A transdisciplinary team of Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) students had their work on display at the Epson Digital Couture Project, which kicked off the world-renowned Fashion Week in New York City. The University team was the only student collection presenting at the Feb. 6 industry event at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17.
“It’s really hard to grasp the magnitude of the event that’s sponsored by the leader in digital textile printing,” said Mark Sunderland, director of the M.S. in global fashion enterprise and B.S. in textile materials technology programs and the Robert J. Reichlin High-Performance Apparel Chair. “The students handled the atmosphere with professionalism and passion. Their designs were striking and spectacular, and they pushed the limits of technical textiles, fashion designs, coloration and printing to produce a collection that can compete on a professional stage.”
Using the theme “Cosmopolitan Couture with Impossible Colors—How Does Your Culture Dress-up,” 13 design teams from North and South America leveraged Epson’s textile printing solutions in a unique fashion presentation. Each designer told a story through their collection via textiles created with dye-sublimation and direct-to-fabric printing technology.
“We are delighted to have design students from Jefferson taking part in the fourth annual Digital Couture project, bringing their unique styles to the showcase to help underscore the design possibilities of Epson’s digital fabric printing technologies,” said Mark Radogna, strategic marketing, Epson America Inc. “Epson’s digital imaging technology is changing the business of fashion—providing a platform for designers to print high-quality, more unique designs for customers on-demand. These students are helping us showcase how the design potential and impact on the fashion marketplace is limitless.”
The Jefferson team lead by fashion design students Patricia Franklin ’18 and Alexandra Pizzigoni ’18 also included M.S. in textile design students Regan Marriner ’19 and Salwa Rasheed ’19 and M.S. in global fashion enterprise student Bhavik Mehta ’18.
They integrated 14 different prints on 10 different fabrics for four looks, including flexible composite fabrics digitally printed at the University’s Center of Excellence in Surface Imaging.
“We were inspired by the use of color and shape as a vehicle to transcend our current understanding and experience of space,” Franklin explained. “Our silhouettes were informed by how light moves in waves to create the optical illusion of color. That idea of light movement also informed our print designs, as we worked closely with textile designers allowing them to reimagine their own perception of how color transcends through space. We used dye-sublimation printing in order to create these highly saturated prints, allowing us to visually represent and explain our concept.”
The team put a high value on material technology and function, noted Sunderland, who also took part in an Epson industry expert panel before the fashion event on sustainability in fashions and textiles, technical and innovative textiles, advanced manufacturing fabrication and more. The forum also featured Aliza Licht, EVP of brand merchandising and communication at Alice + Olivia, fashion analyst and critic Anna Fusoni and interior designer Ryan Korban.
The faculty team of Sunderland; Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director; Catherine Casano, fashion design instructor; Carly Kusy, fashion design instructor; and Wendelyn Anderson, technical associate for the Center for Excellence in Surface Imaging, all played key roles in the Epson project.
Jefferson’s ongoing relationship with Epson helped lead the University to present at New York Fashion Week. The international company selected Jefferson to be an academic beta site for digital textile printing a few years ago due to the University’s advanced knowledge and reputation in textiles, materials, performance and digital printing. In one project, the University tested Epson’s first digital direct-to-garment printer.