First2Print digitally-printed, ready-to-wear swim apparel
By Mike Hanlon
September 30, 2005
October 1, 2005 First2Print, a leader in large-format fabric printing services, is collaborating with ESPI Fashion Design to transform original artwork into ready-to-wear swimwear with a sneak peek of the 2006/2007 fashion line at New York's currently running Material World show. Via a combination of three different polyester fabrics, dye-sublimation inks, digital textile printers, and a heat transfer process, First2Print is able to digitally print fabrics that can go straight to the sewing machine, sink, or pool -- for vibrant, non-fading finished goods. What makes this project distinctive is that the entire short-run, production-fabric printing process is digital -- from the digital photo of the artwork design to the printed fabric itself. Unlike screen printed fabrics, which take weeks to complete, or traditional rotary mills, which have a minimum yardage requirement and a long turnaround time, First2Print is able to deliver customized yardage in just days as it is doing for ESPI Fashion Design.
"We are taking original painted artwork and turning it into beautiful textile designs," said Armondo Barboza, chief executive designer for ESPI Fashion Design. "We looked at several choices for putting these swimsuits together, and First2Print with its digital setup and creative talent was just the best combination for us."
"The fabric that First2Print digitally prints for us is gorgeous, with deep colors. Every single swimsuit in our 2006/2007 fashion lineup is unique, and the fabric color will stay as vibrant after thousands of washes as the day it was printed," continued Barboza.
The polyester fabrics used for the swimwear line include a matte, stretch poly-swim; a drapy, no-stretch, white-metallic sheen charmeuse; and a white, stretch poly-lycra with a medium sheen. No two swim suits will be alike as the garment pieces are strategically placed on the non-repeated printed fabric before each pattern is cut.