Three questions with Debbie McKeegan
In our latest blog, we talk to the CEO of TexIntel, Debbie McKeegan, digital textile expert and the FESPA Textile Ambassador, about the latest trends in textile printing, the role that digital plays in them and why she believes Print Make Wear – of which she is an expert presenter – is the hot ticket at this year’s Global Print Expo.
What are the latest key developments you’ve noticed in textile printing?
I am seeing more wide format graphics producers looking to invest in digital textile printing capability. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since the 2018 FESPA Print Census revealed that 56% of textile print businesses have already invested in digital wide format technologies, while a further 19% plan to do so in the near future. Digital textile printing is being embraced particularly by print service providers (PSPs) that have traditionally specialised in signage, as the same digital innovations that have benefitted sign-makers are now also appealing to a growing number of textile printers.
To what extent is digital technology impacting textile printing?
Print-on-demand has certainly played a part in digital textile print’s growth. Customers are now able to take advantage of e-commerce platforms to print single items or small order quantities, effectively eliminating the need to place orders in bulk. On the other hand, the benefit of print-on-demand for PSPs is that it has a dramatic impact on stock management – the only stock they need to have is unprinted fabric. As a result, waste is significantly reduced, making it a far more sustainable way of working.
Yet the biggest trend affecting the textile industry is personalisation and custom manufacturing, and with garments accounting for most output, digital technology’s true potential lies in enabling more creativity with bespoke projects. Personalisation is no longer limited to the printed image on an item of clothing, as now customers are also able to choose a specific fabric, which adds a further layer of individuality to the final product. Custom manufacture allows companies to produce larger quantities of products, but with designs that can be tailored to produce a bespoke product for a specific customer or client.
However, we cannot overlook the data management capabilities of digital technology and the crucial influence that customer data has in shaping these tailored, just-in-time products. If used effectively, creativity and analytics can work together to predict what is going to sell, where and when, allowing the service provider to customise orders and produce a wide variety of items almost in real time.
What can this year’s FESPA visitors expect from Print Make Wear?
Following an extremely positive response to the feature at FESPA 2018, Print Make Wear is set to make an eye-catching return and will appeal particularly to visitors interested in exploring new opportunities in printed fashion and garment decoration. By doubling the floor space since last year’s edition, FESPA is better placed to provide a more immersive experience for its visitors and elevate the educational content further.
The interactive fast fashion factory feature will showcase an even wider range of garment printing technology solutions and consumables, as well as incorporating a staged area for presentations and debates and a catwalk for fashion shows. Visitors will be also able to take part in expert-guided tours, one focused on direct-to-garment production and another on roll-to-roll.
I have no doubt that Print Make Wear 2019 will make a lasting impression on visitors the same way it did in 2018, whatever their level of knowledge or investment in garment printing may be. I am sure they will leave with a deeper understanding of the opportunities to optimise their digital textile print production, improve sustainability and boost profitability.
For more information on Debbie and her work click here.
To register to attend FESPA Global Print Expo 2019, click here. Use code FESM920 for free entry.