FESPA is a global federation of 37 national associations for the screen printing, digital printing and textile printing community. Founded in 1962, it organises the leading exhibitions and conferences for this community. FESPA's Exhibitions Director, Roz Guarnori, tells Subir Ghosh all about FESPA Global Print Expo 2018.
What, according to you, has been the growth story of the FESPA Global Print Expo since it was organised for the first time? On that count, could you also share some numbers in terms of participants, visitors, etc?
FESPA has certainly come a long way since the launch of its first exhibition in Paris in 1963. Originally formed as an exhibition for European screen printers, by 1973 the event started to grow its audience outside Europe, welcoming visitors from further afield including the US, Asia and South Africa.
With the evolution of digital printing, 2006 saw the launch of a dedicated FESPA Digital exhibition focusing on the emerging digital technologies in the signage and graphics market.
Moving forward, our flagship FESPA event has alternated with its sister event FESPA Digital, reflecting the growth in digital that has so dramatically reshaped and revitalised our sector over the last decade. In fact, FESPA Digital succeeded to the point where it was almost as significant a landmark in the print event calendar as the original FESPA, and feedback from both our visitors and exhibitors was that, as digital becomes a mature technology, they would prefer to see FESPA present one annual event, embracing both digital and analogue products as well as applications to reflect the diversity of their businesses.
It was because of this that we took the decision to make FESPA Global Print Expo an annual event for 2018 onwards providing the global speciality print community with one comprehensive, yearly destination event, covering all technologies, processes and applications.
FESPA Digital has therefore been replaced by this all-encompassing event, allowing exhibitors- screen and digital-to exhibit each year in line with their R&D timelines.
FESPA 2018 will be the first FESPA Global Print Expo in our new annual cycle.
How much has the textiles world changed since the first time that FESPA Global Print Expo was held? Could you elaborate?
Today textile printing-both digital and screen-plays a big part in our FESPA exhibitions, covering fast fashion, soft signage, garment decoration, embellishment and décor. Until a decade ago, textile printing at FESPA shows was predominantly screen printing and garment decoration; however, more recently with the growth in digitally printed textiles, the take-up and growth in textile printing is huge.
We work hard to ensure we align our shows' features and content to the needs of the audience, reflecting developments within the industry. As digital textile makes an emergence, bringing more application possibilities to life for our visitors, we have reflected this in our offering.
The prevalence of textiles within FESPA has not been an overnight occurrence. FESPA ran its first FESPA Digital Textile Conference in Geneva in 2008 and the launch of a dedicated textile section in 2010-later rebranded as FESPA Textile-gave a specific home within FESPA to the garment printing and decorating community. Eight years on, FESPA remains the destination event for printers interested in everything from soft signage to garment printing, promotional wear to decorative textiles.
Now in 2018, this is reflected in the growing emphasis on textile within the halls of FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 in Berlin, Germany from 15 to 18 May 2018. Visitors will find the largest ever contingent of textile-related exhibits at any FESPA event to date, with over 150 exhibitors, including Aleph, Caldera, D. Gen, Dover, EFI, Epson, Kornit, M&R, Mutoh, OKI, Ricoh, and Roland, showcasing textile printing equipment, substrates, inks and consumables.
This time FESPA Global Print Expo will focus on 'Print Make Wear'. How significant is this in the present context?
The launch of our Print Make Wear feature reflects the significance of garment applications and the wider opportunity in printed textiles today. Our FESPA Print Census in 2015 identified textile printing as the dominant growth application among respondents. Twenty-seven per cent of participants stated that they were already involved in garment printing, with 81 per cent seeing growth in this segment, the highest of any growth applications. The findings also showed that digital was the key enabler, with over half of respondents expecting digitally produced garments to become an important alternative to traditional screen printing in the following two years.
Print Make Wear builds on this research replicating a fast fashion factory focusing exclusively on fashion textiles, garments and printed accessories. Taking the form of a live production environment this area will highlight every step in the screen and digital printing production process, from initial design to finished product. Visitors can gain inspiration, and a greater understanding of all processes -The Print Make Wear 'production line' will feature a screen-printing carousel, washing and drying equipment, digital direct-to-garment printing, cutting and sewing, as well as solutions for welding and embellishment. Contributing exhibitors include Brother, Coloro, Dekken, Falk & Ross, Gerber, Inedit, Juki, Magna Colours, MHM, Mimaki, Premier Textiles, Unik and Vastex amongst others, with design and technology experts on hand to explain each step of the fashion production process.
This unique area also offers a live fashion catwalk, with designs from FESPA Young Star of the Year Award winner Sandra Zomer. Visitors will be able to see the garments and accessories produced in the factory before their appearance on the catwalk.
In addition, visitors will be able to join daily Print Make Wear tours providing an informative introduction to all things textile. Industry experts will be on hand to guide attendees around software, colour management, textile and ink selection, printers, cutting tables, sewing, welding, folding and packing, DTG and screen SFX.
Further information on this important growth area can be found within the Print Make Wear fashion and print trend presentations as well as the FESPA Trend Theatre which explores the growing sectors of décor, digital textile, signage, industrial and digital print for packaging.
Print Make Wear will appeal to both experienced textile printers and PSPs looking for areas to diversify into a real, fast fashion environment. The interactive feature will bring together collaborators from all areas of the printed fashion sector, including brand owners, designers, garment printers and producers, to explore the latest production possibilities, exchange experiences and to share knowledge. We will also be announcing the findings from our second Print Census during the course of the event and it will be interesting to see how textile printing is developing.
For any visitor with an interest in textile printing, Print Make Wear is a "must visit" at FESPA 2018.
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