March '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 2 0 M A R C H P R I N T W E A R 2 3 the art intended for the new sample. Though this won't always result in a brilliant new creation, the practice can help you discover new combinations and break through creative blocks. Despite difficulties and creative demands, womenswear doesn't need to be daunting. Think holistically about the experience your product provides to make garments that feel as good to wear as they look and keep a constant lookout for inspiration; you'll soon find yourself looking forward to the projects that push you beyond your boundaries. PW Erich Campbell has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry. CHASING CREATIVITY My earliest entries into creative design placement came largely from reacting to the demands of womenswear. First, I came upon design projects where the desire for innovation and visual interest had me looking for non-traditional ways to display my designs. Next, I found myself reaching for creative solutions as I repeatedly encountered situations wherein it was difficult to find ways to place decorations reasonably on womenswear when the garments so often had struc- tures that weren't conducive to the classic left or right chest. From the limited horizontal area provided by deep V-neck shirts to the often flipped or folded fronts of a classic cardigan set, the structure of many pieces of womenswear had me scrambling for better canvases. I need- ed to place larger logos and get the best visibility for brands. Even in the business and company store markets that typically call for classic decoration, my customers were often asking for retail looks, compli- cated multimedia, novel blanks, and decoration methods more com- monly associated with streetwear, fashion, or collegiate apparel than casual Fridays. Surprising numbers of people from every aspect of business and healthcare from realtors, dental hygienists, stonework- ers, and scientists alike were looking for novel decorations and willing to ramp up their budgets for something bold. I learned early on that to serve these selective clients, I needed to keep myself up on current trends and technology, and that any business who wanted to be more than another name in the sea of decorators needed to offer samples and have potential solutions at the ready. CONSUME, CREATE, AND CONVERT Contrary to popular belief, creative execution doesn't require di- vine inspiration. The cure for common decoration is to consume inspiration widely and take note of what strikes you for a potential part of your next project. Engage in 'retail research' by checking out clothing stores, fashion blogs, and major brands to see what sort of decorations are currently on shelves and in social media feeds. Add to your 'inspiration regimen' by following graphic designers, decora- tors, and artists. Consume widely, take notes, and grab pictures to build your resource bank. You'll find that over time, these concepts and images will percolate in your subconscious and new ideas will dawn on you. There's only one hard and fast rule that you should observe: Even if you feel stuck, don't produce knockoffs. The temptation to slightly rework someone else's idea is compel- ling, particularly when the original is successful. It is also illegal and exposes your shop to litigation. If you feel creatively frozen, you can lean into your favorite sources by creating a mashup. Collect mul- tiple pieces of inspiration that seem to work together, take one ele- ment from each, and recombine them into your next decoration. Combine the color scheme from one piece, decoration techniques from another, garment style from a third, and mash them up with WM Plastics • Cures at 110°C/230°F • • Universal, 100% cotton to 100% Poly • • No Ghosting • • Soft Hand • • High Opacity • • 20x More Flexible than Regular Inks • • Available in RFU Colors • • Pantone Color-matching System Available • • Heat Reduction Correlates to Energy Savings • • No Need to Add Catalyst for Heat Sensitive Garments • • Best Bleed Resistance in a Plastisol Ink • Low Cure (LC) Inks A True Universal Ink (800) 535-4657(INKS) WMPLASTICSINC.COM

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