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High-Fashion Fabrics

(March 2011) posted on Wed Mar 09, 2011

Dyenamix's digitally printed textiles grace fashion runways, Broadway stages, and other venues.

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By Mike Antoniak

That search ultimately led her to digital printing on fabric as the possible answer. Still, Marasco found her choices in state-of-the-art systems – as far as printing on fabric goes – limited. “There weren’t many options for dye-printing fabric, so I wasn’t quite sure how realistic my search was,” she says. She identified several systems that could be used for printing samples, but very few that could deliver consistent quality, in quantity, on textiles. And, the price of those systems, until proven, seemed prohibitive.

Eventually, she reached an intriguing deal with one manufacturer, Mimaki, would allow her to “test” its 7-color TX-1600 in her shop and train her and an employee on its operation. In return, Marasco agreed to appear at tradeshows and talk about the technology, and introduce digital printing on textiles to at least one client working in New York’s fashion and theatre sectors. “They gave me six months to find those clients, but we were doing work for them both within two,” she says.

Initial resistance
Those first clients were the exception, however. Initially, most of her customers resisted this new approach to creating custom fabrics. “Changing perceptions about digital printing was our biggest challenge in those early days,” Marasco says. “In the fashion industry, most people thought digital printing meant dye sublimation, and that’s not what they wanted. It wasn’t until we produced enough examples to show them all that we could now produce digitally that they began to see the possibilities.”

As they did, digital quickly grew to become a more integral aspect of her specialized services. Eventually, Marasco traded up from the TX 1600 for the faster Mimaki TX2 version of the 1600, and two years later purchased a second TX2 to meet ever-growing demand. Today, the company uses the printers and DuPont dyes to print on more than 40 different fabrics kept in stock. Dyenamix also offers custom pre-treatment of client’s fabrics for printing.

“Digital printing has been the perfect complement and expansion to our existing business,” she says of these systems. “And some of our projects utilize the traditional processes combined with digital printing. We continually push the limits of the technology to provide our clients with provocative new designs.”