How Digital Printing Technology Is Taking Us Closer To Customizable Clothes

Have you ever come across Vincent Van Gogh painting printed on someone’s T-shirt? Or have you seen that one Star Wars quote; written in bold, cursive letters as the front page of a notebook? Or that poster of someone’s favorite Harry Potter character, standing with their wand in hand and audaciously staring back at you from a dainty piece of fabric, as if challenging you to a duel?

Have you ever stood at a shop, holding that shirt you like in your absolute favourite print, but a not-so-flattering of a color, and found yourself wishing that you could custom-make it in the color you want and like? Well, lucky for you, you were born in just the right century because access to customisable clothes has never been easier!

Welcome to the world of digital printing, a printing technique that has taken the textile market by the storm! It is fast, innovative, creative, diverse and most of all –you have all the power!

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But what exactly IS Digital Printing?

Digital printing is where arts and craft meet computers and together they blur the increasingly blotchy line between creativity and technology. Starting in the year 1991, digital printing has replaced the traditional methods of textile designing owing to the fact that it is much more efficient and swift.

Perhaps the only downside is that it can get a little pricey- as all relatively newer technology have the tendency to do so. But it makes up for its relatively higher price minimising on the labour and product costs.

Practically everyone reading this has worked with an inkjet printer- a moderately new technology with multiple applications, and widely-used function of it being on paper. Most of you own a home-printer, and find yourself printing out schedules, or coloring books, or calendars that you custom made for yourself online.

With minor tweaks, your average desktop printer design has managed to enter the textile industry as well. So just like you design and print out things you customise on paper, you can do the same for what you wear as well. Sounds pretty neat, doesn’t it?

In a nutshell, that is what digital printing technology is.

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Alright, but why does it even matter?

We only have three words for you: Personalisation, individuality, and customization.

If you own a clothing business, it’s best to invest in a digital printer for customization of clothes for the following obvious reasons:

  1. Personalisation pushes customer engagement. It matters to your customers, who are most probably a generation of individuals that value communication, dialogue, expression, and emotions. They want to connect with you, and develop a mutual understanding, as opposed to just putting on ideas made by absolute strangers.
  2. Customers want autonomy. Every accessory that they wear must reflect their own personal feelings. They can make up their own minds and fashion their own statements, and they definitely do not want to be told what to do or what to put on. Your customers want autonomy, something different and unique, and something that stands out…so sell it to them!
  3. Maximum Customer Satisfaction. Where there is this much customer engagement, there is maximum customer satisfaction as well. One concern in the fashion industry is that designers are out of touch with the group that they are marketing to. But digital technology offers to businesses a whole lot of customer engagement.

Your customers are getting to know you, telling you about who they are and what they want to see and wear. There is no disconnect between the designers and their clients anymore, and that guarantees absolute customer satisfaction, and eventual furthering of the business itself.

  1. Small Businesses: Digital printing technology has been excellent for people who want to start-up small businesses. They make one time investments in the printers, set up online gateways and print out any design that the customer puts up for them online.

Most of these businesses also offer home-delivery services as well. There are a number of these businesses set up almost everywhere because they just require a small space and a few people to take in and deliver the orders, and they have been increasingly advancing in numbers because of the high demands and customer satisfaction.

As the buyer, personalized clothes add a whole new depth to ‘making a statement’.

  1. You have the power! If you had fun printing out your favorite poem customized to your taste, from the font style down to the color and the background and then squeezing it into the corner of the mirror –well, you are going to love the endless possibilities of printing on fabric.
  2. No more waiting around for other people to come out with a design of your choice! With the possibility of being able to print out your favorite quote or pattern or design or color onto fabric, you can take personalization to a whole new level. Tell the world all about who you really are, what kind of things you like, what you stand for, without even saying a singular word. Wear your emotions on your sleeves- literally!
  3. Be unique! For those of you who are not quite fond of when you show up at an event and someone is wearing the same clothes as you, because you want to stand out, not blend in –well, no more of that with customizable clothes, catering to your taste alone! Be unique and stand out in a crowd!

Okay, let’s dial down the technical mumbo-jumbo a little.

Now that we have established what digital printing is and why customizable clothes matter, let’s talk about how they have both come together and brought us a better, more refined fashion experience.

Most of the creative autonomy that we have been gaining over the kinds of designs, prints, and patterns that we wear have been owing to the printing technology that is currently available to us. So let’s start by narrowing down all the technical mumbo-jumbo, shall we?

1. With Digital Printing Comes Digital Design, and with Digital Design Comes Flexibility and Variety:

The digital medium is flexible, time-efficient and most of all, it is customizable. Designs on the digital platform can be sent all over the world, turning the previously-limited market into a global one, where everyone has access to all sorts of everything no matter what part of the world they are from.

What this essentially means is that, hey, the next time you are browsing through Pinterest and you see a kente cloth print that you like, just take a picture! You can absolutely run it through some digital mediums and have it recreated for yourself in no time!

The results will be high-quality, detail-oriented and, most of all, they will be fast.

2. All you need to do to make a fashion Statement is your Smartphone!

You absolutely do not have to be a top-notch artist or a designer to customize what you wear- everything that you need is in the palm of your hands. Download your favorite floral print off of Pinterest, mark that one picture of your cat that you absolutely adore, and run it through your digital printer over whatever color, kind and style of fabric you want. That is it! A side note here; make sure the image you select is at least 150 – 300 dpi in order for it to appear reasonable crisp and clear.

Of course, the fast-paced ease of accessibility to any design means a need for just as fast printing tools, which is what we were going to come to next.

3. Digital Printing is Swift

Yes, digital textile printing is fast but what does that have to do with customizable clothes? Well, everything. One of the major concerns in the fashion industry is that designers are constantly spending months into creating and producing prints that people frankly get bored of – the end result being that the clothes just remain on their shelves for the whole season.

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What digital printing offers is a quick-paced alternative that is guaranteed to satisfy the customer, because, well, the people that the products are geared towards are giving their inputs. With greater customer engagement, comes greater satisfaction.

And that’s not it! You just do not have to wait for designers to launch, put up a show, put things in their stores –shake things up a bit; with digital printing you definitely have the power.

All of this sounds nice but I don’t own a digital printer.

If you are an individual looking for just a couple of clothes to be customized, it does not matter that you do not own a digital printer, just like it does not matter if you do not own a paper printer.

Just Google for create-it-yourself or customizable printing services in your city –people have started small businesses by investing in digital printers and, at a small cost, you can get made whatever design you want to be made. They are very easy to access, so you’re good to go!

And if you are a textile business and you do not own a digital printer, well, what are you waiting for?