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Epson sponsors fashion students to promote sustainable fashion

Print Solutions

In a bid to educate the fashion industry about on-demand dye sublimation printing as a means of reducing the industry’s high carbon footprint, Epson is supporting two students from the University of Westminster who are using dye sublimation printing in their designs with bursary funds. The company is also providing the university with a new 24” dye sublimation printer, a SureColor SC-F500, to join its existing 44” dye sublimation printer (the SC-F6200), to increase student learning and application of print within their fashion designs.

Heather Kendle, market development manager at Epson UK, said: ‘Epson has been partnering with the University of Westminster for the last three years, and this year we were particularly impressed with the breadth and quality of the thinking, as well as the finish of the collections presented. We selected two students for an Epson bursary, Lottie Everett and Hannah Sosna, for their use of print within their collections and the thinking behind the concepts. Both used print to support strong shapes, avoiding overpowering colours, while still creating strong imagery. In Hannah’s case, the use of colours in a fairly structured menswear range was refreshing, and Lottie’s link to South American architecture showed her ability to include cultural references into fashion.

‘The collections show the flexibility of the Epson dye sublimation printer to support the creation of a collection, as well as the breadth of polyester fabrics available for today’s designers. The final results speak for themselves – showing both strong colours and a more subtle look.

‘We were delighted that Hannah was also selected for the London Fashion Week catwalk and that she has a chance to show her collection to a wider audience.’

Hannah Sosna, University of Westminster graduate, said: ‘I used print in my final collection to replicate the TV test cards of the late 1960s. Sublimation allowed me to print onto suiting fabric while still keeping the natural grain of the fabric. This money will allow me to keep searching for new ways to develop this technique for my Pre Collection.’

Graduate designer Lottie Everett said, ‘The Epson award will help me to push my prints further and experiment more with colour, fabrics and imagery to create vibrant and exciting prints for future collections. The prints in my collection are hand painted using bold colours in big fluid brush strokes, however I wasn’t able to achieve the same effect on sheer fabrics such as polyester organza and silks. Print sublimation enabled me to transfer my hand painting directly onto the fabric resulting in the same brushstroke achieved from direct hand painting.’

Epson’s dye sublimation printers use a heat press to transfer dye onto fabric. By using this technology to print on-demand, fashion designers have a reliable means of sourcing material that generates considerably less waste than over ordering through the congested supply chain of the textile and apparels sector. On-demand dye sublimation print offers fashion the flexibility and reliability to influence new designs and it has only increased in importance with the development of ‘fast fashion’, where the globalised supply chain is costing the industry an increasing amount of CO2 emissions.

Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at the University of Westminster, said: ‘Epson’s support of our students over the last three years has been fantastic and it has allowed a new generation of designers to engage with print in such innovative ways. Both Hannah and Lottie have used print as a fundamental element within their collections and the recognition and bursary from Epson as enabled them to develop this to its full potential. Our ongoing partnership with Epson has been incredibly successful in supporting a new generation fashion designers, and allowing them to have the resources to create such fantastic prints.’

Westminster alumni include London Fashion Week designers Roberta Einer, Liam Hodges, Robyn Lynch, Priya Ahluwalia, Katie Ann McGuigan and Ashley Williams; as well as Christopher Bailey, Vivienne Westwood and Stuart Vevers. Other recent graduates from the course are working in the design studios of international fashion houses including Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Versace­, JW Anderson, Stone Island, Calvin Klein, Ferragamo, Kenzo, Carven, and Loewe.

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