‘Sublimation clothes,’ is a common word that has been doing rounds in the fashion industry for quite some time now. At first, it seemed like a passing trend, but with time, it has proved its credibility. There are many things that stand out about a sublimated cloth, but the most notable points can be summed as their vibrancy and their permanency. Be it a t-shirt or a shirt, dress or jackets, jerseys or other sportswear, sublimation has changed the face of the clothing industry. The style quotient of the sublimated clothes combined with a comfortable make has rendered them a permanent place in the circuit that will not go away anywhere anytime soon.
Sublimated Jersey: A Brief
Just as sublimation made its grand entry into the fashion circuit, the world of sports was not too far behind in following the trend. Suddenly the sports fields were cluttered with sublimated jerseys. Soon enough these sublimated versions entered the bandwagon of athleisure and became an integral part of street style fashion. Though most can argue that sports jerseys were always dye sublimated because of their vibrant appeal, there is a slight discrepancy in the fact. It was printing (and normal to speak of that) that was adopted by most jersey makers. Sublimation has newer roots.
The normal jerseys didn’t last long. The numbers would peel off when exposed to high amounts of sweat and constant washing. The color would fade away within a few days of usage. This required the team managers to constantly update the jerseys. This also increased the basic cost of producing the jerseys. The need to reduce the budget was imminent and sublimation proved to be the right choice for all. Sublimated jerseys acted like a blessing to the sports industry. The permanency of the jerseys was highlighted much; the need to update them was reduced significantly.
This set forth the journey of sublimated jersey and ever since they have become a cult.
Where did sublimated clothes come from?
Today, sublimation clothes are used to express an individual’s deepest thoughts. Whether they have a cause to advocate or simply impress the onlookers, sublimation clothes are used to take a stand in the vast society.
But one has to realize that they didn’t just come into being all of a sudden. Tremendous technological innovation is what made the real difference. The first dye sublimation printing machine came into existence in the year 1957. The word sublimation was applied to the process as the dye was transformed from solid to the gaseous state using high pressure without being changed into the liquid stage.
But if you date back much farther, in the 19th century an Englishman Lord Rayleigh looked deeply and intently into the physics of inkjet printing. Later in 1880, the Curie brothers first discovered piezoelectricity. These two processes combined together later contributed heavily to the invention of the process of sublimation.
Commercial sublimation which witnessed the transfer of ink on different surfaces can be traced back to 1929-1930. However, 12 years later, polyethylene terephthalate was developed. This helped create synthetic fabrics like polyester. The new fabric had low cost and had desirable properties that would later help develop sublimation as a proper process of textile printing by the early 1990s.
With more advancement, the process of sublimation became easier. Till the 90s, use of sublimation was limited to products, but all the above factors combined together, the clothes came into existence. This was further fanned by the sports personalities, who made sublimation a thing on the field. The jersey with all their creativity and vitality was a thing to try and enthusiasts wasted no longer to give them a new direction altogether.
Soon celebrities started wearing sublimated jerseys as regular clothing ensembles. By the early 2000s, sublimation clothes became a thing. Constant advancements were still being made the top manufacturers of the same, which further cemented their place in the industry.
In 2015, sublimated clothes became a trend and got the much-deserved recognition. The young millennial is always on a lookout to revolt and sublimated clothes are the right medium for them, further paving the path for their popularity.
The sublimation technique which made it a success
The dye sublimation process is also referred to as digital printing technology because it uses full-color artwork on polyester and polymer coated surfaces. The use of the process is not only limited to decorating apparels, but banners, signs, mouse pads, pictures, and many more novelty products can undergo the sublimation technique.
The basic process of sublimation (similar to the scientific process itself) begins with unique sublimation dye being transferred to sheets of paper via liquid gel ink through a piezoelectric print head. The ink is deposited on the high-release inkjet papers, which is turned into a design taking the aid of digitalization. After this process is complete, the digital ink paper is placed on a heat press along with the products to get the final result.
The sublimation dyes can be activated at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For optimal color, the temperature can also be increased to a range of 380 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
This process is responsible for making the sublimation print permanent, giving it a high resolution and full-color finish. Since the dye gets infused with the substrates (polyester) at a molecular level, the print does not crack, fade or peel off under normal conditions.
Screen printing vs. Sublimation dye
Sublimation is not the only printing procedure available in the market. There is a tough competition from screen printing process as well. Both have their own advantages and drawbacks. But which one is better for constructing a jersey?
Screen printing is the process in which stencil is used. Ink is poured into the open areas of the stencil which gets transferred to the substrates. Also referred to as silk screen or serigraphy, the ink is forced into the openings.
Sublimation, on the other hand, uses heat and pressure to transfer the ink to the substrate. The custom graphics get digitally printed on a custom paper as a mirror image. The transfer paper is then heated and pressed onto the cloth.
