By Melissa Donovan
The future of fashion. That’s what Epson looks to influence at its Digital Couture event held during New York Fashion Week in New York City, NY this February. With the launch of the SureColor F-Series in 2013, one of the company’s goals was to introduce the capabilities of digital dye-sublimation (dye-sub) to the fashion world. Fast forward two years later and that dream has transformed into a full-fledge reality.
Catalina Frank, product manager, professional imaging, Epson, says showcasing the possibilities of the SureColor F-Series at Fashion Week was something she had in the back of her mind when the product line first launched. “While we realized that dye-sub is not necessarily a new technology, it is to the fashion industry. We wanted to show the fashion community how the technology can be used,” she shares.
After making inroads in the Latin American design community, the team at Epson gained ground working toward this vision. It joined with fabric manufacturers and local designers in areas like Brazil and Ecuador by showcasing the printers’ capabilities at fashion shows and events.
This led to leveraging existing contacts in Latin America to make inroads in NY. Last year, the company connected with a fashion agency with a history of working with designers who participate in Fashion Week. The relationship allowed Epson to introduce the SureColor F-Series technology to 11 designers who will showcase collections created with dye-sub printing at New York Fashion Week. Three of those designers are based in the U.S.—Leonor Silva, Maggie Barry, and ESOSA.
Frank and her team pitched the capabilities of digital dye-sub to the designers, focusing on the endless possibilities. “The idea was, now you can print anything with photographic quality, any patterns, and completed fairly quickly on polyesters and other synthetics,” she explains.
The result—the Digital Couture event held during New York Fashion Week.
At press time, the designers were finishing submitting their sketches and Epson was ramping up production. The company is teaming up with Pacific Coast Fabrics for fabric.
Digital Output was given a sneak peek at the U.S. designers’ plans for their collections and spoke with some of them directly regarding their background in fashion and introduction to digital dye-sub.
Silva is originally from Caracas, Venezuela and developed a love for fashion at an early age. She moved to Paris, France to pursue a Masters in Fashion Management and soon after was training at Chloe and Hugo Boss. Personal developments led her to NY, where she worked in the sales department of Carolina Herrera, selling the collection through wholesale accounts such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Saks. After her time in NY, Silva found herself in Spain and decided it was time to finally launch her own brand in 2014.
The fashion agency recommended Silva to Epson, thinking her design aesthetic would be a fit for the Digital Couture event. Epson provided the designers with a theme—the future of fashion—and asked each one to design based on that idea.
According to Silva, when first thinking of the future of fashion, futuristic trends, minimalist ideas, and edginess come to mind. She wanted to move away from that while simultaneously ensuring the collection represented her look and feel.
“To me, fashion is always inspired by the past. I like to keep classic shapes in my work, so I didn’t want to focus too much on reworking the actual shapes and cuts,” says Silva.
As such, Silva decided to play with textures. For example, a tartan print mimics wool—Silva pixilated the print to play with texture, providing an illusion. She created four looks for her Digital Couture collection.
Graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Maggie Barry creates custom pieces for celebrities, musicians, and entertainers. SHOPPE, her design house and store, is based in Los Angeles, CA and her designs are manufactured in the U.S.
Barry learned about Epson through a company representative, they had collaborated together during the filming of a movie. “It was brought to my attention how approachable the Epson product was. In many cases digital dye-sub eliminates time used for resourcing. It lets the designer not only create three dimensionally but fully takes advantage of the surface of two-dimensional possibilities,” shares Barry.
With the fashion of the future theme in mind, Barry’s collection—titled Urban Space Tribe—combines fashion and function. Using dye-sub, it incorporates three-dimensional prints inspired by science fiction. Barry says the line is clean and sleek, with customized prints enhancing this idea. Six total looks will be shown at the Digital Couture event, made up of around 20 separate pieces.
Emilio Sosa, Tony award-nominated costume designer and David De La Cruz, celebrity stylist, join to create a line for ESOSA. Sosa has worked on Broadway for Motown and Porgy and Bess. De La Cruz has worked on campaigns for Cole Haan, Clinique, L’Oreal, and Revlon, in addition to being involved in fashion magazines.
“We have always been a purveyor of fantasy, but for ESOSA, we aim for something that is even harder to deliver—clothes that women really want to wear. Blending classic American sportswear with an ear to the streets, the collection is ladylike with an urban edge,” share Sosa and De La Cruz.
Through a relationship with the same fashion agency that connected Epson with Silva, Sosa and De La Cruz were introduced to Epson. Together, the two friends created a collection for the Digital Couture event that is inspired by their mutual Dominican roots and NY upbringing. The designs are constructed using various stretch and non-stretch fabrics, including chiffon—which is a signature fabric for the duo.
Commenting on the digital dye-sub process, Sosa and De La Cruz explain, “unlike screenprinting, the speed in which we are able to turn textiles around is incredible. The ink colors are applied in a single plane rather than sequentially in layers. This allowed us to use the technology to explore new possibilities with imagery.”
Digital Output is on the scene at New York Fashion Week in February to report on the collections. The March issue will include a recap of the Digital Couture event. We look forward to sharing the designers’ collaborations and Epson’s vision for fashion.
Feb2015, Digital Output