By Melissa Donovan
Epson held its third annual Epson Digital Couture Project fashion show on February 7, 2017. As in previous years, the event occurred prior to Fashion Week in New York City, NY. 13 design teams from North and Latin America showcased fashions created with Epson digital textile printing solutions in response to the theme “textile stories.”
While Epson SureColor F-Series dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printers were primarily used, the Monna Lisa series of inkjet textile printers were demonstrated and integrated as well.
In June 2016, Epson acquired Italian textile printer manufacturer, Robustelli. The event served as the official introduction of the Robustelli-Epson brand to the international fashion community. High-quality textile samples from the two companies’ Monna Lisa print devices were on display.
Two students from Philadelphia University’s Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce showcased a collection of four looks. Textile engineer Mark Sunderland and textile designer Hiroshi Ujiie, professors at the university, have worked with Epson for several years, digitally printing advanced textiles and testing printing equipment. With this foundation in place, seniors Maria Balestino and Huyen Doan were chosen to craft designs for the Epson Digital Couture Project.
The students were selected by faculty to participate in October 2016. From there, a team met once a week for one to two hours until mid-December. Balestino and Doan, pursuing degrees in fashion design, collaborated with graduate surface imaging students to design the one-of-a-kind prints used to create the collection. Conversations during meetings focused on utilizing the strengths of digital technology.
“We originally were looking to create a Winter collection, which makes you think of muted, dull colors. But, we wanted to show the capabilities of the digital printer, so we changed the colors to vibrant blues and teals,” explains Balestino.
Once the designs were decided, sewing began during the students’ Winter break. Model fittings occurred at the end of January, leading up to the Epson Digital Couture Project event the first week of February.
Fabric for the four looks was printed on an Epson SureColor F9200 dye-sub transfer printer. The 64-inch device features Epson PrecisionCore TFP printheads with Epson UltraChrome DS ink. A high-density black creates rich, smooth colors, which translate seamlessly to the fabric.
According to Balestino, seeing the graphics come to life—from a design in Adobe Photoshop to the real textile—was exciting. The final product, more specifically the vibrancy of the colors, was awe inspiring. The student-led team used a variety of fabrics to create their looks, from chiffons to a heavy weight neoprene.
The experience opened up a new world of design for Balestino. Her second semester senior project involves crafting her own prints, choosing fabrics, and then printing with an Epson SureColor F6200. Besides her own work, she’s also encouraged fellow fashion design students to use digital print to enhance their collections. Several plan on working with the Epson SureColor F6200 to create designs.
In addition to the Philadelphia University students, other designers that participated in the Epson Digital Couture Project include Vanesa Krongold of Argentina; Daniel Barreira of Brazil; Sarah Stevenson of Canada; Daniela Hoehmann of Chile; Ricardo Pava of Colombia; Daniel Del Barco and Sonia Change of Costa Rica; Carlos de Moya of the Dominican Republic; Miguel Moyano, Alex Polo, and Maria Susana Rivadeneira Simball of Ecuador; Leonardo Mena of Mexico; and Susan Wagner of Peru. Additional U.S. designers were Lindsay Degen and Sarah Richards.
The goal of the Epson Digital Couture Project event is to showcase the capabilities of digital print. Specifically, it hopes to convey how the technology allows designers in the fashion industry to create unique patterns and be unlimited in their design aesthetic.
Apr2017, Digital Output