Unlike sublimation, where all colors can be imprinted at the same time, screen printing can produce only one color at one time. If multiple colors are to be used, then they have to be layered on top of each other individually. This can get messy and the outcome might not be satisfying.
Hence, when it comes to choosing a print process which involves multiple colors and complicated prints, sublimation is a fail-safe method. Even though the competition might seem high and elusive, sublimation has a dedicated fan base that prefers having this printing technique with definite answers rather than any other process.
The inspiration Private Label Owners need, 2018 version
Private label owners of sublimated jerseys are always on the lookout for inspiration. This means that they look at different people and other trends to come up with their own designs and motifs. Runners as a representative of the fitness-fashion world and celebrities as symbolic of the world of glitz and glamor are the right places to look up to if private label retailers need motivation from.
Runner’s Inspiration– The fashion-fitness bandwagon has grown up significantly over the last few years, and sublimation has been a key player in the same. Sublimated clothes have provided the right amount of style quotient to the fitness clothes, thus, completing the fashion part amongst the two. Bright colors and quirky prints have been the major contributors in this category.
Celebrity inspiration– From the whole Kardashian clan to Beyoncé, Rihanna to Jennifer Lawrence, everyone in the tinsel town seems to have been smitten by the sublimation trend. The easy color coordination makes it a great pick for almost all occasions. Be it for a run or a red carpet appearance, these celebs have used sublimation to bring out the best of their clothes. Not only the leading ladies but the men have been not too far from applying the trend. Staunch suits have been enhanced to a quirky level, giving the appearance a sexy appeal.
The prints that can be adopted from both and applied to the jerseys subsequently can be highly coordinated with the season; so there has been an abundance of polka dots, floral motifs and abstract geometric prints. This has inspired enthusiasts from all around the world to apply them in subsequent clothing pieces. These sublimated versions, which have been influenced by the celebrities and the runners, are stylish and appealing, giving the jerseys a new charm.
The winter special jerseys are crafted using thicker fabrics, allowing the ink to settle well, thus, being more vibrant in the outcome. These special seasonal jerseys are constructed keeping in mind the fashion-forward fitness-obsessed millennial. Hence, their make is different from regular jerseys.
You find the jerseys taking inspiration from these, thus highlighting the versatility of the same as well.
How to find the right sublimation clothing manufacturer?
If you are a retailer who is looking forward to starting their own business of sublimated clothes, you might be asking yourself this question- how to start the business? And how to find a sublimated clothing manufacturer who will work closely with you and help you further in your growth?
Finding a customer base is easy, but the first thing you need to sort out is the manufacturer with whom you will be working. This is important because, without a good manufacturer to support you, you won’t be able to grow your business. As a private label owner, you have to keep your stock of clothes updated at all times, giving the customers exactly what they need. A manufacturer is the Ying to your Yang.
Catering to the customer is your priority, and finding a good manufacturer is your need. Here are some ways in which you can decide the credential of the manufacturer you’re planning to work with.
- Ask other retailers who have worked with the manufacturer to get an unaltered report. Since they have worked with the concerned people, it is important to take their view before you jump into taking a decision.
- Another worthy and reliable source is the industry. The kind of recognition that the manufacturer has in the market speaks a lot about their business procedure. If they are good, they will have a good reputation in the market, if not, you will know otherwise.
- Picking any manufacturer will not help you in your cause. If you are planning to deal in sublimated clothes, the manufacturer should produce sublimated clothes exclusively. They should know the nitty-gritty of sublimation and should have an insight into the market. This will help you procure clothes that are up-to-date with the latest trends, and maintain the industry standards.
- As a retailer, you will need bulk clothes to be displayed in your store collection and all manufacturing units offer great discounts on bulk purchase. Now the discount rate might vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but can be constant in nature. Like if a manufacturer decides to offer you a 40% discount on all purchase, he should stick to it, no matter what the total bulk purchase price is.
These are some of the basic aspects that decide the testimonial of a sublimation clothing manufacturer. The inventory is also a great factor to consider. In the sublimation business, you have to look out for the machines and dye ink that is used. A reputed one will use the best in the industry, giving the clothes the required vibrant appeal.
In private label business, you will be providing your own designs that will be adopted by the designers and showcased on the clothes respectively. Hence, the manufacturer should provide you with the right provisions.
Finding a right manufacturer is not easy, but using these above-mentioned points will ease your difficulty a bit, given that it is the most important aspect of your private label business. A sublimation jersey business is booming at this moment and if you wish to expand the existing one, gets an appropriate manufacturer.
Once you have made a decision and found your Ying to your yang, the expansion will become easier.
Hence, update your business with the latest sublimated jerseys from the top manufacturers of the same in the industry. Discounts are duly available for bulk buyers.