Could digital printing mitigate supply chain disruptions?


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Supply chain disruptions are driving delays across the fashion industry. Can digital printing offer a solution?

Digital printing can streamline the production of fashion brands through a process of proximity, making it possible to produce clothing and textiles on demand. In the past, this type of technology was used as an alternative to screen printing for T-shirts. Today, the digital printing industry sees an opportunity to showcase its innovations to the wider fashion industry as it looks for ways to circumvent supply chain delays.

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PVH closes its manufacturing site in Ethiopia, laying off 30,000 employees. The data shows that this is part of a larger fashionable proximity and relocation pivot to bring their supply chains closer to home.

While brands once embraced digital printing to improve quality or save time, Epson printing now sees most brands making the switch due to supply chain issues. “The surge in interest we’ve seen over the past 18 months has been driven primarily by supply chain. [issues]says Duncan Ferguson, vice president of commercial and industrial printing. “Before that, it was mainly driven by quality and short lead times. Now brands want a higher level of security of supply by arranging for their fabrics to be printed in Europe. Epson, which works with the designer Richard Quinn, offers a solution for direct-to-fabric digital textile printing; dye-sublimation technology that uses heat to transfer an image onto a textile or other surface; and direct-to-garment printers.

For Chris Govier, EMEA president of digital printing company Kornit Digital, offshoring is the biggest advantage digital printing brings to the supply chain crisis. “It’s not always about [direct impact of the printing process on the supply chain]it’s about proximity and location to where that printing takes place,” he says, adding that blockages in China have caused delays as there is a shortage of containers to ship between regions. .

Supply chain disruptions have been exacerbated by these lockdowns across China, where much of the fashion industry manufactures. According to McKinsey, 71% of fashion companies plan to increase proximity offshoring by 2025, meaning they will bring manufacturing sites closer to the consumer market.

Kornit Fashion Week, which will be held in London from May 15-17, has also previously been held in Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, Milan, Tokyo and New York.

Photo: Aviv Avramov

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