Fashion designers use the same inkjet printing technology you use at home to create new designs for woolen fabrics.
All with the support of Australian wool producers via Australian Wool Innovation.
Digital fabric printing applies colored dyes to a specially prepared fabric surface much faster and cheaper than traditional printing methods.
More and more designers are embracing technology.
For example, winner of the Karl Lagerfeld Prize for Innovation at last year’s International Woolmark Prize 2020, BODE from the United States, used digital printing in her winning designs.
BODE used the support of pioneering digital printing company Think Positive, a business partner of the International Woolmark Prize.
Think Positive is an internationally recognized innovator in digital direct-to-fabric printing, with incredible expertise in printing on wool as a leading luxury fiber.
The company was established in Sydney 37 years ago and now has a London studio and printing facilities in a refurbished factory in the historic textile town of Macclesfield in Cheshire.
âDigital textile printing is the biggest breakthrough in fabric decorating technology in the past 8,000 years,â said Emilie Cacace, Director of Business Development at Think Positive.
âOur fabric printers are like larger, more sophisticated versions of desktop inkjet printers, but instead of printing on paper, they can ‘print’ directly onto specially prepared rolls of fabric.
“We can print on a wide range of wool fabrics: woven and knitted in varying weights, wool blends like wool denim and even wool pile and wool fur thanks to AWI helping us to experiment. and to work with new and innovative qualities. The results are truly thrilling. “
Think Positive has digitally printed on wool for world famous brands, such as Vivienne Westwood, and continues to receive inquiries and regular interest in printing on wool. The company had its fabrics included in AWI’s sourcing guide, The Wool Lab.
âThink Positive is an example of how important it is for AWI to collaborate with industry,â said Julie Davies, AWI Managing Director for Innovation in Treatment and Expansion of Education.
âDigital printing offers great flexibility within the industry with multiple advantages such as fabric sampling options, lower minimums, shorter delivery times, endless design and color options and, above all, amazing technical capabilities for increased print quality resulting in dynamic products. “
Here are the steps used for digital printing:
Fabric Preparation – The ink used is a modern water soluble textile dye. To prevent dyes from leaking out and causing a fuzzy stain, the fabric is first coated with a mixture of seaweed thickener, urea, salt, and citric acid (lemon juice).
Printing – Tiny drops of dye, finer than a hair, are sprinkled onto the fabric from eight different colored heads as the carriage passes over the fabric. Eight basic colors that mix together can produce over a billion color combinations.
Heat Adjustment – At first the dye sits on top of the fabric, which is then passed over a hotplate to make it feel dry to the touch.
Steam – The steam from the fabric opens up the fibers and creates a waterway in and around the fibers so that the dyes can travel from the surface of the fabric into the fibers, forming bonds and giving the fabric color, image and texture. permanent design.
Rinse the coating – The coating solution is washed and removed.
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