Epson hosted its fourth annual “Digital Couture” fashion event on Feb. 6 at Pier 17 in New York. The occasion began with a panel and concluded with an evening runway show that featured selections from 13 designers created by Epson’s direct-to-garment and digital dye-sublimation textile printing processes. The theme for the evening was “Cosmopolitan Couture With Impossible Colors: How Does Your Culture Dress-up?”
For its second annual panel, the discussion centered around innovations in textile and fashion technology. Moderated by Wall Street Journal Magazine vice president Anthony Cenname, the panel featured Aliza Licht, executive vice president of brand marketing and communications at Alice + Olivia; interior designer Ryan Korban; fashion critic and analyst Anna Fusoni and textile expert Mark Sunderland of Thomas Jefferson University. Topics included tips for young designers, leveraging social media and the importance of sustainability.
“Technology, for me, lives inside of a fiber. And really my message to all designers is that I don’t want [them] to go shopping for fabric,” Sunderland said. “I want them to be informed and know what’s inside the fabric.” Sunderland added, “Emerging designers should be making their own fabrics,” and noted that “fabric technology is really informing fashion right now, and will continue to do so.”
And Alice + Olivia is a strong advocate for digital printing process, as the brand’s textiles are all digitally designed, according to Licht. “It’s kind of remarkable what digital printing has done to the design process,” Licht said. And aside from digital printing, one of the largest technological developments that affects the fashion industry today is social media, according to Licht, who said the textiles sector has actually educated and enlightened consumers through that medium.
Licht remarked that Instagram, in particular, has changed consumers’ attention to fabric detail and that the brand employs the platform as its primary channel for communicating and connecting with shoppers. “Social media has really democratized the way designers can develop their collections,” she said.
Regarding sustainability in fashion, a movement that has grown significantly in consumer demand, Fusoni said, “[For] sustainability, if you’re going to save water and electricity, anything that doesn’t draw from what the earth needs is good, but it has to be sold that way, don’t you think? You have to sort of put out the gospel that all this printing is sustainable and explain what things are made of, and how everything is much more efficient when you do digital printing.”
After the panel session, Epson hosted its annual “Digital Couture” fashion show with Epson president and chief executive officer Keith Kratzberg, Seiko Epson Corp.’s Kenichi Yamamoto, Erickson Beamon designer Karen Erickson and interior designer Ryan Korban mingling with models, influencers such as socialite Emma Snowdon-Jones and actress Malgosia Garnys, among others.
Music was spun by special guest DJ’s Alice Longyu Gao and Yehuda Moskowitz.
The show featured the works of 13 selected designers from the Americas, who used Epson direct-to-garment and digital dye-sublimation printing technologies in their collections.
Former WWD editor Mayte Allende served as stylist and the designers included: Lua Luá (Michele Gevaerd) of Brazil; Hayley Elsaesser from Canada; Karyn Coo of Chile; Stephanie Ruiz from Ecuador; Eduardo Figueroa of Guatemala; Emilio Mata from Mexico; Ilse Jara of Paraguay; Ana María Guiulfo from Peru; Lina Cantillo of Colombia; Fernando Alberto of the U.S.; Thomas Jefferson University (Alexandra Pizzigoni & Patricia Franklin) of the U.S.; former “Project Runway All Stars” member Candice Cuoco of the U.S., and Threeasfour from the U.S.
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