Every year, we see new fashion trends blossom across the screen printing industry. As a decorator, adapting to this ebb and flow of constantly changing trends can be challenging. Mitch Heiman of Perrin Inc., however, was able to rise to the recent trend of simple designs and basics. He offers us some advice on how we can approach up-and-coming fashion trends, and how to match your processes to make trends easier to handle.
Where would we even start when thinking about trends?
First and foremost, review your product. There’s a multitude of fashion garments out there, so you need to find not only what interests you, but what benefits your customers as well. If you own a shop that focuses heavily on printing tees and sweatshirts but not fashion garments, you may need to have a review. That’s the first step before you even get to printing: Study the market, know that need is stronger than want, and target exactly who will need what you can offer.
We’re really seeing a rise in simple designs and basics at the moment. How have you adapted to garment and fashion trends?
Fashion garments are being made with increasingly finer, lightweight fabrics. That means the application process is becoming much more important. There are some ways you can simplify your process to adapt to these finer fabrics. For example, start with an ink that doesn’t fight the drape of the garment. The best way to have a real soft hand with the right pressure is to use water-based inks. I’d also suggest using a 230+ screen mesh. Finer meshes mean finer designs, which work better for lightweight garments. Finally, the harder the squeegee the better. You don’t want your squeegee depositing a heavy amount of ink when you’re working with light fabrics, so make sure you are using a hard or ultra hard squeegee, with an 80-90 durometer.
How do you follow trends, whilst also finding clients who will buy from you?
If you’re working with accounts who typically don’t buy as much fashion from you, try presenting them with storyboards for why you’re making these fashion-focused decisions. You can make these using images or articles that speak to emerging trends, like Pantone’s color of the year. If you can create something visual to entertain your buyer, they will understand you better and it will help positively reinforce their buying decision.
Do you have a favorite trending design that comes to mind?
What’s really fun is when you see designs that you’ve done become trend-driven in retail fashion. We’ve always done a lot with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and it was so cool to see them suddenly turn into a cool brand with their vector logo hung up at Urban Outfitters and other high fashion retail places!
Any final words to give someone looking to print more with trends in mind?
Don’t let all of these new garments, fabrics, inks and processes intimidate you. It’s a matter of a learning curve — for everyone. If you really learn how to do it, you open up the opportunity for growth. Simply do your homework and you’ll be rewarded.
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