Epson partners to become AFC’s exclusive digital print and projection partner

Above (l-r) AFC CEO Leila Naja Hibri and Epson Australia managing director Craig Heckenberg

Epson and the Australian Fashion Council (AFC) have signed an official partnership, cementing Epson as the AFC’s exclusive digital print and projection partner.

They have also jointly commissioned a study to explore the current state and future potential of manufacturing for the clothing and textiles industry in Victoria, to help build a business case for increased investment to boost jobs and the economy.  

The Monna Lisa ML-8000 digital textile printer

Both organisations are also looking forward to exploring new sustainability initiatives for the fashion industry, including applications for the latest digital textile printing technology.
“Epson prides itself on being an innovative technology leader and a champion of sustainable practices. Our commitment to innovation, quality and sustainability are in perfect alignment with the AFC’s values – which is why this partnership is good news for the Australian fashion and textiles industry,” Epson Australia managing director Craig Heckenberg said.
The partnership with Epson supports the AFC to deliver its goals to help build future onshore manufacturing capability, develop future skills and career pathways to boost economic security for the industry and transition the industry to a sustainable, circular economy by 2030.

Design from Kinaway First Nations designer Josh Deane being printed directly onto fabric by the Epson Monna Lisa ML-8000 at the Epson Experience Centre in Yennora

“The AFC seeks collaborative values-aligned partnerships to help us in our mission to guide the just transformation of Australian’s fashion and textile industry to a thriving circular economy by 2030. Epson’s strong commitment and proven capabilities at unlocking innovative technology that advances sustainable practice makes them a perfect partner for the AFC and our industry.  Their digital textile printing and projection technology, which has been proven to be transformational in other global markets, has the potential to provide significant learnings and benefits to the Australian industry,” AFC CEO Leila Naja Hibri said.

According to Epson, its Monna Lisa direct-to-fabric textile printer series has “real potential for the Australian industry”, as it combines performance and usability to meet the need for flexibility and sustainability.

“The new Monna Lisa direct-to-fabric textile printer series is a real game changer as traditional printing techniques such as screen-printing use high volumes of water and harsh chemicals that if not processed and treated properly, can end up in waterways. Monna Lisa printers give organisations the ability to do short runs within made to order purchasing workflows – both excellent ways to reduce over ordering and over consumption in our industry,” Heckenberg added.
As an example, Epson also recently partnered with renowned Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazato and his eponymous ‘Yuima Nakazato’ brand to unveil creations that were both stunning and sustainable. In addition to utilising Epson’s digital textile printing to reproduce his unique and creative designs, Yuima Nakazato realised some of its creations with the help of a new, more sustainable and potentially industry-transforming textile production process.

Yuima Nakazato brand creations are made sustainable by utilising Epson’s digital textile printing

Both Epson and Yuima Nakazato are keen to raise awareness of the water and material waste associated with excess production. Their collaboration illustrated how switching to digital textile printing using more environmentally friendly pigment inks, offers a more sustainable and less wasteful means of textile printing.

Another example of Epson’s technology creating and adding value in the fashion industry came recently when French fashion brand Petit Bateau changed its business strategy and opted for a Monna Lisa digital production solution.
Petit Bateau prints 2.5 million linear metres of fabric per year using various textile printers and the integration of Monna Lisa means that the brand has now evolved to support a new, more virtuous product model. The Petit Bateau has now shifted to on-demand manufacturing which enables the brand to improve its profitability and its environmental footprint, while controlling the entire value chain.
“As the Australian fashion and textile industry begins its transition to a circular economy, Epson’s innovative fabric printing technology will be a great enabler to smaller batch and on-demand manufacturing. Due to growing demand for ethically manufactured fashion as well as global trends and regulations requiring the same, new approaches like these are critical to the success of our industry’s national clothing product stewardship scheme, Seamless, which aims to change the way Australians design, consume and recycle clothing,” Naja Hibri said.
“Epson offers proven technology and solutions designed and developed specifically for local, onshore manufacturing and textile printing. Epson is also fully committed to collaborative partnerships that embrace sustainability across the Australian fashion and textile industry and this new partnership with the AFC is an excellent example of that commitment in practice,” Heckenberg added.

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