Impressions Expo Delivers With Innovations, Technology and Trends

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Alternative Apparel

Alternative Apparel

As of Friday, February 9, 2024

Impressions Expo, the leading trade show and conference dedicated to the decorated-apparel and imprinted-products industry, was held Jan. 18–21 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif.

“Impressions Expo surpassed our expectations. With engaging activations in the arena to impactful displays in the lobby, the excitement resonated. The Shop Talks, expo floor and conference sessions drew enthusiastic crowds, leaving both attendees and exhibitors delighted with the successful outcome,” said Kayla McGarry, associate show director.

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Israel-based Kornit Digital showcased Apollo, which, said CEO Ronen Samuel, “enables you to print directly on any fabric without the use of water and convert it to the product you want, whether it’s a dress or a sofa bed.” Samuel added, “You can produce 400 garments per hour of the highest quality, requiring only one operator to run it.” The new technology enables consumer orders to be turned around within 24 hours.

Epson America, Inc., based in Los Alamitos, Calif., highlighted its SureColor F1070 entry-level hybrid DTG and DTFilm printer, designed to open new doors for garment decorators, designers and artisan businesses wanting direct-to-garment printing. “It’s beautiful, library quiet and fits just about anywhere,” said Tim Check, senior product manager, textile.

Japan-based Mimaki released its new TXF30075 direct-to-film printer with two printheads, which is three times faster than a one-printhead model. “You’re looking at about 66 shirts per hour for an 11x14-inch design,” said Victoria Harris, senior textile segment specialist. 

Wilmington, Del.–DuPont showcased its pigment inks for DTF and DTG printing with its Artistri innovation. The inks, developed for the CobraFlex printer, ran the entire day each day throughout the duration of the event. “It was exciting to see people coming back hours later to recheck if the printer was still running and see how much was printed so far,” said Gabriela Kim, global marketing manager for DuPont Artistri.

What’s new in Ts

Vernon, Calif.–based US Blanks made a big push on sustainability with 55 percent hemp and 45 percent organic women’s V-neck and crop tops. The company also displayed competitive cut, sew and garment dye with 25 styles including its long-sleeve, flame-resistant fabric, which passes requirements for workwear.

Los Angeles–based Los Angeles Apparel is developing a heavier, plush, puffy fleece for hoodies, crewnecks and sweatpants. “We think it’s going to be really popular for us,” said Briana Alvarez, production coordinator, private label, who added, “It’s 16 oz. versus our 14 oz., comes in dolphin blue and is 100 percent cotton, so it’s shrink-free.

“We’re excited to be going into the new year with our just released EcoMax Tee made with 100 percent recycled polyester and cotton scraps dyed without water,” said Jeaneviv Siao, marketing and events manager at Los Angeles–based designed, dyed and cut Bella + Canvas. The brand also released a 6 oz. heavyweight T-shirt with a boxy and relaxed fit.

Sarah Spivey at Spy V Style in Irvine, Calif., purchases promotional products and apparel with Bella + Canvas for schools, restaurants and corporate. “I like the colors and that it’s a little more modern than the typical T-shirt with a softer feel and a nicer fit than the standard generic T-shirt.”

Winston-Salem, N.C.–based Hanes Brands introduced its CiCLO technology, which allows plastic-based fibers to behave more like natural fibers. There’s also been a rediscovery of the Hanes heritage Beefy T. “People are looking for something a bit heavier—6 oz. 100 percent cotton, more durable, but still a soft, relaxed fit and closer to the streetwear trend going on right now,” said Marcus Davis, product manager.

Montreal-based Gildan Inc. introduced six new styles and nine vibrant colors to the line including the Gildan 2000. Its new soft-cotton technology in T-shirts is said to do just about everything 100 percent cotton does.

Canada-based American Apparel excited customers with freshly screen-printed T-shirts to promote its new campaign, Craft the Culture, in conjunction with its renewed partnership with Live Nation entertainment as its official printwear supplier.

“The original fashion basics all started in 2001. Last year we didn’t have a hoodie; now, we practically doubled the line and are coming back with a reflex fleece because it has recycled poly in it,” said Director of Brand Marketing Jean-Francois Bergeron. Bergeron also shared his enthusiasm about the campaign being included at a number of events from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Atlanta-based Alternative Apparel offered a newer fabrication with a tri-blend cotton including modal natural fiber derived from beechwood pulp, which allows the fabric to use cotton dyes with a soft, more opaque finish.