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Revolutionizing sportswear with dye sublimation printing

In the Philippines, team apparel has been playing a more significant role as the local sports scene continues to grow. Nowadays, Filipinos follow a series of exciting professional sports leagues all year round, with basketball being on the top of the list.

As basketball fanatics, Filipinos consider the sport as a way of socializing or developing the value of sportsmanship among players even from a young age. From school and residential courts to makeshift hoops found in every street corner of every barangay, the Filipinos’ familiarity and undying love for the sport are always noticeable. Before, amateur basketball leagues used to peak during summer. Basketball now exists throughout the year with even more divisions or categories. Tournaments may be classified as recreational, school-based, semi-professional, or professional, among many others.

Embracing innovation

Traditionally, sportswear makers use the manual silkscreen method in printing the designs for dry-performance apparel. However, more and more manufacturers are now using dye-sublimation technology, especially those that offer customization.

Dye sublimation is a digital printing technology that uses full-color artwork that works with polyester and polyester-coated surfaces, a perfect material for dry-performance sportswear apparel. Epson’s SureColor F Series, for instance, is equipped with an advanced sublimation ink technology to enable the design printouts to be imprinted onto the fabric through heat transfer, known as the dye sublimation process.

Unlike silkscreen printing, dye-sublimation printing maintains polyester’s wicking characteristics. This means that the process allows for air and moisture to pass through the garment since the ink or film, commonly used in traditional methods, does not cover the fabric.

“Digital textile printing offers endless opportunities, whether in bringing more complex uniform designs to life or in expanding to new markets,” Eduardo Bonoan, Epson Philippines general manager for Marketing said. “Our SureColor F-Series is ready to support the local sportswear manufacturers in their shift to dye sublimation with high-performance, high-quality output and low power consumption resulting to overall lowered total cost.”

With the sustained growth of the local sports scene, sports apparel manufacturers are also gaining new markets due to the increasing demand for personalized sportswear and uniforms. GIG Sportswear, a clothing manufacturer in the Philippines who has been in the business for almost 3 years, now has 70% of its business dedicated to the export of sports apparel to various clients and 30% to the regular supply of uniforms to the National Basketball League (Philippines). They employ Epson’s SureColor SC-F6270 for dye sublimation printing and plan to expand their business further to address the growing demand for customized clothing.

“Our clients always look for quality of print and we have found the results we’ve always wanted with the Epson textile printers,” said Nemar Castillo, owner of GIG Sportswear. “The F-Series’ new HD black ink ensures that our designs are brought to life with pristine colors, and we found that the printers are ideal for our short to medium-volume dye sublimation fabric printing at affordable costs. We also learned that since the increase in demand for customized jerseys, our fellow manufacturers are switching to Epson’s textile printers to serve new clients.”

Learn more about Epson’s SureColor F-Series here.

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