What we witnessed this weekend at the ISS Long Beach 2014 was a transformation of the garment apparel industry on several levels. The first is technology. Where we previously saw a show with visitors looking primarily for embroidery and screen printing technology, there is a distinct and noticeable switch of more and more visitors searching for heat printing and direct to garment (DTG). The second transformation is in garment type. Where we previously saw people satisfied with cotton or poly/cotton t-shirts, there is now an overwhelming demand for performance wear. “Disruptive innovation” is the introduction of new technologies, products or services in an effort to promote change and gain an advantage over the competition. In this context, the word “disruptive” does not mean to interrupt or cause disorder, it means to replace. Disruptive changes can initially seem out of step to
some people, but they gain acceptance as they prove successful in their ability to create new market opportunities where none existed before.
What Does This Mean to You?
As we look at our marketplace, the dealer or store of the future is going to radically change. The move to heat printing and the coming of age of the DTG will alter how you will decorate garments in the future. Traditional embroidery and screen printing are not effective in printing the performance and technical fabrics currently taking the market by storm. The low temperatures and stretch required for printing on high-tech fabrics creates a need for low temperature applications, in both transfers and heat transfer materials (such as our CAD-CUT Premium Plus or soon to be released materials featuring our revolutionary STIX-2 adhesive). Secondly, technology such as the Epson DTG SureColor will change the way customers perceive decorations. Why have a two-color design on a sweatshirt or t-shirt when you can have a full color logo? The ability to print highly detailed, full color art on demand will open a new world of printing possibilities for your business. And while there will still be a place for embroidery and screen printing when it comes to personalizing garments, the most successful decorators will understand, incorporate and embrace the “disruptive innovations” that are changing the way we customize.