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Dedicated Follower of Fashion

(August 2012) posted on Tue Aug 21, 2012

If you print clothing, you probably look at fashion differently, more intensely than the average person.


By Gail Flower

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If you print clothing, you probably look at fashion differently, more intensely than the average person.
One of my favorite quotes attributed to Mark Twain involves individuality. He is reported to have said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
I’m not certain why it’s my favorite quote, except that perhaps I agree with it wholeheartedly. In a democracy, the vote of the majority works, yet the rights of the individual are guarded with zeal. When I read headlines like, “Shop windows smashed, fires reported as Anaheim protest turns violent,” then that’s one of the times when an individual’s rights have been overcome by mob violence and group-think. Neither mob action nor individual violence is allowed when the rights of others are violated.
Taking a few steps down from national news to the world of printing in particular, you must walk a fine line between creating what most people want and being edgy enough to draw attention to individualists in the world of fashion. In Ryan Moor’s article, “Performance Equals Profits,” he writes that the screen-printing industry has forever changed the way he looks at clothing. If you print clothing, you probably look at fashion differently, more intensely than the average person. Do you look at the inks, registration, special effects, and wonder how you could use the same process with a twist of your own?
After reading Moor’s article, I invite you to go through the activewear you own to see if it has specialized Nike swoops and logo decorations that identify the sponsor or the sport. I did. Even my golf clubs have covers to protect them when jostling about from car to cart, and these have printed identifications of which club is protected. For every walk or run for charity, there’s a photo, date, and logo printed on the front. Those that I really like are the ones with something a bit unusual.
Moor also points out that performance wear printing is one of the fastest growing markets in the global textile industry. The currently estimated figure for the global market is $6.4 billion, up 19.4% over the last four years. I suppose that comes as no surprise, given that cycling, hiking, running, skiing, tennis, aerobics, and snowboarding are all popular activities enjoyed by people all ages.
Syd Northup of Gans Ink and Supply Co., Inc. writes about adding dye-sub printing to the mix. Many textile printers shy away from sublimation printing because it seems too difficult to handle. However, the special effects that can be achieved by this process can really make a difference. His article talks about what’s involved from understanding the printers, the RIP software, the heat press, the inks and papers, color matching, and finally installation and staff training. I suggest that you take a step beyond reading the article and get in touch with Syd directly. Check out a dye-sublimation printer at SGIA in Las Vegas to see whether it might be useful in your shop. The more alternatives you offer to customers, the more they value your expertise.
I must admit, it’s difficult to keep up with fashion. My daughter used to say, “Why can’t you dress and act like every other mom? Why do you say what you think and wear what you like?” My answer then, when she was 11, is the same as it is now: “Because I’m my own person. Don’t I allow you to dress as you like and encourage you to say what you think?” That same child is now a psychologist and a mom to a toddler. I wonder if her daughter will be a dedicated follower of fashion, or if she will choose her own style of apparel. I’ll bet that she wears activewear with logos and individual prints. Ah, the revenge of the parent.
 


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