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Interview with Sarah Perkins

Sarah Perkins
Sarah Perkins
Director - Community Development

SGIA Expo to retire this year; Printing United Expo to be unveiled in Dallas in 2019

Fairfax, Virginia-based Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) is a non-profit association for the imaging community worldwide that provides imaging professionals the know-how, advice and knowledge needed to succeed. SGIA works in the areas of industrial, graphic, garment, textile, electronics, packaging and commercial printing to help professionals in these fields to grow their business into new market segments through the incorporation of the latest printing technologies. Sarah Perkins, director, community development, discusses the latest in the textile and apparel printing world and what to expect at the association's future events.

What is SGIA's agenda for 2018-19 for textile and garment printing?

SGIA sees 'digital textile' and 'garment printing and decoration' as two distinct communities. Our goal is to support both, which we do with member-driven committees and events, to arm them to tackle changes and issues in the industry.

Digital textile is becoming increasingly diverse and the technologies within this community can be produced on an incredible scale-and the applications reflect that. There is also a huge amount of science and chemistry that goes into digital textile applications; so the ink technologies are adapting very quickly in and around that community as well. We see digital textile as a chemical engineer meets a genius artist. It is the perfect marriage of function and fashion with unlimited possibilities in the market right now. 

Garment decoration is also adapting at an equally 'blink and you'll miss it' kind of pace, but in a very different way. Garment decorators have discovered that the world is their oyster now that the world has fallen in love with online shopping and personalisation. Their pressing questions are how to get noticed online, how to fulfill as rapidly as possible with the best quality, how to ship most efficiently, how to fully automate and how to become a marketing firm for your non-artist customers. This community is rapidly separating the weekend crafter from the business mogul artist but it is all about diversification, understanding the technologies (and the break over on fulfillment in terms of technology), and having the right tools to respond as quickly as possible. Staying nimble, staying online, and staying authentic are the keys to what is driving this community forward right now. 

As an organisation that represents the imaging community, if we were to ask you to look ahead to 2025, what new would this niche garment or textile offer to the industry?

Again, these are such very different communities. But I think that the ability to respond as quickly and as appropriately as possible to your customer's needs is paramount. The pace will only increase, and automation of processes is really the key to success. I look forward to seeing how our members take advantage of automation and reshape the industry as the technology grows.

What role does SGIA play in a fast-changing dynamic world?

SGIA exists to stimulate the growth and advancement of a vibrant printing industry. It is the trade association of choice for professionals in the industrial, graphic, garment, textile, electronics, packaging and commercial printing communities looking to grow their business into new market segments through  incorporation of the latest printing technologies. 

Over the years, the printing industry has changed. The proliferation of digital technologies has triggered the ability to adopt technologies and applications once considered specific to certain market segments. For example, graphics producers are exploring industrial printing applications and apparel decorators are entering the wide-format graphics market. 

Therefore, SGIA is broadening its trade show. The SGIA Expo will retire with this year's event, and the Printing United Expo will launch in Dallas, Texas, during October 23-25, 2019. Printing United will embrace the breadth of printing technologies and applications, becoming a one-stop-shop for printers experiencing the changing marketplace. 

What initiatives and events have been planned with respect to textile and apparel printing?

In addition to a committee structure that allows us to hear directly from the digital textile and garment decorating communities, SGIA has planned two major events for the coming months:

i) AATCC/SGIA Digital Textile Printing Conference 3.0: A forum for collaboration…the conversation continues (Durham, North Carolina, USA; December 5-6, 2018)
The collaboration between SGIA and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) continues with this unique conference for the digital textile industry. Topics on the agenda include global market conditions and economic forecasts, technology advances in digital textile printers, inks and production/RIP software and automation in digital textile manufacturing.

ii) Threadx 2019 (San Diego, California, USA; February 17-19)
Over the course of three days, you will explore new approaches to the garment decorating business-from marketing to business strategies. You will hear from groundbreaking speakers, connect with your peers and leave inspired to implement your own innovations. Threadx is a conference designed for and by garment decorators to address the ways the market is changing. (HO)

Published on: 01/09/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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