Fashion has come quite a long way from iron-ons, screen printing and photographic transfers and DIYs. In the past few years the development of digital printing has been trending in high fashion. The new technique has taken a rise in this generation of advanced technology in the 21st century and some think we won’t see the end of it soon. It is said that Issey Miyake was one of the first to use this technique for his Guest Artist Series, however since the Spring/Summer 2010 season, many designers and fashion houses have put it on the fashion map and have exhibited at the Phoenix Art Museum, such as Alexander McQueen, Mary Katrantzou, Ralph Rucci, among many, many others. (i)


Mary Katrantzou Spring/Summer 2010


Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2010

Rodarte have embraced this technique more than once in their past collections, especially when their prints reflected their personal interests in certain movies, aspects of pop culture and art. Some notable examples include their F/W 2011 collection where they incorporated images of fields, taken from inspiration from films such as Days of Heaven, and their recent F/W 2014 reflected their love for the Star Wars films. (v)

FW11DLR_NY, Rodarte,New York

Rodarte Fall/Winter 2011


Rodarte Fall/Winter 2014

Prada’s S/S 2010 collection ‘evoked saturated, almost fake tones of a seaside postcard’ and included printed images of holidayers at the beach. (vi)


Prada Spring/Summer 2010

This big shift with advancements of digital printing and textile development, and the high interest in the use of inkjet technology has sparked new innovations in design, allowing endless creative possibilities and visions on cloth. Designers have the opportunity to expand their imaginations and create original, intricate, digitally-manipulated prints. The many advantages of this printing innovation have been discovered in terms of its process in comparison to other techniques such as screen-printing. (ii) Digital printing has been seen to be less labour-intensive, allows limitless use of colours, cuts down not only the use of materials and tools, but also costs and time. Printing services allow custom engineered panel pieces to fit the desired garment, which allows the designer to be strategic with the placement of prints on their fabric which can also help maximise the available space per yard of fabric. Ultimately this simplifies and potentially speeds up the process and wastes far less ink and fabric, and helps with deadlines. (iii)

In contrast with other techniques, there are fewer limitations with digital printing. Some artists have used images shot with their iPhone and have created collages and intricate patterns that resemble artworks. Patterns have advanced from and have played around with traditionally used repeated stripes, dots and flowers. These abstractions are then recognised to be of museum quality as the viewer is curious to inspect the pattern more closely. (iv)

Digital printing has been used since the 1970’s in the carpet industry and for banners in the 1980s and found its way with fashion in the 1990’s. (i) It has been used to transfer and put photographs on t-shirts and bags, although have had problems with quality with ink and clarity. Gradually as inks and printers have improved, they have been created to endure clearer, crisper looking images and prints. However, this technique is not embraced by all designers, as traditional techniques are continued to be highly appreciated and applied. For some, the hand of the artist is more valued than the help of a computer. (iv)


(vi)              Horyn, C., 2009, Prada: Corridors and Light, accessed 25 September 2014,

Images: Mary Katrantzou S/S 2010, Alexander McQueen S/S 2010 Digital Prints Spring/Summer 2010

Rodarte F/W 2011

Rodarte F/W 2014

Prada S/S 2010