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A Fashionable Affair: Epson’s Digital Couture Project

(February 2017) posted on Tue Feb 14, 2017

13 designers bring digital textile printing to life.

click an image below to view slideshow

Fashion lovers, press, and curious print service providers flooded the organically shaped IAC Building on the western edge of Manhattan last Tuesday evening for the third annual Epson Digital Couture fashion show. Attendees – including camera crews from E!, writers from Nylon and Forbes, and a few local celebrities – came to discover what digital textile printing could mean for the world of fashion.

The Main Event
To showcase the machines that make it all happen, Epson displayed its dye sublimation and direct-to-garment printers near the entrance to the event before visitors turned the corner and witnessed 13 platforms where models clad in digital print highlighted the work of North and Latin American designers. Printed garments included jackets, leggings, and dresses, but also boots, high heels, backpacks, menswear, and more.

The designers’ devotion to digital ran the gamut, as well; some, like Lindsay Degen, enjoy the way different processes play together in one design.

Models clad in Lindsay Degen's designs.

“I’m mixing printed denim with real denim, printed quilting with real quilting … The idea is to force the viewer to look more closely at the details and enjoy the textile’s construction in addition to the garment’s construction,” Degen says in a lookbook that was released prior to the event. The RISD and Central Saint Martins grad has had her work featured in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and was once named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30.”

Others, like Sarah Richards, have gone all-in with the technology. Richards’ work is exclusively digitally printed and has been for half a decade.

“I approach print design with a desire to push the possibilities of the medium and to create textiles that traditional methods are incapable of producing,” she says in the lookbook. Richards is also a graduate of RISD and is a native of New York.

Sarah Richard's digitally printed fashion.

Richards says about 90 percent of her work is dye sublimated; she works with a fabric agent to find textile producers abroad. “Everyone I know is using digital,” she added in an interview with Big Picture. But to date, it seems producing locally is simply too cost-prohibitive.