turned to digital textile printing to find a way to make her dress design business more attractive to buyers and more profitable for her. By switching to the sell-then-manufacture model from manufacture-then-hope-to-sell, she is able to provide more customized apparel solutions while eliminating returns, inventory and waste for her on-demand dress manufacturing business, byme.
In preparation for attending TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta in May, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne connected with Will Duncan, Executive Director of SEAMS, a trade organization dedicated to empowering the Made in America movement by supercharging the U.S. supply chain from concept to customer. Learn more about SEAMS and the benefits of joining the effort.
Can apparel be completely manufactured in an automated environment? Not yet. But it’s coming soon and will revolutionize apparel manufacturing. Learn how NextWave, and its partners EFI, Klieverik, Zund, and Henderson are creating an on demand microfactory, which will be on display at TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta in May.
Following its announcement of its formation as a joint venture between BOBST and Radex last July, Mouvent is now bringing its innovative textile printers to market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Ghislain Segard, Marketing & Sales Manager for Textile Machines at Mouvent, to get more details about the current product and Mouvent’s strategies for the future. Read more.
Retailers are seeing an unprecedented volume of returns, according to a recent eMarketer Retail story, and they are struggling with how to deal with this while still keeping margins at an acceptable level. Many are burdened with legacy supply chain issues that digital technology could mitigate. This post is a recap of some of the innovative approaches to digital textile and apparel manufacturing that are poised to revolutionize the world of textiles and apparel.
Are you going to FESPA 2018 in Berlin? If so, there’s a special treat in store that you will not want to miss. In this article, show organizer Duncan MacOwan explains FESPA’s Print. Make. Wear. exhibit that showcases how digital technologies are transforming textiles and apparel while also demonstrating the ongoing value that analog production processes still add to the mix. Read more.
Durham, N.C.’s Spoonflower allows users in its community of more than 3.5 million individuals to design and digitally print their own custom fabrics for curtains, quilts, clothes, bags, furniture, dolls, pillows, framed artwork, costumes, banners, and much, much more. Read on to see how Spoonflower is continuing to transform the digital textile printing market.
Epson’s 2018 Digital Couture Project leading up to New York’s Fashion Week caught my attention, and I reached out to the Mark Radogna, Strategic Marketing for Epson America, to learn more about how Epson is approaching the digital textiles market and where the company sees it going in the future.
As a garment decorator or textile printer, have you ever bemoaned the fact that you have to pretreat natural fiber fabrics in order to use heat-transfer sublimation for a brilliant, durable image on natural fiber textiles? Moan no more! The Mosaica Group is introducing a breakthrough product from a European mill that makes heat transfer news. Read more.
It’s been 20 years since Mimaki began its digital textile printing journey, one of the first, if not the first, to do so. We spoke with Ronald Van Den Broek, General Manager of Sales for Mimaki Europe, to gain insight into how the company addresses the growing digital textile market today and it is vision of the future.
OnPoint Manufacturing offers an innovative approach to an on-demand manufacturing model for textiles and apparel. Leveraging digital technologies to streamline supply chains, remove waste and speed time to market is the hallmark of the analog-to-digital transformation of any industry. OnPoint combines a number of interesting technologies to enable this in textiles and apparel for its own manufacturing, and a vision of the future for the industry.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reports from the inaugural ThreadX, powered by SGIA, a unique conference held last week to serve the needs of garment decorators.
As the analog-to-digital transformation in textile printing starts taking off, hybrid solutions are emerging that fill the gap between screen and digital printing. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne discusses this gap issue, includes insight from a California-based screen printer, and highlights an interesting hybrid solution in the form of M&R’s Digital Squeegee. Read more.
Since the launch of our dedicated textiles section in January, we have been talking to the major suppliers to the industry about their offerings in this exploding space. Recently, we spoke with Mike Horsten, Business Manager for Large Format Professional EMEA at HP. He shares his thoughts on the digital textile market and HP’s future plans in that segment.
A Furious Goose can be frightening and entertaining at the same time. It was this idea that led to the unique naming of this British provider of high-quality silk scarves and pocket squares. The company works with Think Posi+ive Prints UK (Think Positive) in producing stunning accessories. Read more.
There’s a lot happening in the world of digital textile printing, an exciting and vibrant market. It seems like every day we come across new products, services and applications that digital technology enables—either to streamline existing traditional methods or to enable entirely new capabilities. Israeli company Twine Solutions is bringing digital printing technology to the most basic commodity in the industry, the thread. Read more to learn how this technology can benefit your business.
Unmade, a UK-based company dedicated to providing solutions and tools to enable widespread adoption of on-demand personalization and customization of apparel and other soft goods, started by developing software to enable custom knitted items, but is now expanding into direct-to-textile printing and more. Read the full story.
Have you ever shopped at Zazzle? The company personalizes just about anything and has both paper and textile offerings. In past Zazzle stories, we have focused primarily on the paper side. But the company was actually founded with textiles. Read more to find out what Zazzle textile offerings - and its view of the market - looks like today.
Amazon’s patenting of an on-demand clothing manufacturing warehouse points to a future of on-demand mass customization of fashion.
Fed By Threads Makes Socially Responsible, Environmentally Sustainable Apparel, “From Dirt to Shirt” ()
Want a vision of the future of the world of digital textiles? Skya Nelson of Fed By Threads has a unique perspective on the market, and is already implementing much of it with the company’s “dirt to shirt” approach to socially responsible, environmentally sustainable apparel.
There has been a lot of hype over the last few years about 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, being the next big thing in the print-related world. We recently learned that EFI hired Gal Barak as its Inkjet Eastern Region Sales Manager. Barak most recently worked for 3D printing company Stratasys. Why did he make this move and what are his thoughts on 2D versus 3D? Read more.
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