By Olivia Cahoon
Textile printing is used for a range of applications across industries from fashion and film to home furnishing and trade shows. Quick turnarounds, reasonable prices, and small minimums entice customers to seek textiles for one offs, prototypes, and apparel samples.
Fashion by MY Prints
Established in 2011, MY Prints specializes in dye-sublimation (dye-sub) textile printing for apparel, costuming, fine arts, film, home furnishing, trade shows, television, and the accessory industry in Los Angeles, CA. With two employees, the shop began in a 1,500 square foot office with its primary focus on textile printing. Today, MY Prints employs a staff of six and serves customers domestically and internationally.
Core applications include apparel samples, one offs, and prototyping for fashion, film, and TV. The shop prints costumes and set designs for theatrical productions, home furnishings and accessories for interior décor, large signage for trade show graphics, and illuminated graphics for light box frames.
The company’s main business is in apparel and fashion. “We support our apparel customers by producing digitally printed sample yardage to showcase upcoming print collections,” says Carol Yeager, owner/creative director, MY Prints.
Printed textiles are cut and sewn into showroom samples and viewed by retail buyers. “We have also produced short final production runs for clients looking to do quick turnaround domestic printing,” adds Yeager.
MY Prints supports film and television by offering services like art development, prototyping, and printed yardage. “We have had the pleasure of printing wardrobes for feature films, television series, and major amusement park costumes,” explains Yeager.
“Every application printed by us whether an apparel sample, wardrobe for a movie or television show, or a large trade show sign must be executed with the highest level of attention and quality. The media we prefer to use varies based on the project and our customer’s needs but at the end of the day, we go for quality and high output over cutting corners using cheaper substrates,” says Yeager.
One media vendor it does work with regularly is Pacific Coast Fabrics. For printers, MY Prints uses an Epson SureColor F9200 and Mutoh America, Inc. ValueJet 1638WX and ValueJet 1938TX. According to Yeager, these brands are reasonable in price point, reliable in output, and user friendly.
Yeager and her partner Steven Moreno celebrate over ten years of textile printing experience prior to owning and operating the shop. Yeager believes there are many advantages to digital dye-sub printing compared to traditional printing methods including smaller minimums and short-run capabilities, quick turnaround, increased design capabilities and print quality, designer customization, catching speed to market trends, and a print-what-you-need philosophy for inventory management.
“Smaller minimums and shorter runs allow our customers to commit to less yardage, aiding in their bottom dollar,” she explains.
Digital print also enables faster turnarounds to save time. Before digital, design samples could take months to import. New designs are now created, printed, and tested in the market in a fraction of the time compared to traditional analog methods that took three to six months from concept to production.
“Digitally printed samples aid in our customers’ ability to test out more concepts and designs with less financial commitments. This is compared to analog methods that entail cutting and storing expensive screens that may or may not make it to production,” says Yeager.
The demand for rapid customization and specialization also drives digital textile printing. Yeager believes every customer can be a designer and have the freedom to create unique and specialized products that define brands and help to stand out from competition.
She also believes printing a photo-real image onto textiles is as easy as printing a basic monotone dot. “There is also a wider color gamut than the traditional methods that had color restrictions due to screen and design repeat size limitations.”
Manufacturers and retailers benefit from inventory cost control by producing only what they need. “Short runs will be the method of inventory control and with the added benefit of being able to react better to current trends with speed to market orders,” suggests Yeager.
Walking the Runway
Third generation fashion designer, Fernando Alberto, recently approached MY Prints after being referred to the print shop by Epson. Alberto sought to incorporate prints into his Fernando Alberto Atelier New York Fashion Week show for 2017.
To complete this job, the shop used the Epson SureColor F9200 printer, Epson inks, and Epson transfer paper for samples.
After Alberto provided the artwork and fabric, the collection was designed, printed, and sewn in less than two weeks. “Samples can be printed within days of conception and a collection can come to life in the fraction of the time it used to take with old methods like pigment or wet printing,” advises Yeager.
The only challenge the shop faced during the job was finding the best synthetic poly fabric substrate that mimicked high-end silk. “Our client’s collection falls under the couture/atelier category, so it was important to find fabrics that were luxurious and showcased his atelier designs,” she explains.
12 pieces were printed, cut, and sewn for the runway collection. The finished application included synthetic poly chiffon and poly charmeuse, which according to Yeager, resembles silk. “Synthetic poly fabrics have come a long way over the years but there is still a high demand for further developments in poly fabrics that mimic silk and other natural fibers more closely,” she adds.
The completed printed collection was showcased domestically and internationally in NY and Los Angeles, CA fashion week runway shows and in Mexico City. According to Yeager, “Alberto was very happy with our services and approached us to help him print additional prints for his upcoming resort 2017 collection.”
Continued advancements in digital technology push digital platforms into all areas of the commercial market, including textile printing. Companies like MY Prints offer textile printing to provide multiple industries with increased design capabilities, designer customization, quick turnarounds, and smaller minimums.
According to Yeager, digital print will continue to take shares from traditional analog printing as it continues to resolve problems that traditional printing methods cannot. “With the emergence of large, high-speed single-pass printers dominating the market, customers can take advantage of digital printing at a production level with the assurance that there will be high output and efficiency,” she concludes.
July2017, Digital Output